By Amanda Morrall
1) Office politics
Invariably when I tell people what I do for a living, I am greeted (by those outside of the financial service sector) by a glazy-eyed expressions of disbelief, disinterest and boredom, followed by this highly predictable question: "So you find that interesting?"
Like any job, parts of it can be static and - work - however what I find most interesting about personal finance is the spill over into all areas of life. To reduce personal finance to budgeting, emergency funds, and retirement savings misses the point entirely. Personal finance is all encompassing because it is affected but life's biggest events; births,deaths, careers, marriages, divorce, houses and all the stuff we fill them with.
2) The golden age of love
I had a conversation with someone who shall remain nameless about the fate of women and men in old age, particularly when it comes to love relationships. The suggestion was that women end up happier and healthier, even if single, while men somehow suffer a sad and lonely fate. I begged to differ.
So does economist Marina Adshade in one of her latest Dollars & Sex blogs exploring the economic upside and downside of repartnering and the man drought. How can you resist this headline?
"If an old man is an annuity, how much is he worth on the senior's sex market?"
3) Bank of mum and dad
There is a lot to admire about Eastern cultures. For the most part, family is regarded as sacred. As such their approach to household finances is holistic and highly inclusive of all its members. In short, they look after one another.
I don't doubt this system has its shortcomings (choice and independence comes to mind) and can be fraught particularly in the event of family fallings out. Still, there is a distinct financial advantage to lending and borrowing with the family fold.
4) Kardashian financial fall out
Until very recently, due in part I believe to my Sky-free existence, I was able to remain blissfully ignorant about the Kardashian drama. In fact, I didn't even know who Kim was until her divorce stole top headlines internationally and somehow became "newsworthy.''
I'm bowing to pop culture here with this link detailing the financial fall-out from this over-the-top wedding farce. The extravagances of what appears to have been one big PR exercise boggles the mind as does the staggering excess and financial waste given genuine good causes out there.
One can only hope that Kim K has a conscience and will sell that 20.5 carat rock and put the profits towards a cause other than self promotion.
5) Stretching your limits
In yoga, students are enjoined to stretch their limits. People new to yoga generally take this to mean stretching a little further to touch their toes or perfecting hanumanasa, aka the splits. This literal interpretation misses the point.
All the postures and skills you learn in yoga are metaphors, or scaffolding if you will, for real life challenges outside the yoga studio. Hand stands are not about balance per se. They're more about overcoming the fear of falling. The confidence that comes from nailing this posture, even if done against a wall, moves with you when you leave the studio.
And what's this got to do with personal finance you ask?
It's all well and good to have financial goals but quite often our failure to meet them has to do with getting stuck, or never going that extra mile. When we fail to stretch our limits, we cheat ourselves from reaching our true potential.