Why pay a dollar for a bookmark?
Why not use the dollar for a bookmark?
– Steven Spielberg
One Dollar Idea
Why not indeed! When a bookmark has ceased its usefulness, we get rid of it, whilst a dollar will always has value, which of course is subject to inflation. But a dollar is a dollar.
……. In the UK, the rough equivalent of a dollar is the pound. The pound has become really mighty in terms of its reputation of spendability.
Pound shops are growing exponentially. They are everywhere. Everyone goes out there to shop, the rich, the very rich, the middle classes, the working class and sometimes the down and outs.
Everything is for a pound but sometimes it is even less (especially if you shop at its sister company the 99p)
The first tine I went to a pound shop, I saw a huge Toblerone which I could not believe was only for a pound. I had to double check that it was for a pound, afterall just a few weeks before I paid £4.99 for the same size at the Duty Free. I just bought one because I know my Toblerone. I have been eating it regularly on a weekly basis for the past 29 years. I am an afficionado. 😉 Got home, unpacked the shopping. Sat down in front of the telly with my cup of tea and then slowly and rather gingerly unwrapped my Toblerone, I was rather half expecting that something untoward was about to happen. I don’t know, I thought it would be green or mouldy. But it was fresh, and delicious, and nougathy and crunchy and nutty and heavenly. It tasted like the kosher Toblerone. Result!!!
It gave food for concern thought. Instead of Peter buying me the smallest size Toblerone weekly, I now have the full size one any day of the week? I don’t really want to get even fatter. Seriously!
Ooops I digress. Anyway in the pound shop you can almost get anything. They have even started selling milk, eggs, butter, bacon, sausages which I have to admit I would still prefer to buy from my local Sainsburys even if they could twice the price. I don’t know, it is just me.
The phases of life are usually, from birth, getting an education, working for a living, retirement and then whatever comes next! Of course this is not always the case as sometimes the grim reaper comes calling in before you even started to really live.
You also hear of cases now where the nanny state looks after the people in her very encompassing embrace and protection. Just a few weeks ago I was talking to a man who was very proud of his disability. He was only in his late 50s but he was half-boasting that he has not worked for more than 37 years and yet he and his family are comfortably housed, fed, and clothed. (All he was worried about was how the new Universal Credit will apply to him and his family. Again he is lucky as the Universal Credit is for the moment only affects those who are single claimants.)
I will not retire while I still have my legs and my make-up box.
– Bette Davis
At the other side of the spectrum, there are those who are only too happy to go on working as long as they can; we have very dear friends who have worked all their lives, taking any kind of jobs along the way. They had just retired this year at the ages of 80 and mid-70. They are both hale and hearty, probably because of their industrious ways and keeping busy all the time.
Peter and I attended a Retirement seminar a couple of weeks ago. It was rather sobering to note that retirement is not all it’s cracked up to be. Apparently, retirement is not really a time for that perceived and imagined comfortable life in the sun overlooking the seaside. Retirement is just another obstacle course to navigate in one’s life.
If you don’t look after your money, your money won’t look after you. The IFA conducting the seminar said that the number one foe of retirement is inflation. To start with, you might think that you have enough to live on, but can you still live comfortably in 10 years time when inflation has sunk its mighty claws into the basic necessities of everyday life?
Peter and I just hoped that the IFA gave us a frigthener to ensure that we invest the tax-free cash, which is 25 per cent of the pension pot. But then again, he might have a point. The salaries in the last 5 years have not really gone up but the prices of food, water, gas, electricity and fare have gone up exponentially. These are basic necessities, things that we cannot do without.
It was only mentioned during the seminar that state pension is under consideration. It is being mulled about that it should be awarded at 70 of age for both men and women and that they needed to have both worked for a minimum of 35 years each (or to have previously claimed benefits for 35 years).
There are also the Inheritance Tax (IHT) to consider and most frighteningly, the dreaded Long Term Care. If not thought out properly the home you paid for with crippling mortgage will not pass to your heirs. Instead it could be forcibly taken out of your hands to pay for your long term care.
