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Before starting any new language learning venture, it is important to review your language learning efforts to date. Tim Ferriss and Benny Lewis have been inspiring me to learn a new language of late, so it’s time to reverse engineer my previous efforts, and share what I find with you. I’ll start with German, which I can speak fluently (i.e. at least 90% comprehension) with a German accent. Three Stages of Learning My German learning went throu [...]

It’s a problem many of us face: running out of money before payday. Especially for those of us who are paid monthly, may day can sometimes come well before pay day. Do you find yourself grappling a manic-depressive spending regime, from splashing out to skint? I used to – but have had some reasonable success in reducing this problem. Let me share three suggestions with you. Know where your money goes Keep track of your actual expenses as they [...]

My friend emailed me this quote the other day: “You work 9-5, come home kiss the dog, I’m telling you 7PM – 2AM is PLENTY of time to get your business idea off the ground.” I think the quote is from Gary Vaynerchuk. It got me thinking about the 9-5, how much time we have in the week, and how I might maximise my time outside the 9-5. See, the thing about 9-5, is that if you’re on the same timezone as most of society, it is probably the most produc [...]

When I meet a ‘personal finance junkie’ – people driven by their finances, interested in shares or property, people who know how much they’ve spent YTD and what their pension account was worth at the start of the month – I’m often intrigued to know where it all started. Especially if this person is 20-something years old, since young people tend to be more care-free about their finances. Is this something that they’ve been brought up to do? Or w [...]

If I could take all my annual leave in one go (which I can’t – go figure), I’d go and pick olives. In Greece, Italy or France – for the whole time off. Yes – I take time off work to go and work. People – especially colleagues – think this idea is mad. Why would you not want to relax on your annual leave? Lie on a beach? Actually travel around Greece, Italy or France – rather than be stuck on a farm somewhere in a rural backwater? I can think of [...]

Onto part 2 for this post. Onceyou’vegot the transaction recording and totalling part of your spreadsheet up and running, you can start to think about budgeting. This section will require a lot of customisation to your situation, and is likely to change as your situation changes. A new job, or an extended period travelling, or a new housing situation, are all reasons to review how you budget. As I mentioned last week, this part of the spreadshe [...]

I’ve been keeping personal finance spreadsheets since 2004. A decade of information is very powerful when making big decisions – career changes, relocation abroad, and planning for the likelihood of a future mortgage. But even only a couple of months of information can help you see where your money goes, and easy changes to save a bit more. I think the biggest barrier to entry is setting up something simple that works, so I’d like to share some t [...]