Poetry in the Modern World

In the hearts of those who love poetry you can find quotes from great poets throughout history. There was a time the only place for poet lovers to converge were in coffee shops and one mic nights in dark quiet cafes. How do we share our poetry in the world today? There is a great world of poetry to be found in the social reaches of the internet. Search online and you will find there is a market for everything and each market is thriving in its own way. These markets pertain to poetry, a market that can be under represented in other places.

On the New York Times Best Seller list we find fiction and nonfiction books categorized in what feels like endless possibilities. However, the poetry best seller list is hard to find. One thing we can see is that not many poetry books, written by new authors, are purchased as much as other fiction in America. The question then becomes how do we know that people love poetry? That is where those social corners of the internet come in handy. There will always be exceptions in becoming a best-selling poet, but most people have found that releasing their poetry in the form of blogs is the best outlet. There are scores of writers who meet together online and share their craft. This free market of poetry has allowed not only poets, but those who love to read poetry to find a community. There are different communities that offer different things to the world of poetry. There are sites that share others poetry, organize poetry communities, and some personal blogs. There are even sites that can tell you the best poetry sites to discover.

Since we poets no longer stand in taverns sharing epic news stories in the form of poetry. We go online and lay it out for the world to see and to do with as they please. Often poets do this with little or no recognition, praise or compensation. The brave will create blogs that put their hearts out on their sleeves and self-publish wonderful works of art. The blog has become in its own way a book publication for many. Why not start your own blog today? I have found I have no reason to wait any longer.

To get started try these three steps:

1. Pick a blog site that will represent you.

There are many sites that you can start with today. Each will be different based on your level of skill Don’t worry if you aren’t an expert coder or internet guru.

2. Choose a theme.

Is your poetry all about love? Choose images and a name that reflect that. Even if your poetry has many different themes find a way to express that in the blog title.

3. Put your poetry out there.

Don’t worry if its perfect get the poem out there. Once the first poem is shared then the next will be easier. You’ll find yourself turning your blog into a book in no time.

Predictions for the Financial Advice Sector in the UK

It was late November, dark and the eighties. I knocked on the door and was immediately welcomed in, offered a cup of tea and sat on the sofa. I’d never met them before, although they were expecting me and I wore a suit. And that night they were happy to sign up a Standing Order for £120 a month for the next 25 years.

As a financial adviser at the famous Prudential Insurance Company, I advised and sold hundreds of financial products to a myriad of customers, both rich and poor and my company serviced the vast majority of the UK’s population without asking for a penny in return. We ran a commission based business with the provider paying this. All over the UK similar sales people were operating in the same model and UK consumers never lacked access to quality advice.

Naturally some of this advice was rather dubious, we know this and our regulators have slowly fixed this in a very painful but needed manner, a little bit like removing infected teeth. Witness T&C, pension scandals, PPI mis-selling, FOS.

The last wave of the flag was witnessed with the eradication of commission on wealth and pension advice which came about in 2013. The regulator’s argument was that commission drove mis-selling and that accepting a fee only for the actual time spent with the adviser would produce totally impartial advice.

It did. It also reduced the number of advisers, both independent and restricted, to just over 25,600 and drove these advisers to service only the wealthiest customers who both value advice and could afford it. The rest of the population was left to wither on the vine.

Thankfully our regulators have instigated some changes called the Financial Advice Market Report or FAMR which has pretty much concluded what I said in the paragraph just before this one. But progress is being made, particularly in encouraging robo advice models and removing the litigation hurdle many firms use to avoid dealing with the mass markets.

Add this to the apprenticeship levy on firms which will encourage training of new advisers, and I do believe we’re on the right roadmap. So here’s my predictions on how it’ll all look in 2020.

Low cost – low touch advice

Robo advice will become ubiquitous. Generation Y and older Zs, who have money to invest, will go online and enrol in advice systems that are controlled by computer algorithms. The algos will create an investment strategy based around risk issues and other needs. Investing will be mostly in passive funds – funds tracking indexes, exchange traded funds and other software based funds requiring no humans apart from coders.

Remember Gen Ys trust computers more than humans. At the dinner table last Sunday my son asked me when the Beatles released Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. I said 1966, he immediately checked his phone and Google said 1967, Guess who he believed? And rightly so.

They will access their funds’ performance online, pay very low annual fees, a fraction of that charged by active fund managers. The Gen Ys won’t want to see an adviser unless they are willing to, and they value personal service.

For those wanting the human touch, or those who are willing to pay a little more for their advice, the paraplanner model will work well. An online meeting with a suitably qualified individual starts the process. The video meeting or virtual reality equipment will simulate the face to face meeting as well as technology will allow. The adviser would be less expensive, a paraplanner, a new adviser with less experience, maybe someone training. The key here is that they are cheaper than a fully qualified adviser. They would carry out the factfind and engage with the customer. Specific and soft needs would develop in a similar manner to a factfind carried out by a fully qualified adviser.

The planner would then transfer the results into a robo system which would then create the advice. The advice would then be delivered to the customer. An alternative model would involve the advice being vetted by a qualified adviser, and then it would be delivered.

Regular reviews would occur automatically using the same process and the qualified adviser would only be involved as and when needed.

High cost – high touch

Available to those who are willing to pay fees in a similar manner to legal and accountancy advice. Ostensibly the same model as we’ve seen before; a series of face to face or virtual reality meetings would evolve into personalised advice being provided. The best advisers would still use robo systems to augment their advice, these systems would do much of the crunching and administration but they would still be involved in advising and vetting the results.