Another thing to really think about!!!
And in the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.
– Abraham Lincoln
The Philippines could be Asia’s next tech tiger. When my dear wife & I visited the Philippines nearly two years ago, we spent most of the time with Jean’s delightful family and touring around. I was impressed at the scale of building work. I saw architecturally interesting, clean bright looking buildings being erected, mainly apartments & offices. I could see so much potential in the Philippines, it is a growing SE Asian economy. Their use and development of IT is as good as any developed country.
If the infamous and exposed corrupt (Napoles et al) Pork Barrel PDAF budget systems are corrected soon, this potential would be unleashed to improve the economy to benefit the hard-working & innovative Filipino people. The IT industry is growing in the Philippines and cyber hubs are growing. This is no surprise, as I find Filipinos are natural engineers and problem solvers. Many are electronic , hardware engineers, computer coders, programmers who enjoy embracing technology. However those who have the skills tend to migrate to more prosperous countries, which have better infrastructure.
The internet infrastructure in the Philippines needs drastic improvement. Only the ‘social surfing elite’ having decent connection speeds. This severely hampers those who need faster broadband speeds needed to develop cyber innovation and therefore generate income to the nation.
Below is an interesting BBC news item about the Philippines emergence in technology.
“The Philippines may have the fastest-growing economy in South East Asia but it also has the slowest internet in the region. Despite this, some think they have spotted an opportunity that could turn the country into Asia’s next tech tiger. Aurora Almendral met some of the true believers. On paper, the Philippines has all the ingredients of an emerging tech tiger: a fast-growing middle class with money to spend; a 100-million strong, largely English-speaking, population addicted to social media; plus low labour and operating costs.
But go anywhere on the islands and you’ll notice frustrated faces on many of those with a handheld device in their palm.
Internet speeds are atrocious – a measly 3.6 megabits per second (Mbps), well below the regional average of 12.4 Mbps. Never mind the US average of 22.3 or near neighbour Singapore with 61 Mbps.
“We see the Philippines as a good testing market”
Peter FabianInternet entrepreneur
Coverage is patchy at best for mobile. Venture outside of the cities and you might as well be in the 1990s.
In the words of Peter Fabian, a recently arrived tech entrepreneur, to any seasoned Silicon Valley investor the Philippines looks like “the end of the world. For years, the Philippines lagged behind the rest of South East Asia, and entrepreneurs looking for the next tech hub overlooked the country for other nearby booming economies, like Thailand and Singapore. But, says Mr Fabian: “We see the Philippines as a good testing market.” After researching emerging markets across the globe, he decided on the Philippines for his start-up, which aims to use big data to build a credit card company aimed at the middle class who are not customers of traditional banks. Furthermore, there are a lot of unexplored opportunities and, with few experienced tech entrepreneurs around, not much competition. Mr Fabian was also attracted to the fact that, as a former US colony, the country shares many US institutions and has a similar culture, making the Philippines feel very familiar.
More than 60% of Filipinos have smartphones.
“The attitude towards foreigners is very welcoming, which cannot be said of a lot of people in Asia,” says Mr Fabian. The Philippine start-up scene is small, but people are starting to trickle in. Some are adapting Western products to the local market, like fast fashion ecommerce, daily deals sites or taxi service apps. Others, like Ron Hose, a Silicon Valley-bred, Manila-based entrepreneur and investor, are looking at solutions to more local challenges.
There are a second set of problems that are unique to emerging markets that companies and entrepreneurs in developing countries are not really building products for,” he says. “An entrepreneur sitting in an office in Silicon Valley,” Mr Hose says, “is not thinking about the problems of a Filipino who is sitting in a Jeepney [local taxi] for an hour and a half a day to go to work, or whose home gets flooded 10 times a year during typhoons.” Mr Hose’s company, Coins.ph, provides financial services for people without bank accounts. He says that while each country is unique, there are big fundamental problems that are common across emerging markets, such as lack of access to education or the fact that people are unbanked. “If you solve one of these needs, then the market is larger than any one of these countries. If you can solve banking for people in the Philippines, you can solve it for 500 million people in South East Asia,” he says.
