My weekly commentary followed by my weekend news and blog links round-up.
I am currently somewhere on the British canal network, helping my mum and dad take a trip on a narrowboat that they’d long thought about doing but never got around to.
Well, I will be if all goes according to plan!
Regular readers may recall my dad suffered a massive heart attack a year ago. It left him physically much diminished and has given his brain a good knock, too.
As I write a few days before the trip, I’m aware of several challenges we’ll face including:
- Getting him on and off the boat (we may only be able to do this once).
- Meals could be challenging (/boring) since we might only eat aboard and the kitchen is tiny if you’re not set up for it. Take-aways ahoy.
- Dad getting too close to the water — it won’t be easy to get him out.
- Me not crashing the boat.
- Dad telling me too insistently that I’m about to crash the boat.
- Mum set on trying to operate the locks, and draining the entire canal system in the process.
- My girlfriend being able to live with all the above, for several days, on a 40-foot boat.
- The great British weather!
One aspect of the trip that’s more relevant to Monevator readers is how difficult my mum initially found deciding to spend a lump sum of money on the holiday.
The deal we’re getting isn’t the best value for money in terms of days on the water, or the time of the year — rather, it’s the most practical given dad’s condition.
After a lifetime of saving and with uncertainty increasing due to recent events, it’s not easy to switch to spending.
Yet they can well afford it — they’ve fairly decent savings, a paid-up house, and reasonable pensions. Dad won’t be around forever. If not now, then when?
On the whole I’m really pleased with how she’s made this transition, rather than burying her head in the sand.
But sometimes it is a challenge for her, partly because doing so means confronting the fact that dad’s innings is running out.
I don’t have any easy answers to how she should cope with all this. It’s even newer territory for me than for her, and over the next couple of years there are likely to be other challenges ahead of us both as a consequence of dad’s prognosis.
I expect I’ll learn a lot more about the far end of the investing and spending lifecycle over that period. I’d rather not, to be honest, but that’s not the hand we’re dealt in life, is it?
For now though the weather forecast looks good, my in-tray is clear, and I intend to cook a full English breakfast in the boat’s galley every day. Much to look forward to!
Hope you all have a great weekend. 🙂
Some interesting financial blog posts
- You might like to check out part two  of my Money Energy series on buying UK shares for income.
- I also contributed a guest post about lessons I learned from my father  to Frugal Dad.
- Moolanomy outlines options, calls and puts .
- Oblivious Investor explains why index funds  with even fewer words than usual.
- Here’s an interesting list of 30 financially strong UK shares  from the iii blog.
- Get Rich Slowly reviews the online cashflow management tool , Green Sherpa.
- Wealth Pilgrim looks at what a reader in a tight spot  might have done differently.
The pick of the weekend newspapers and sites
- What the crisis has cost the West, per person. Clear graphics from the BBC .
- Jim Rogers still says we should have allowed more Lehman Brothers’ style collapses . (FT)
- Given financial firms were saved by the State, how do we wean them off our money and stop the rot? (The Economist)
- Bit late, but here’s a video of John Authers comparing this stock market rally with previous post-crisis recoveries. Nervous viewing for traders. (FT)
- The FT Tech Blog muses on the difference between American and Japanese technology companies , via this funny little Onion article .
- China is worried about US money printing , says an insider. Some choice quotes.
- The Motley Fool reviews the shares that have out-performed during this six-month long rally .