Increasingly fund management would be conducted using passive methods, i.e. no active fund managers, as robo systems and algo based programmes become more and more reliable and effective. Humans will be moved on from this role except for the high end hedge funds.

The end of the face to face advising era will soon become apparent as communication via virtual and augmented reality gradually replaces personal interactions. I’ll still appear in my customer’s front room and be able to build rapport and trust, but I won’t be able to drink a cup of tea provided by the customer, that might be around in 10 years further on.

A Peek Into 2030

2030, we’re talking about a completely different model for receiving financial advice. Here’s a peek.

The IFA that we know today will be doing another job. What kind of job we don’t know, since it hasn’t yet been created. She will be doing something mentally demanding that automated intelligent computer systems can’t yet do.

Financial advice of any sort will be recognised by your personal digital assistant. This is the conduit we will all use that accesses what we currently call “Big Data”; data held in the cloud that has been collected about you since the early part of the century. Your assistant, which we’ll call Lola, knows you and everything about you from the myriad of sensors that have been gaining data.

Government computer systems covering your education results, tax returns, the car you drive, your visits abroad. Retailer systems showing everything you’ve ever bought. Tesco showing everything you’ve ever eaten. Banks displaying all of your financial transactions since you were born. Bear in mind cash was abolished in 2020.

Your wearable technology screening every signal from your body – exercise routines, blood pressure, illnesses. Your car data showing every journey you’ve taken. Social media streams with enormous amounts of data on your life.

The list goes on. Lola knows everything about you and you rely on her as your life coach. So when you need financial advice, Lola has already picked this up and will offer it to you without you asking. She recognised the inheritance in your bank account and understands your risk attitude and your goals for the future, so she’ll link to some algorithms in the cloud and provide the advice automatically. It’ll just happen, you’ve allowed it.

She’ll know when you need a mortgage from your email and social media steams and will just find one that is suitable and arrange it. No humans, just algos.

Life insurance. There’ll be no such thing because Big Data will know from your genetics, wearables and DNA, how long you’re going to live for anyway, so accidental life assurance will be offered at individual rates direct from the cloud. Motor insurance? No need, you won’t be driving the car anymore and accidents stopped in 2022.

We’ll look back at the days of individual IFA practices in the High Street, bank branches, football pitch sized call centres and the Man from the Pru with a sense of nostalgia, as the replicator makes you a cup of tea.

Homeowners Not Behind in Mortgage Payments Have Few Legal Resources to Work With Lender

For homeowners who are not behind on their mortgage yet, but are worried about falling behind, it may seem that their bank is acting quite illogically. Most banks refuse to accept a short sale or modify the terms of a mortgage unless the owners are numerous months behind in payments. The homeowners come to the bank to ask for help to avoid foreclosure before it happens, but the bank says they can not offer any actual programs until there is a real danger of foreclosure. But by this time, the homeowners may not even qualify for a solution because they are too far behind.

Unfortunately, systemic stupidity and shortsightedness are not crimes in America (yet), so the banks are able to get away with this circular logic which pushes people into foreclosure in order to save their homes from foreclosure. In such cases, the owners of properties may feel like they have very few legal resources available to them. They are right to feel this way, as the courts can be very inhospitable to homeowners trying to work out a solution to foreclosure without actually being in default.

In essence, their legal resources probably involve very little more than negotiating with the lender to change the contract as written. But this brings into play the situation where the bank refuses to negotiate the mortgage there are no missed payments. Thus, homeowners who make payments on time are rewarded with no extra help when attempting to sell in a down market, while those who are unable to pay the mortgage are given numerous concessions which may lower the rate or allow them to sell for less than the total amount owed and help them stop foreclosure.

If the homeowners have any evidence the mortgage company has not been keeping up its end of the mortgage contract, they could sue the bank for defaulting on the contract and try to discharge the mortgage loan entirely. Obviously, banks and courts do not look too favorably on this, even if the bank has committed egregious acts of mortgage fraud or servicing fraud. If homeowners could prove that banks are criminal organizations and have their mortgages discharged, politicians and bureaucrats who receive much of their power from the banks would be quite threatened. So this legal resource is open in only a very small number of blatant cases or class action lawsuits.

The possibility of mortgage fraud may be present if the homeowners were given a really shoddy loan and not informed of various aspects that would cause penalties or higher payments. For example, many states still allow the bank to attach a prepayment penalty if the loan is paid off too quickly, and many homeowners are coming out and stating they were not aware of receiving adjustable rate mortgages until their payment doubled. If they signed a piece of paper disclosing these types of aspects but did not ever bother to read that piece of paper, though, they might be out of luck showing how they were tricked into a particular mortgage.

Otherwise, homeowners in these kinds of situations could use the legal resource of bankruptcy to stop foreclosure to establish a payment plan for the housing debt and unsecured credit lines, but that would not make sense since this article is about those who are not yet behind on the mortgage. Bankruptcy is a legal method for dealing with a mortgage loan and other creditors, but it would not be appropriate for people who are not behind, since judges are not currently able to lower the total amount owed to reflect the current market value of a house. There is some talk in Congress to change this and allow judges to adjust the total debt, but it is unlikely to result in any more than talk.

Unfortunately, getting a second home that is more affordable and letting the first one go into foreclosure might be the option that stubborn banks push homeowners to consider. Seems a bit ironic since the lender will be hurt much worse in this situation than the homeowners. But if the homeowners are not far enough behind on their mortgage to qualify for a solution, but will not be able to keep their home for much longer, and it is unlikely the bank has done anything legally wrong (and stupidity on the part of a bank is perfectly legal, or else we wouldn’t be able to have banks), homeowners have very few legal options to make the lender negotiate on a mortgage that is not in default.