Richard Eldridge is another tech entrepreneur based in Manila. He co-founded Lenddo, an on-line loan company that wants to help consumers use their social media activity to develop creditworthiness, giving them access to financial services. He has been working in the Philippines since 2001, and has had a front row seat for the Philippines’ economic growth.
Ron Hose believes his on-line site will be a breakthrough service for the middle classes in emerging markets
He previously ran a large outsourcing company, and found that many of his employees – the very middle classes he seeks to serve – kept asking him for loans. “It fascinated me that they were coming to me and not going to a bank and getting loans,” Mr Eldridge says. He left the multinational in 2011 to start Lenddo with New York-based chief executive Jeff Stewart. The Philippines remains Lenddo’s home base and largest market but in the past year it has expanded to Mexico and Colombia and is looking at 30 other emerging countries.
Local problems, local solutions
While foreigners have made a mark in the Philippine start-up sector, most entrepreneurs are locals, solving local problems. Norris Jay Perez was a programmer for a small company before he struck out on his own in 2009. For four years he tried and failed at 10 different start-up ideas before coming up with Apptivate, a platform that allows smartphone users without credit cards to buy apps. He had the idea when he wanted to buy an app for his second-hand smartphone but could not because he did not have a credit card. Nearly 60% of Filipinos own a smartphone, computer or tablet, significantly higher than comparable emerging markets such as India, Vietnam or Indonesia. Mr Perez says that only 3% use Apptivate and he believes he is tapping into a large market with plenty of room to grow. However, spotty mobile coverage and slow internet speeds are hampering adoption. Mr Perez admits he spends time fielding emails from Apptivate customers, frustrated because slow and patchy mobile internet connections kept them from downloading apps they had already paid for.
Limited local talent
The situation has attracted the ire of Senator Paolo Benigno Aquino IV, who requested a Senate investigation to find out the cause of slow internet speeds in the Philippines and how it was affecting the ease of doing business. “Lack of good internet is going to slow down economic growth in the Philippines, that I know for sure,” says Ron Hose of Coins.ph. But he adds: “It’s not going to slow down tech entrepreneurs.” He thinks the bigger issues are an underdeveloped funding infrastructure and a lack of tech talent. “The good ones have left for Singapore or Hong Kong. It makes it hard for tech entrepreneurs to operate here,” he says. Lenddo solves its talent shortfall by outsourcing the most complex data engineering work to New York, while hiring the rest of its team locally. For now, the Philippine tech industry is for true believers, willing to build not just a business, but an industry from the ground up.“
Someone from Facebook just posted this photo. Apparently this P1000 note is a fake. She was incandescent with rage and I do understand how she felt.
It is not right that the money transfers agencies like MLhuillier do not check for authenticity of monies they are issuing to their customers. It should be the first order of business to know that monies in their stocks are safe, secure and legitimate. Afterall their clients pay premium fee to transfer monies to relatives back home to the Philippines.
Another thing, don’t make it too hard for a customer to put a complaint. Try to cater to their concerns and not ignore them and sweep their problem under some dirty carpets.
To the customers, ensure that the money you received are not the fake ones. Probably a selfie while at MLhuillier or some other money transfer agencies showing the serial numbers of the money would help; if you are a victim of the fakery, report to the police this fake transaction at once.
Money is human happiness in the abstract.
– Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860)
Does Money make the World Go Round?!!!
I was taken aback when I read that there are so much that can’t be bought by money. I thought everything has a price tag these days.
Anyway I saw a list of these 50 things in Facebook and I was forced to add my comment to a friend’s timeline disagreeing with some of those in the list. I am afraid my comment was unappreciated. LOL
Below is that list and would appreciate your thoughts! 😉
I think most of the things above can be achieved more easily with money!
