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Positive Downsizing

Home brewing equipment can take up a lot of space. Not much good when you live in a tiny flat or apartment. It was this fact that led New York based, The Brooklyn Brewery Shop to develop a range of miniature brewing kits which fit the needs of it’s mainly apartment-based client base.

I’m not suggesting you copy the idea, but rather, that you consider the thinking behind it. Is there some way you could provide a smaller version of your product (or even someone else’s product) which would open it up to a whole new market of space-challenged consumers? It’s this sort of thinking that probably led to the development of  Endless Pools, in which you swim against a current and don’t actually travel anywhere. There have to be scores of other products which would benefit from a bit of positive downsizing.

Where is Your Pension

The government’s free pension tracing service, set up in 2005, has so far helped 350,000 people discover if they are eligible for a workplace pension from previous employers. The average lump sum payout has been £1,900.   

According to the service, 68 per cent of those who applied lost track of their pensions because they moved to a new employer and then forgot about the small pensions they left behind.
 
Pensions minister Steve Webb says, "If you think you may have had a pension in a previous job or you once paid into a personal scheme that you had forgotten about, the pension tracing service may be able to help you to recover the money you invested." Go to http://www.direct.gov.uk and enter ‘pension tracing service’ to find out more.

"How 'Sam The Shovel' Got Stinking Rich!"

On 24th January 1848 James William Marshall stooped down into the American River at Coloma, California and picked up a shiny object which was to transform thousands of lives for ever.

Marshall, along with a group of 20 men, had been sent to the river to build a sawmill for John Sutter, a wealthy landowner. It was as the project neared completion that Marshall made his discovery...

It turned out to be Gold!

Both Marshall and Sutter tried to keep the discovery under wraps, because they knew that an influx of prospectors into the area would scupper their respective plans for completing the sawmill and developing the area agriculturally.

Not much chance of that with Sam Brannan around!

Brannan, a local store owner, never bothered to search for gold. He had a better plan! When he heard of the discovery, he ran through the streets of San Fransisco shouting about it to anyone who would listen. In his hand was a bottle full of gold dust, by way of proof.

Strange behaviour, you might think...

But not for a man who had bought up every shovel, pick, axe, pan and every other piece of mining equipment in the area first!

Prices went through the roof. Items which Brannan had obtained for 20 cents were now being snapped up by the thousands clamouring to stake their claim for $15. Sales rocketed to $150,000 a month (we’re talking about the 1840’s remember) and by 1856 Brannan was earning a reputed $500,000 a year, and was said to own almost a quarter of San Fransisco. He was California’s first millionaire.

Thousands of people descended on California during the 1840’s and 1850’s, desperate to make their fortune from gold. Most made nothing... But the shovel sellers got very rich indeed.

And here’s the interesting thing - 162 years later, it’s still the shovel sellers who make the money.

Gold Share Tip

Lots of people are looking to increase their exposure to gold and shares are one albeit rather speculative way of doing this. Accordingly, Tom Winnifrith is on the lookout for best-buy recommendations. First up is Conroy Diamonds and Gold which has just seen some impressive drilling results and is a speculative buy at 10.625p with a 16.3p target price.
 
In brief, Conroy Diamonds and Gold has run a drilling programme at their Clay Lake Gold Target where each of the seven holes drilled so far hit gold mineralisation.
 
“This just seems another step towards Conroy beginning to prove that what it has uncovered could well be a major new gold mining district which should really attract the attention of the majors.” If – if – that’s the case, this could be a big winner.

Debt Collection Scam

More than 5,000 people have been receiving letters lately from debt collection agencies about defaulted loans with a company called MCO Capital, reports This Is Money. But these people never took out these loans!
 
The government’s Action Fraud Agency says that these people can contact them on 0300 123 2040 for advice. It adds that it’s a good idea for everyone to check with credit reference agencies to see if fraudulent loan applications have been taken out in their names.
 
There are three main ones – Call Credit, Equifax and Experian. Just put www. in front and .co.uk after and you can find out all you need to know about checking your files. By the by, MCO Capital says, 'Anyone who has been a victim of fraud should write to us confirming they did not take out the loan. We will then write off the debt.'


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