Category: world

6 simple rules to manage your finances after lockdown that everyone can stick to

It’s been a long couple of months, but it seems like our time in this third lockdown will be coming to an end in the near future. In England, non-essential shops, hairdressers, beauty salons and gyms, among other things, are slated to open on 12th April, which is great news for those of us with roots down to our elbows and a need to pound the treadmill.

But there’s a growing concern, especially among those of us who have managed to save or improve our spending habits during lockdown, about what the easing of lockdown will mean for our bank balances and relationship with money. It’s natural to feel protective of progress made during lockdown, especially when saving money might have been one of the only silver linings to a really difficult time, but anxiety over the temptation to splurge is not going to help your financial wellbeing in the long run. Here are some ways that you can enjoy the easing of lockdown while maintaining good saving habits and a positive money mindset:

Plan in a little extra spending
Lockdown has been hard for everyone, particularly working parents, students and people living alone or with flatmates. Giving yourself permission to spend a little more over the next couple of months on things that you’ve missed is absolutely fine – in fact, it could be classed as an act of self-care. Take a look at your budget, or how you’ve been spending and saving in lockdown, and plan in some activities that you’ve been looking forward to doing. Create a savings pot specifically for this, and make sure that money is ring-fenced for guilt-free enjoyment.

Automate your savings
If you’ve been enjoying the feeling of saving during lockdown, make sure it’s something you can keep up without much effort by automating it. Take a look at what you’d like to save each month, and set up a standing order to transfer that amount to a savings account the day after you get paid. This way, the money is out of sight and out of mind, leaving you with a better idea of what you can afford to spend.

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The very best Airbnbs in the Cotswolds to book now for your post-lockdown escape

Are you even British if you haven’t had endless conversations with all your friends about how “amaaaaazing” The Cotswolds is? After all, this picturesque area boasts Michelin-starred restaurants, lakeside lodges, rose-adorned gardens and honey-hued stone cottages. It’s the go-to destination for the celebrities and influencers of the country (when they can’t get to Dubai), and it’s *actually* quite affordable.

With staycations THE holiday to be planning in 2021 (vaccine passports, possible quarantines and the endless uncertainty are enough to put anyone off travelling abroad for the moment), the Cotswolds are just going to continue to grow in popularity. So if you’re looking for the perfect spot for a relaxing countryside retreat in close proximity to Oxford, Cheltenham and London, we’d suggest planning your escape to the country. Stat.

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Best picnic sets: Here’s everything you need to elevate your upcoming socially distanced picnic

While there’s no denying the catastrophic (and on-going) impacts of Coronavirus, there have been a couple of positive outcomes. Not least our heightened appreciation for friends and family – and an overwhelming desire to see them in person the very second we can.

The latest lockdown might be lifting ever, so, slowly, but if all goes according to the roadmap plan, by 29 March we can meet in groups of up to six outdoors. (Currently, you can only meet with one other person from another household). So, what better way to make use of this easing of restrictions than through the humble art of picnicking. Meeting friends for chats and outdoor pack-up lunches/wine/*all* the cheese – with our picnic bags and blankets on hand – is something we’re counting down the days to, even if it means we’ll need a jacket and an extra blanket for the moment.

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Ant Group boss Simon Hu steps down in restructuring

he chief executive of China’s Ant Group has stepped down “for personal reasons” as the online payment giant undergoes a restructuring.

Simon Hu will be replaced by executive chairman Eric Jing, the company said.

Ant is controlled by billionaire Jack Ma who first made his name through the trading platform Alibaba.

The firm has come under intense regulatory pressure and was forced to drop its planned $37bn public share sale last year.

China re-opens door to Ant Group’s stock market debut
Is the Ant Group shake-up a sign of things to come?
Ant Group is China’s biggest payments provider, with more than 730 million monthly users on its digital payments service Alipay.

But it also acts as a marketplace for loans. It takes a fee to match borrowers with banks, who then take on the risk.

It also offers savings accounts and insurance, all through its mobile phone app.

However Jack Ma has attracted controversy in China, criticising the state-dominated banking sector, and the company is in the cross-hairs of regulators, eager to bring it into line with more traditional banks and lenders, and to contain its market dominance.

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What are NFTs and why are some worth millions?

A digital-only artwork has sold at Christie’s auction house for an eye-watering $69m (£50m) – but the winning bidder will not receive a sculpture, painting or even a print.

Instead, they get a unique digital token known as an NFT.

Where Bitcoin was hailed as the digital answer to currency, NFTs are now being touted as the digital answer to collectables.

But there are plenty of sceptics who think it is all a bubble that is going to burst.

What is an NFT?
NFT stands for non-fungible token.

In economics, a fungible asset is something with units that can be readily interchanged – like money.

With money, you can swap a £10 note for two £5 notes and it will have the same value.

However, if something is non-fungible, this is impossible – it means it has unique properties so it cannot be interchanged with something else.

It could be a house, or a painting such as the Mona Lisa, which is one of a kind. You can take a photo of the painting or buy a print but there will only ever be the one original painting.

NFTs are “one-of-a-kind” assets in the digital world that can be bought and sold like any other piece of property, but they have no tangible form of their own.

The digital tokens can be thought of as certificates of ownership for virtual or physical assets.

How do NFTs work?
Traditional works of art such as paintings are valuable because they are one of a kind.

But digital files can be easily and endlessly duplicated.

With NFTs, artwork can be “tokenised” to create a digital certificate of ownership that can be bought and sold.

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