Below are quotes from the famous, the millionaires and the billionaires. Surely they can give a better glimpse on how it is to have money, money, money!!! 🙂
Money is power.
– Andrew Jackson
Money is the root of all evil, and yet it is such a useful root that we cannot get on without it any more than we can without potatoes.
– Louisa May Alcott
A feast is made for laughter, and wine makes life merry, but money is the answer for everything.
– Ecclesiastes 10:19
Always live within your income, even if you have to borrow money to do so.
– Josh Billings
At the back of every great fortune lies a great crime.
– Honore de Balzac
Everytime you spend money, you’re casting a vote for the kind of world you want.
– Anna Lappe
I believe that the power to make money is a gift from God.
– John D Rockefeller
If you can actually count your money, then you are not really a rich man.
– J. Paul Getty
I’m not a paranoid deranged millionaire.
Goddammit, I’m a billionaire.
– Howard Hughes
In suggesting gifts, money is appropriate, and one size fits all.
-William Randolph Hearst
It is physically impossible for a well-educated, intellectual, or brave man t make money the chief object of his thoughts.
– John Ruskin
It isn’t necessary to be rich and famous to be happy. It’s only necessary to be rich.
– Alan Alda
If money be not thy servant, it will be thy master. The covetous man cannot so properly be said to possess wealth, as that it may be said to possess him.
I don’t like money, but it quiets my nerves.
– Joe Louis
LOST money is bewailed with deeper sighs
Than friends, or kindred, and with louder cries.
Money is a good thing to have. It frees you from doing things you dislike. Since I dislike doing nearly everything, money is handy. – Groucho Marx
Money, it turned out, was exactly like sex, you thought of nothing else if you didn’t have it and thought of other things if you did.
– James Baldwin
Not having to worry about money is almost like not having to worry about dying.
– Mario Puzo
One should look down on money, but never lose sight of it.
– Andre Prevot
PLAIN food is quite enough for me;
Three courses are as good as ten;
If Nature can subsist on three,
Thank heaven for three—Amen!
I always thought cold victual nice—
My choice should be vanilla-ice.
I care not much for gold or land;
Give me a mortgage here or there;
Some good bank-stock, some note of hand,
Or trifling railroad share:—
I only ask that fortune send
A little more than I shall spend.
– Oliver Wendell Holmes.
To be clever enough to get a great deal of money, one must be stupid enough to want it.
– George Bernard Shaw
The only thing money gives is the freedom of not worrying about money.
– Johnny Carson
The love of money is the root of all evil.
—1 Timothy 6:10.
There’s certain part of the contented majority who love anybody who is worth a billion dollars.
– John Kenneth Galbraith
Whoever said money can’t buy happiness simply didn’t know where to go shopping.
Wouldn’t it be lovely if you reach into your pocket and find a 50p with the Kew Garden pagoda design. Apparently these 50p coins are so rare and have become collectors’ items. They are now worth £120. apiece.
I suppose it won’t hurt to go searching in your handbags, jackets, clothes with pockets, under the bed and don’t forget under the settee. Lift those cushions, you never know…..
Do you have a 50p worth £120?
Check your pockets – you could hold the rarest coin in circulation
It is amazing to see that England & Britain have some family owned and run businesses that from over 500 years ago are still trading today!
The UK’s Oldest Family Firms
Below is an interesting article By Lucy Wallis of BBC News.
Balson’s butchers shop pictured in the 1880s
Some of the UK’s oldest family businesses have survived for almost 500 years. What have they been doing right to make them so enduring?
According to the Institute for Family Business (IFB), there are around three million family firms in the UK.
It says the 10 companies below are thought to be among the oldest. Each offers an example to other family firms hoping to keep going for generations.
RJ Balson & Son – Butcher – Established 1515
If Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon had visited Bridport in Dorset, they could have eaten meat sold by Balson’s the butcher.
