A selection of Marina's published articles

These articles have been published in the Economist, Standpoint Magazine, Financial Times, MoneyWeek, the Times Literary Supplement, New York Observer and more

Money Observer: Hands Off My Cappuccino

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A certain piece of advice has been circulating in personal finance discussions like a pesky fly. Now that it has landed on Tube posters, it is safe to call it an urban legend.

The advice goes: ‘Cut out your daily cappuccino and invest that £3.50 saving in the stock market instead. With an annual growth rate of 6 per cent over 30 years, you’ll have a million pounds by the time you retire.’

First of all, I have yet to find a cappuccino that costs £3.50. Second, 6 per cent returns are not easy to find in the current financial climate, even if a 30-year timescale smooths that out.

Third, even if both numbers were correct, the spurned cappuccinos would save thousands of pounds but nowhere near millions. And fourth, while I’m happy to save and invest money, I take issue with the target of this campaign – the cappuccino.

Nobody says skip your pint after work, but coffee has become a pariah. Well, I still buy into the romantic notion of cafés as spaces in which people meet to exchange ideas.

Cafés were historically places where newspapers were read out loud in the 18th century, and where writers and artists met between the wars.

There’s less romance to take-away coffee, I admit. But it still beats the office brew, which tastes of soap more often than not. I would rather spend the next 30 years enjoying an occasional caffeine kick and save money elsewhere.

I could switch to a cheaper gym, say no to starters, change my energy provider and hang on to my old phone. I could choose wine over the cocktail with a hint of absinthe, and save myself the headache. The stock market will happily accept my savings, no matter where they come from.

This article was originally published as part of my Marina’s Imaginary Millions column in Money Observer: http://www.moneyobserver.com/opinion/can-cutting-your-cappuccino-intake-make-you-millionaire

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This entry was posted on January 22, 2016 by in Finance, Marina's Imaginary Millions.

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In a crowded London shop
An open book and empty cup 

On the marble table-top.
While on the shop and street I gazed

My body of a sudden blazed;
And twenty minutes more or less It seemed, so great my happiness,

That I was blessed and could bless.

- Yeats

Always to shine,
to shine everywhere,
to the very deeps of the last days,
to shine—
and to hell with everything else!
That is my motto—
and the sun’s!

- Mayakovsky

Can it pull extraordinary faces?
Is it usually sick on a swing?
Does it spend all its time at the races,
or fiddling with pieces of string?
Has it views of its own about money?
Does it think patriotism enough?
Are its stories vulgar but funny?
O tell me the truth about love.

- WH Auden

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