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Finance: The ‘not so sexy’ New Year’s resolution

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Finance: The ‘not so sexy’ New Year’s resolution | The Thaiger

PHUKET: Many people like to make New Year’s resolutions, and the most common ones tend to deal with health. Sadly, most people do not stick with their resolutions for very long, and I will get to one of the main reasons for this in a bit, as well as how to avoid falling into this trap.

But let’s consider a way you can use this time of year to make a change in another very important part of your life. Financial planning may not be the sexiest area in which to make a New Year’s resolution, but it could very well have the biggest impact on your long term happiness.

I like to use this time of year first to reflect on the previous year and how things have gone with my financial situation. Some years I would rather forget the disasters that have come to pass, whereas others have left me wondering how I had been so lucky and hoping it would continue. Regardless of what happened, it is best to always take a look at where we are now and plan how to go forward from there.

The previous year’s plans and hopes and dreams are now history. If you had a bad year, the worst thing you can do is to try to aggressively make up for it. Emotions and planning do not combine well. Similarly, if you had a great year, the worst thing you can do is start spending money as if the good times are going to last forever. They never do.

Now for many people, saving money for the future is similar to starting exercising. It is something we are always going to do tomorrow. Or if it does make it into our resolution for the year, by February we have reverted to our old habits of spending every baht we make. One big reason that so many people stop exercising is that working out as a goal in itself is not very satisfying. Once you miss a workout here or there, it becomes easier and easier to just forget the whole thing. Similarly committing to saving a certain amount of money each month is jeopardized as soon as you have your first blow-out month and so it becomes easier and easier to continue being financially reckless.

One thing that helps many stick with exercise is setting a future goal that each routine workout helps build towards, such as a marathon, or a 10k run. This way a missed workout often gives you an incentive to get back on schedule quickly because you are worried you will not meet your goal, or suffer even more because you are not fully prepared. Similarly, setting an amount of saving for the whole year based on what you can reasonably afford each month, relieves the likelihood of throwing in the towel because your mates visited from out of town and you were ‘forced’ to go on a spending binge. You simply double up your efforts the next month to get back on track for your goal. It is the longer term prize your mind is focused on rather the short term monthly goal. As you track your growing savings account you will begin to get positive reinforcement that also helps you to stick to your plan.

Regardless of which area you need to plan for in terms of the future, there is no better time to do a thorough review of your situation and what you want to achieve than at the start of a new year. This could be in terms of philanthropic goals, business goals, saving for retirement, or future education costs. If you don’t plan for your future, you are exposing yourself to the whims of chance. Even if you fall slightly short of the target you set at the beginning of the year, you are almost certain to get further than you would without doing any planning or goal setting at all.

David Mayes MBA resides in Phuket and provides wealth management services to expatriates around the globe, focusing on UK pension transfers. He can be reached at david.m@faramond.com or 085-335-8573. Faramond UK is regulated by the FCA and provides advice on pensions and taxation.

— David Mayes

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Governments & old media versus social media – who will win? | VIDEO

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Governments & old media versus social media – who will win? | VIDEO | The Thaiger

We look at the recent changes made by the Australian and Indian governments to except control over the world’s biggest social media platforms. India has issued strict new rules for Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms just weeks after the Indian government attempted to pressure Twitter to take down social media accounts it deemed, well, anti social. There is now an open battle between the rise of social media platforms and the governments and ‘old’ media that have been able to maintain a certain level of control over the ‘message’ for the last century. Who will win?

The rules require any social media company to create three roles within India… a “compliance officer” who ensures they follow local laws; a “grievance officer” who addresses complaints from Indian social media users; and a “contact person” who can actually be contacted by lawyers and other aggrieved Indian parties… 24/7.

The democratisation of the news model, with social media as its catalyst, will continue to baffle traditional media and governments who used to enjoy a level of control over what stories get told. The battles of Google and Facebook, with the governments of India and Australia will be followed in plenty of other countries as well.

At the root of all discussions will be the difference between what governments THINK social media is all about and the reality about how quickly the media landscape has changed. You’ll get to read about it first, on a social media platform… probably on the screen you’re watching this news story right now.

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The social media giants in battle with ‘old’ media and world governments | VIDEO

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The social media giants in battle with ‘old’ media and world governments | VIDEO | The Thaiger

“The rules signal greater willingness by countries around the world to rein in big tech firms such as Google, Facebook and Twitter that the governments fear have become too powerful with little accountability.”

India has issued strict new rules for Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms just weeks after the Indian government attempted to pressure Twitter to take down social media accounts it deemed, well, anti social.

The rules require any social media company to create three roles within India… a “compliance officer” who ensures they follow local laws; a “grievance officer” who addresses complaints from Indian social media users; and a “contact person” who can actually be contacted by lawyers and other aggrieved Indian parties… 24/7.

The companies are also being made to publish a compliance report each month with details about how many complaints they’ve received and the action they took.

They’ll also be required to remove ‘some’ types of content including “full or partial nudity,” any “sexual act” or “impersonations including morphed images”

The democratisation of the news model, with social media as its catalyst, will continue to baffle traditional media and governments who used to enjoy a level of control over what stories get told.

The battles of Google and Facebook, with the governments of India and Australia will be followed in plenty of other countries as well.

At the root of all discussions will be the difference between what governments THINK social media is all about and the reality about how quickly the media landscape has changed. You’ll get to read about it first, on a social media platform… probably on the screen you’re watching this news story right now.

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Turbulence ahead for Thailand’s aviation industry | VIDEO

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Turbulence ahead for Thailand’s aviation industry | VIDEO | The Thaiger

When the airlines, in particular, were asking the government to put their hands in their pockets for some relief funding in August last year, it was genuinely thought that international tourists would be coming back for the high season in December and January. At the very least local tourists and expats would head back to the skies over the traditional holiday break. And surely the Chinese would be back for Chinese New Year?

As we know now, none of that happened. A resurge in cases started just south of Bangkok on December 20 last year, just before Christmas, kicking off another round of restrictions, pretty much killing off any possibility of a high season ‘bump’ for the tourist industry. Airlines slashed flights from their schedule, and hotels, which had dusted off their reception desks for the surge of tourists, shut their doors again.

Domestically, the hotel business saw 6 million room nights in the government’s latest stimulus campaign fully redeemed. But the air ticket quota of 2 million seats still has over 1.3 million seats unused. Local tourists mostly skipped flights and opted for destinations within driving distance of their homes.

As for international tourism… well that still seems months or years away, even now.

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