Donald MacInnes: Being money-minded isn't child's play – well it wasn't for me
In The Red
Donald MacInnes writes Tales from the Water Cooler, which can be found every Saturday on page 2 of i. And, although a financial near-imbecile, he writes a weekly column in The Independent’s Money section, also on Saturdays. He writes regularly on a broad range of subjects in i’s Freeview section and occasionally fills in on Simon Kelner’s daily column when emotionally up to it. @DonaldAMacInnes
Saturday 26 May 2012
I suppose few of us are particularly financially organised when we are children, for the simple reason that there is no need for us to be a slave to interest rates while we still talk to our teddies. Especially if they answer us back. Actually, mine still do. Anyway, displaying early monetary acumen is not natural. If we were meant to be fiscally competent at an early age, Pampers would come in pinstripes.
Thankfully, I am better with money than I used to be. In truth, though, I could hardly be worse. For me, there was no tomorrow. What I had, I spent. What I owned, I consumed. I could never squirrel away anything. In fact, when my sister and I got our festive allocation of chocolate for Christmas, I would have inhaled all of my selection boxes by New Year's Day, whereas Audrey would still be shaving miniscule slivers off her giant Toblerone come Easter.
I wish I was kidding about this. When it came to money, I think it must have been transparently obvious to my mother quite early on that I wasn't headed for a career as an actuary. I can't put my finger on why this was the case. My first memory of being the (shortlived) custodian of a sizeable amount of money was in the lead-up to our annual summer holiday, invariably to a caravan park somewhere in a field in Cornwall or Northumberland. The night before we were due to leave, my mother would give my sister and I an envelope of cash, which was our spending money for our holiday.
My mother being a single parent, there was never huge amounts of cash floating around, so I would imagine the envelope contained something like £20, which was to last us for the week we were away. I recall during the car journey, I would check my pocket incessantly, feeling the rustle of the envelope and being comforted and slightly horrified by its pregnant spendability. When you are eight years old, £20 seems like all the riches of the Pharaohs. Well, it did back then. Nowadays kids probably get £20 every morning, just in case they need to buy some apps for their smartphone on the way to school.
Given my admitted profligacy, I suspect I would have spent all of my money by the first weekend, so would have to follow my sister around, begging and imploring for more. "Got any spare change?"I would drone, at which point I imagine my mother would have winced and offered up a prayer that I wouldn't spend my adult life repeating this to strangers next to cash machines.
Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes
Mark Dampier: A safe harbour if the market recovery has overreached itself
'Scrap the trap': calls for change grow as banks are told to play fair with loyal savers
Bargain Hunter: Eurostar offers child fares for £1 each way to Paris, Brussels and Lille
Relaxed pensions rules: Guide to what they mean to you
Moment of truth for payday lenders: Watchdog plans to curb cost of short-term loans
- 2 PornHub begs users to stop uploading video clips of Brazil getting beaten 7-1
- 3 Why I'm on the brink of burning my Israeli passport
- 4 L'Oreal cuts ties with Belgium supporter Axelle Despiegelaere after hunting trip photographs
- 5 The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week
Sustained immigration has not harmed Britons' employment, say government advisers
War is war: Why I stand with Israel
7/7 memorial defaced on anniversary of 2005 attacks with ‘Blair lied thousands died’ graffiti
Australia facing international condemnation after turning around Sri Lankans at sea
Even when it brutalises one of its own teenage citizens, America is helpless against Israel
Socialist Worker called to apologise over ‘vile’ article saying Eton schoolboy Horatio Chapple's death is ‘reason to save the polar bears’
iJobs Money & Business
£75000 - £85000 per annum + ex bens: Deerfoot IT Resources Limited: Biztalk Te...
£60000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Trade Desk Specialist (FIX, Linux, Windows...
£35000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Service Desk Analyst (Windows, Active Dire...
£40000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Network Engineer (CCNA, CCNP, Linux, OSPF,...
Day In a Page
A five-bedroom house in the picturesque village of Kettlewell, north Yorkshire
An 18th-century former coaching inn with original staircase, open fireplaces and beams throughout
A Grade II-listed Georgian town house with three bedrooms and a south-facing courtyard, near Arundel Castle
Feel on top of the world at this über chic penthouse on the 37th floor of one of Europe’s tallest blocks.
A Grade II-listed Victorian villa with six bedrooms and two further cottages, all with spectacular sea views
A grade II-listed, Georgian cottage with mature 50ft garden, perfect for summer entertaining
A magnificent Georgian pile with turrets, seven bedrooms, a heated pool and four acres of gardens
Fairoak Farm has five bedroom suites, gym, outdoor swimming pool and golf course
Chic two-bedroom river-fronted flat with a private lift that delivers you directly to your home
A spectacular seven-bedroom Tudor pile, once owned by Henry VIII, with 18 acres of land
A seven-bedroom Georgian property previously used as a picturesque wedding venue
A split-level flat in a church conversion with two en suite bedrooms and 1,200sq ft of living space
A three-bedroom bungalow situated behind an impressive stone wall, £645,000
Windsor Castle overlooks this three-bedroom Victorian cottage located on one of Windsor's smartest roads
Chapel House is a former vicarage with nine bedrooms in the beautiful Upper Wye Valley
A five-bedroom B&B and separate owner's accomodation with potential for conversion
Enjoy summer by the Thames in this two double-bedroom converted warehouse in Rotherhithe village
A one-bedroom, luxury apartment with private gym and concierge service in Moorgate
A four-bedroom house in Hermitage Gardens with three reception rooms and landscaped gardens
A seven-bedroom Grade II-listed property with a separate self-contained apartment
A five-bedroom Victorian house with three reception rooms and galleried landing, £695,000
A six-bedroom farmhouse with five acres of land in a former cloth-making village
A secluded seven-bedroom detached house with large private garden, £490,000
A three-bedroom cottage overlooking Sarratt village green with open fires and solid oak floors
A three-bedroom maisonette flat in a Grade I-listed, Georgian townhouse in a sought-after location
A one-bedroom apartment located within a private gated development, north of Turnham Green
Look forward to a brighter future at two-bedroom Sunny Cottages, ideal for Londoners looking to downsize
A three-bedroom red-brick cottage with outbuildings and pretty gardens, £200,000
This three-bedroom flat within a former textile factory spans the corner of the fourth floor and has a balcony
A charming four-bedroom Oxfordshire cottage with oak floors and chunky-beamed ceilings, £465,000
A beautiful one-bed flat in a sought-after portered block, with access to Norland Square communal gardens
A one-bedroom flat within a Sixties school conversion with high-spec design and open-plan kitchen, close to Lambeth North Tube, £435,000
A 17th century four-bedroom house, with open fireplaces, cellar and pool, £600,000
A three-bedroom, coach house with luxury open-plan living space and contemporary breakfast bar
A newly refurbished one-bedroom flat in the heart of Mayfair, close to Grosvenor Square