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Finnish Fitness

Exercising  in isolation can be both difficult and boring, and it’s hard to get motivated. Finnish company Heiaheia have a possible solution. It’s a website which combines social networking with exercise logging.  Users visit the site, and log all exercise activity. The site doesn’t focus on any one activity or sport, working on the philosophy that all activity counts.  It’s then possible to view other site members activity and make positive comments where appropriate. The idea is that all site members help each other by providing third party feedback, support and motivation.

A few thoughts/questions that spring from this:

  1. Could you create something similar for a specific sport or activity that isn’t currently catered for?
  2. Is there some non sporting/non physical activity in which participants might benefit from this kind of group support and motivation?
  3. It seems that people love to log/record their activity. Is there some interesting aspect of daily life which hasn’t been provided with an online recording vehicle yet?
  4. Weight loss/fitness is massive business. What other motivational online service might people appreciate and benefit from?

Gold - Where Next?

Catching up on my weekend press reading, I see the Telegraph looks at what's been happening to gold this year - up! - and where it will go next. The newspaper quotes Michael Widmer, an analyst at Bank of America Merrill Lynch who has been covering the gold market for a decade.       
"You've got such a bullish environment right now. Next year, we're good for the gold price." He expects gold to reach $1,500 an ounce. Other predictions? Société Générale predict $1,485 an ounce. Goldman Sachs is suggesting the upside will reach $1,750 an ounce in 2012. 


Mortgage Fees Reminder

New figures from Moneyfacts reveal that the average mortgage arrangement fee is almost £900, but some are much higher. As a rule of thumb, the lower the headline mortgage rate, the higher the arrangement fee as lenders tend to claw back with one hand what they give with the other. 
Of course, many lenders don't mention the arrangement fee as much as they should do but you need to take it into account, comparing mortgages on the basis of what you'd pay out in total over the lifetime of the mortgage. So, if you expect to remortgage in say three years, you need to add up the total mortgage payments plus any extra costs, such as arrangement fees, over the three years.

Annuities - What Next?

According to Hargreaves Lansdown, the independent financial advisers, their annuity index shows annuity levels are rising. They give the example of a 65-year-old man with £100,000 pension savings who can now buy a level annuity of £6,428 compared with £6,291 in October.
But experts say it's a blip. Annuity rates are already some 15 to 20 per cent lower than they were in 2008.This upward movement is being attributed to slightly increased yields from bonds and gilts which are popular investments for insurers. Long-term, the trend will continue downards due to a variety of factors, not least longer life expectancy.
Is there a window of opportunity now though?  Ros Altmann, Director general of Saga, the financial service provider for the over-50s, says, “The rises are just a blip. They might rise a little further over the next few months but beyond that I think the outlook is for continued falls.” As ever, this is a specialist matter and you need to take professional advice appropriate to your circumstances..