How to create a 3 month cash reserve

It’s never been a good strategy to live from payday to payday without savings.

Yet, for a variety of reasons, a lot of us do just that.

Some of us now have direct experience of what happens when our part of the economy shut downs overnight and we don’t have the cash reserves to tide us over until things open up again. 

It’s been a bit of a rude shock for some.

Continue reading “How to create a 3 month cash reserve”

Make the most of this moment.

Welcome to the world of self-isolation – the place where we stay at home.

If you can work from home, you’ve got something to get on with during working hours, but if you can’t, then you have some extra hours to fill.

Even if you are still able to work, the range of after-hours activities available to all of us has been seriously curtailed. The pubs, bars and eating places are closed. The theatres are closed. They’ve cancelled the football and basketball. They are telling us to stay home.

So, what are we going to do while we wait for the ‘all clear’ to resume our normal routines?

Maresa Smith | DTS
Continue reading “Make the most of this moment.”

What it’s like being a teacher.

Here’s another social issue I slipped into After. This snippet comes from chapter two, where Sgt Marie Wood ponders why Josie Ford may have decided to take some time out.


She turned her thoughts to Josie. Why would an apparently happily married mother of two teenage boys disappear first thing in the morning? Well, she was a teacher. The things they had to put up with would be enough to push anybody over the edge. Teachers didn’t get much respect these days and it was becoming fashionable to blame them for everything that was wrong with today’s young people. So much for parental responsibility. Now it was all some teacher’s fault for not disciplining little Johnny or not teaching him properly. Parents were even going into classrooms and threatening teachers when their little darling was called to account for his latest outburst of anti-social behaviour and it wasn’t just the boys mucking up in schools. Just last week she had attended the local high school when an angry parent had turned up and threatened to shoot the principal.


Continue reading “What it’s like being a teacher.”

Are you a slave?

A thought-provoking extract from After, book 1 of the Inspector West series.


The bus arrived at his stop in the city. He got off and ambled towards the bank. No point in rushing in for another routine day in the world of banking.

Paul started his day, like he did most mornings, sharing a cup of coffee with Henry, his team leader for the last two years. It was an opportunity to sort out the day’s priorities and discuss the state of the world before they got down to the serious stuff.

Continue reading “Are you a slave?”

Opening your mind.

How far have you travelled from your home base?

Your worldview is determined by your exposure to the world. If you stay in your home territory, you see the world as an extension of your home. You live in a belief bubble.

It’s hard to imagine things being different someplace else if you’re always in familiar surroundings – whether those surroundings are physical, intellectual, emotional or spiritual. Continue reading “Opening your mind.”

Are you measuring your progress?

It’s the start of the second quarter.

How’s your productivity improvement plan going for 2018?

Are you sticking with your plan to lift your game or are you backsliding?

If you’re on plan, great. If you’re not, it’s not too late to refocus and get back on track.

If you haven’t started yet, now is the time to do something. Continue reading “Are you measuring your progress?”

It’s better than it looks.

I listened to this interview on NPR with Gregg Easterbrook discussing his latest book: It’s Better Than It Looks: Reasons for Optimism in an Age of Fear.

His work raises an interesting point: despite the facts showing things have never been better for us, we’ve bought into the story that things are really bad.

Why is that? Continue reading “It’s better than it looks.”

Computers making a difference

We take computers for granted but it wasn’t that long ago we were doing a lot of things we now do with computers by hand.

I suspect the world’s become a different place since the arrival of computers.

Let’s consider a few places computers are making a difference.

Banking

I remember the days when a bank teller wrote entries by hand in your passbook every time you deposited or withdrew money, and the long queues at the bank. When I started working in a bank, they were still using passbooks but a computer did the writing, and then passbooks became plastic cards and the computer sent you a monthly statement.

Then banks replaced tellers with safes attached to a computer (automated teller machines) which identified your account from that plastic card and dispensed cash into your hand.

Hardly anybody uses cash these days. We get paid electronically, we pay our bills online and use those plastic cards to make our purchases. There’s even talk of us becoming a cashless society, thanks to computers.

Continue reading “Computers making a difference”