Records show Robert Balson rented a market stall in 1515 in the “Shambles” – an open-air meat market where animals were slaughtered and blood would drip into the gutter on the street. A messy scene, the word shambles later came to be associated with disorder.
Descendants of Robert continued to rent a stall there. The family survived the arrival of bubonic plague in the town during the 17th Century.
In the Victorian era tragedy struck the business. Owner Arthur Balson, started living with a married woman and her young son Tom. During a game, Tom pretended to shoot Arthur with a gun, but did not realise it was loaded and accidentally shot Arthur dead in 1859. The business was taken over by Arthur’s younger brother Richard.
Balson’s is now run by Richard’s great-great-grandson Richard Balson and uses recipes handed down through the generations.
On sale are ox cheeks and Bath chaps – a west country term for pig’s cheeks.
Offering personal and attentive customer service has kept shoppers coming back over the centuries. Balson says he helps sort out his customers’ problems from behind the counter.
“Usually if they’ve got a problem it’s because they are not eating enough meat,” he adds.
R Durtnell & Sons – Construction – Established 1591
Richard Durtnell managed to raise £360 in 1802 to buy his new builders’ yard
Since the financial crash of 2008 over 7,000 UK building firms have gone out of business, but Durtnell and Sons, based in Brasted, Kent, has remained in business since the reign of Elizabeth I. Spotting new ways of working has helped the company thrive and in the early 1800s, owner at the time, Richard Durtnell, made a crucial decision to bring together all the craftspeople he needed, such as glaziers and bricklayers, in one yard. As a result of this innovation, he became one of the first general builders.
“I remember as a child going to London, there was a lot of arm-waving out the window, ‘We built this and we built that,'” says Alex Durtnell, who recently took over the business from his father.
“Sadly there weren’t in-car TVs back then, so we actually had to listen to what dad was saying, and I thought: ‘How boring is that.’ Of course now I do the same thing with my children.”
C Hoare & Co – Bank – Established 1672
A painting of the Fleet Street banking house dated 1829
With two branches in London, this independent bank can trace its origins back to the reign of Charles II when founder Sir Richard Hoare began trading as a goldsmith and banker. His clients included diarist Samuel Pepys and Charles II’s widow Catherine of Braganza.
The bank’s headquarters in Fleet Street was built in 1829, where they issued cheque books and “washing books” or early bank statements. Since then the company has changed with the times, introducing online banking in 2008.
During World War Two, the headquarters was caught in a Nazi bombing raid, and staff had to use water from the bank’s well to extinguish the flames of the fire.
The tenth and eleventh generations of the Hoare family run the bank today and the company says the secret to their longevity is adhering to their core values and ethos – “to treat others as we would wish to be treated”.
Mornflake – Miller – Established 1675
Brereton Mill in Cheshire was also owned by Mornflake (image circa 1885)
William Lea started milling oats at Swettenham Mill in 1675 in Cheshire and 15 generations later the company is still trading.
“Obviously technology has moved on and we have new equipment, especially to keep up with the demand for our oats, but the general milling principle has stayed the same,” says current managing director John Lea.
Mr Lea says constant innovation, investment and commitment to consumers is the key to staying in business. Innovation became particularly vital during World War Two. With home-grown, sustainable food a necessity in the war, then-owner Philip Lea was ordered by the Ministry of Food to leave the RAF and return home to Britain to “feed the nation”.
As the family mills struggled to cope with the excess demand, a new mill and factory was built. It was one of the few construction projects not involving munitions to get the go-ahead during World War Two.
James Lock & Co – Hatters – Established 1676
Lock & Co’s shop in the 19th Century
Following the great plague of 1665 and the great fire of 1666, wealthy residents from the City of London moved to the west of the city in search of clean air. Entrepreneurial shopkeepers spotted the exodus and opened up businesses in the emerging West End.
Choosing the right location was crucial to establishing James Lock & Co. With a shop close to St James Palace, the firm became milliners to the gentry and the military.
