Personal Finance

Defining Middle Class


Many people are born into the middle class, but for those born in poverty the lifetime challenge is reaching middle class status.

The definition of middle class status is a challenge in itself. People in poverty are often described as those surviving on less than US$1.25 (some R17.50) per day. However, that does not imply that middle class simply starts just above this threshold.

The Death of Cash...Not So Fast


Ever since the introduction of computers into the retail banking system in the late 1950s, there has been a vision of a future world where cash is obsolete. The near death of personal cheques, increase in debit and credit card use, and innovations such as PayPal, Square, Apple Pay and Bitcoin, have led us to believe the cashless society is well within our reach.

Beware of Crowds Bearing Funding


Crowdfunding has rapidly emerged as an alternative source of financing for start-ups and new ventures. From artistic endeavours such as Marina Abramovic’s Institute project to new tech like the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset and the Pebble smartwatch, crowdfunding has become increasingly mainstream.

New Pieces Added to Europe's Banking Union Puzzle


The knock-on effects of the meltdown in Chinese shares and the tension among major Middle East rivals are dominating the re-opening of the global capital markets after the New Year holiday.  The US dollar has recouped its earlier losses against the euro, sterling and the Swiss franc, and remains broadly higher against the Antipodean currencies. 

A Corporate Tax (Avoidance) Lesson from Down Under


With much anticipation and very little fanfare the Australian Taxation Office quietly released information about corporate tax entities with a total income of $100 million or more for the 2013–14 income year and how much tax they paid.

All For One, and Savings For All


As predicted, the US Federal Reserve has raised interest rates after nearly a decade, which means a slightly better rate of return for savers. Meanwhile in the UK, the Bank of England has kept the benchmark rate at a rock bottom 0.5% for the 81st month in a row. All the while, there are calls from policymakers and politicians for a grand vision for saving. People should take responsibility, the argument goes, for their own welfare.

The Benefits of a Banking GST for Australia


South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill has argued for broadening the GST base to include all financial services, something also floated by the Financial System Inquiry. The idea has merit, although the complexity of the issue makes assessing the consequences and merits difficult.

A Subprime Mortgage By Any Other Name


The subprime mortgage market brought the world to its knees, so what, on earth are we doing inviting it back to the party?  It was the packaging and reselling of this low-rated debt from US homeowners that sparked the global financial crisis. Now there is increasing evidence that such products are becoming popular again both, in the UK and the US. How scared we should be?

Five Everyday Habits That Make You Poor


In today's world, it's easy to be left with an empty bank account, confused and wondering where your money went. If you're like most people, your daily spending habits aren't helping you. Here are five everyday habits that end up leaving you poor:

1. Spending More Than You Have

Not too Big to Fail, but Nothing Learned


Do you remember the 2007-08 banking crash? In the build up to it, UK bankers made vast profits and their executives collected big bonuses. After the crash, taxpayers bailed them out, which led to increased government borrowing. We have all been suffering a never-ending programme of austerity ever since.