The Week In Numbers with Peter Sharkey

Were you to bundle them together in a single day’s publication, the week’s assorted headlines would supply you with a ready-made mixture of amusement, anger, happiness, frustration, laughter and a host of other reactions besides.

Apart from offering movie stars another opportunity to sashay along a heavily-guarded red carpet in borrowed frocks and display faux surprise when the winners are announced, Sunday’s Oscars will also provide some celebrities with a global platform for caustic political comment.

It’s not been a great week for social media. First came allegations that (Shock! Horror!) some ‘celebrities’ (telly cooks, catalogue models, daytime TV presenters etc) have been buying large numbers of (non-existent) ‘followers’ in an attempt to show just how popular they are on social media.

As with most houses, the kitchen is our home’s focal point, a warm, welcoming room dotted with essential paraphernalia: phone chargers, details of dental appointments and the like.

Hot on the heels of last week’s column on the need for millennials to start saving on a regular basis came news that the UK’s pension pot, currently worth around £25 billion, is projected to run dry by 2035.

Early morning locker room banter can be very funny – and a little too ripe to repeat here, though frankly, I look forward to the mix of “did you hear the one about the bloke who goes into a bar with his giraffe…”, or listening to the opinions on last night’s match, all rather more forthright than you ever hear on TV.

Following an uplifting visit to Port Sunlight village on the Wirral, you’re inclined to wonder why you hadn’t visited sooner.

Ad Feature: Anyone for a cruise?

Monday, December 18, 2017

My wife and I enjoyed Sunday lunch with a couple we’ve known for years recently. They’re great fun. He runs a small building firm; she describes herself as a “home-keeper who specialises in spending the money my husband makes.”

London has always revelled in its reputation for being different, attracting praise and scorn in equal measure.

It’s disheartening to learn that the number of youngsters aged 16 and under who are working in a Saturday job has fallen by more than a fifth since 2012.

One of my nephews, a bright lad, recently graduated from a highly-rated red brick university with a first class degree and landed a job working at what he refers to as a ‘crowdfunded start-up’ in London.

Strictly and pizza: the perfect combination for investors?

Searching for some very specific financial information recently, I emailed a pal (an IFA of many years’ standing) and asked him if he knew anyone who could provide it. Within minutes, he pinged back the name of a firm and a link to their website.

Life really is considerably better than 30-odd years ago, argues our finance columnist Peter Sharkey.

Where did you have your first proper Indian curry? You know, the one consumed at a late night establishment, the exterior of which had seen better days and where the interior was decorated with a jaded red and black flock wallpaper.

For a short while, it was the Tubes, although they were superseded by the Police, who I first saw at Bath University around 1978 when, incredibly for a support band, they received a rapturous encore. Unfortunately, they didn’t know any more tunes, having performed their complete repertoire, so had to play Roxanne again, to tumultuous applause.

Is there anything more frustrating than discovering you’ve overpaid for a product or service?

Though initially coerced into going to see Logan Lucky at the cinema last week, I have to say that despite an outrageously ridiculous plot, it is a very funny film.

Attending auctions can become almost compulsive behaviour for some people, particularly when property is up for sale, though for most of us, spending time in an auction room is usually a fascinating experience, especially if you arrive before proceedings get under way and grab the opportunity to browse through tables and boxes of interesting paraphernalia.

The second half of August is a time when exam results traditionally dominate the news. Pictures of screaming, high-fiving sixth-formers were everywhere following publication of A-level results, and a slightly younger group were similarly ecstatic/tearful a week later when GCSE results were released.

Just when you thought it would meander along, life has a wonderfully endearing habit of yielding something completely unexpected, even livening up those occasionally stultifying ‘get-togethers’ that were in danger of become a chore.

Speaking with the marketing director of a well-known financial adviser recently, the subject of happiness and how we define it was discussed at length. You might think the sole focus of those who advise us on wealth-related matters is how to make their clients’ money and investments work harder, but there is another, equally important, part to this equation, namely the why or purpose.

Michael O’Flynn has probably long since shuffled off this mortal coil, but he is still fondly remembered by a good number of those with whom he came into contact. Mr O’Flynn was one of those teachers whose occasionally unconventional methods of dispensing knowledge influenced a generation of grammar school boys during the 1970s.

Although our choices have widened beyond comprehension over the past two decades, television is one area of everyday life where more most obviously fails to equate with better quality.

How do you launch a new personal finance column? What particular combination of words should you use to grab readers’ attention and convince them that what they’re about to read over the coming months is so compelling it has the power to change their lives?

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