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Your country needs YOU

As an optimist, I like to look for some of the benefits we have gained over these last 18 months or so as we slowly emerge from the restrictions imposed on us.

I no longer commute to London weekly, remote working has become the norm, and it’s given me more time at home with my family. I pause more often, giving consideration to others and appreciating how quickly our life can change. The pace of life is generally slower.

But when I took my first trip to London this week since November 2019, I was shocked at how quiet our capital city was.

Selfishly, I loved it: I could easily and cheaply book the hotel I wanted (thanks for the discounts), I could walk along Regent Street without the hustle and bustle of people bumping into me, and I could eat at my favourite restaurants without compromising on times and planning too far ahead.

But all this means that the income for these businesses will be down significantly. The hotel where I stayed had only 70 rooms filled, when they previously would be working with 700 rooms – that’s a fraction of the staff required and salaries paid. The cause of this is the lack of international tourists to our capital, and until these restrictions are lifted, I cannot see the situation changing.

So perhaps summer 2021 is the year to support UK PLC. If you haven’t booked a holiday yet this year, it’s unlikely you will still be able to find a room in a seaside destination… but one of the best cities in the world is on sale and beautifully quiet! Be a tourist this summer in your own country and visit the capital, or any city in the UK for that matter.

Remember that economics is as simple as ‘one man’s spending, is another man’s income’. When spending falls, so does your income. Please don’t think, ‘I don’t work in the tourist industry I am ok’: the economy is globally interconnected, and it works as one big machine.

When I returned to my hometown on a beautifully quiet train, I got into a taxi from the station to my home. The taxi driver explained to me how he’d taken the last year off work because with so many of the larger local employers working from home, and social activities closed, there was just no work for him.

We don’t want our taxis permanently parked, nor do we want our high streets to close. We want a thriving economy where we all benefit from the trade, so we need to support our businesses. Shopping local and spending our pounds with local firms supports the economy, which in turn supports our own jobs.

It’s essential we use this period to organise our finances, take lessons and secure our future. Part of that means supporting local businesses whenever you can.

Five things you can do to shore up your finances.

  1. Organised your spending, know what’s coming in, going out, what you own and what you owe.
  2. Allocate your income; 50% to fixed bills, 30% to variable bills and 20% for debt repayment and savings.
  3. Save an emergency fund; we must have six months of our expenditure sat on deposit
  4. Find creative ways to repay our debt and make it a passion to become debt free.
  5. Invest intelligently and grow your wealthy to create financial freedom.
 

Preparation is the secret to a happy retirement
When it comes to your money, clarity is power