MOST weeks, it is my job to analyse the news. However, with the astonishing events in Cyprus threatening to bring down the European single currency and decimate the EU banking industry, I believe it is occasionally more useful to simply reflect the tumult abroad.
So here, re-printed with kind permission of the Nicosia Visiter, is this week’s edition of Ask Nico! , a popular financial advice column for local folk on the sunshine island.
MY savings are currently held in just one account. Can you recommend a safe way of spreading them more evenly?
Nico says: It is wise to tie up the bulk of your cash in a low-risk, long-term facility where you will not be tempted to dip into it. However, in case of emergencies, keep around 20% of it in a higher-risk portfolio with immediate access. In other words, bury most of it in your garden but keep some in a few coffee jars on the kitchen shelf.
I HAVE a small nest-egg in the form of a savings account with the Bank of Cyprus. What do you recommend I do with it?
Nico says: If possible, try to swap your savings for an actual nest egg, which you can then eat. Or, for a longer term investment, you could wait for the egg to hatch and grow into a bird. Which you can then eat.
BEFORE this crisis, I was thinking of using some of my savings to upgrade my property. Will that still be possible?
Nico says: Of course it will! Wads of Cypriot Euros can make excellent insulation when stuffed inside cavity walls.
SINCE this crisis broke I have had difficulty sleeping at night.
Any words of wisdom?
Nico says: Yes. You must ensure that you spread your savings evenly beneath the mattress, to avoid uncomfortable lumps.
LIKE other British people based in Cyprus, I am desperately concerned about the likelihood of a so-called run on the banks. Will there be adequate toilet facilities, for example? Because my husband cannot hold it in all night, not with his prostate. And what about proper queueing? Should we maintain British standards and risk being shunted to the back by impolite foreigners (no offence) or should we lower ourselves to your animal-like behaviour (again, no offence)?
Nico says: When in Rome, do as Romans do! (Although the Italians are not due their run on the bank until the autumn).
AS A British retiree on Cyprus, I have withdrawn my savings and plan to transfer them into those low-yield domestic bonds you outlined last week. However, having visited the supermarket in search of biscuit tins, I found that they only sell foreign brands. Do you know anywhere that sells a nice Family Circle or similar?
Nico says: Cypriot biscuits are the best in the world. Try them! You’ll never eat a custard cream again – and not just because you can’t afford to buy any. Opa!