Over the years customers included Admiral Lord Nelson, Sir Winston Churchill and Charlie Chaplin, but its most famous product was the very first bowler hat in 1850.
While its mainstay is traditional headwear, such as fedoras and Trilbies, the shop also makes sure it keeps up to date with the latest trends. So as well as holding Royal warrants to supply hats to the Duke of Edinburgh and the Prince of Wales, Lock & Co says its hats have also been worn by Hollywood film stars and rappers.
Toye, Kenning & Spencer – Medals and regalia – Thought to have been established 1685
The metal work department of Toye, Kenning & Spencer in the 1930s
“It is an immense responsibility to take on a family firm like this. I think it’s very kin to a stately home, stately factory even,” says chief executive Fiona Toye.
Using traditional techniques, the company makes insignia and regalia, such as the ribbons and medals presented to awardees of OBEs and CBEs, and have even helped renovate state chairs for the Kremlin.
Starting out as artisan silk weavers in London’s East End, adapting to change and appealing to new markets has been the key to business survival.
In the 1850s, soldiers in the Crimean war wore bright red coats with detailed trimmings so they could be seen by their battalions amidst the smoke of the battlefield and Toye and Co were making this type of regalia by the late 1870s.
By the 1860s the company had already spotted opportunities for making silk trimming for working men’s groups like friendly societies, so when the military turned to khaki uniforms from the 1880s, the company spotted another gap in the market with other societies like the Freemasons.
The company also made epaulettes, a sash and a hat for leading suffragette Flora Drummond – nicknamed “The General” – in 1908, and embroidered four ornate banners for Queen Elizabeth’s coronation in 1953.
“Family firms are experts at evolving, ensuring they remain competitive over the generations and relevant in the modern world,” says Fiona Graham of the IFB.
With the high costs of manufacturing in the UK, the firm may have to adapt to change again by moving production of some of their lower value stock overseas.
Folkes Group – Property and manufacture – Established 1697
Specialising in commercial property development and investment, this West Midlands-based company is now run by Constantine Folkes, the ninth generation to run the business.
Folkes evidently feels that staying true to the family’s roots has been crucial to keeping the business going. He still lives in the area where the firm was first created.
Berry Bros & Rudd – Wine merchants – Established 1698
Established by widow Bourne as a grocer’s in the neighbourhood of St James’s, London, the business supplied the new and popular coffee houses in the area.
In the middle of the 18th Century the tradition of weighing distinguished customers on the company’s scales began. Among those weighed were Beau Brummell and Lord Byron.
In 1838, owner George Berry, became a special constable along with the future Emperor Napoleon III. During his exile in Britain, Napoleon III used the company’s cellars to conduct secret meetings ahead of his return to France.
The day after the sinking of The Titanic in 1912, the business received a letter from the White Star Line shipping company saying 69 cases of their spirits and wine had been lost on the ship. However the letter did not make any reference to the loss of life.
While preserving tradition, the company has stayed relevant in modern times by spotting new international opportunities, such as introducing wines from China to the shop in 2013.
Salts Healthcare – Healthcare products – Established 1701
Former locksmiths John and William Salt started the business in the early 1700s manufacturing surgical instruments, but the company seems to have been adept over the years at responding to gaps in the market and social change.
In World War One they made artificial limbs for injured soldiers and now specialise in ostomy and orthotic products.
Aspall Cyder – Cider makers – Established 1728
A document dated 1729 contains information on the purchase of apples
Tracing their history back to the Crusades as associates of the Knights Templar, Aspall Cyder is now run by Barry and Henry, the eighth generation of Chevalliers. According to their family tree, King Henry I can be counted as their great-grandfather, 26 times removed.
The business began when Clement Benjamin Chevallier, from Jersey, inherited Aspall Hall in Suffolk, but started to miss his favourite alcoholic drink.
Apple trees from Jersey were planted in the grounds and the brewery is still located at Aspall today.
As well as their long heritage, the company is not afraid to pioneer new techniques, producing vinegar as well as cider and apple juice.