Sam Dunn: It's common sense at last, but out of the mouths of babes

The 'yoof of today' are more grounded than we think, and maybe they'll sound the death knell of our spend, spend, spend culture

"Look, bro, it doesn't work like that - you won't always make a load [of money] and, if you mess up, you can lose it all easy," says the first boy, referring to stock markets.

"I reckon I'll get a house, though," his pal retorts, "when I'm in a job... and make money on that instead. Yeah, get a box place but do it up nice and move on to something bigger. The girls'll love that."

It was too much to ask for them to include pensions - and - at that tender age, probably a good thing for their health.

But if this banter between a couple of teenagers overheard in a tatty part of north London recently is anything to go by, the financial future of this country might not be as gloomy as predicted.

Clarion calls for Britons to save more, invest more, curb excessive spending, avoid racking up heavy debts and generally look after their personal finances are 10-a-penny these days.

Concerned at a populace in hock to credit and mortgaged up to the eyeballs while failing to save for retirement, politicians and business leaders are desperate to get the message for prudence out there.

So the confidence and knowledge of the two boys was illuminating: no financially illiterate "yoof" here. Clearly the message is getting through at one level, and, arguably, it's the most important level of all.

If such an attitude can carry on through their late teens, into their twenties and onwards, then there's definitely hope for a less credit-dependent nation.

Of course, much lies in their way - it's all very well being clued up when you're young and have little money to fritter away. It'll be a different story with a monthly salary coming inand banks and retailers desperate to push credit card and loan deals under their noses.

My biggest worry for them is today's spending culture - fuelled chiefly by a surging materialism and historically cheap credit - that often threatens to drown out everything else.

In a speech on the importance of long-term saving last week, Stephen Haddrill, director general of the Association of British Insurers, drilled it home. "We must attack the spending culture - as long as the word on the streets is that it doesn't pay to save, people will do other things with their money."

It's hard to disagree and such a sentiment is worth spreading.

But not every messenger gets it right. Last week also saw another crucial effort to drive home the importance of kicking the spending habit, but its impact was deadened by a crass and thoughtless approach.

David Cameron's Conservative Party is the culprit, its blunt tool a debt website called This sounds harmless enough but log on and consumers are offered three startling options: "Take the tosser test", "see the tosser inside", or - intriguingly - "look what my tosser did".

Click through a few pages and it becomes clear that the "tosser" in question is the impulse to overspend on credit cards. The site is actually helpful and offers some basic debt advice. But aside from possible revulsion at the vulgarity, website users might also genuinely take umbrage at the implied tone: that being in debt is idiotic.

It may well be for some credit-card junkies but there are millions of others for whom debt is a lifeline, a lifesaver and a vital tool that can be ably managed to keep personal finances in order.

A Tory spokeswoman says: "Not in a million years [are we] saying [consumers] shouldn't do their best for their families. But we are saying that there's a big problem out there." She is right on the latter point but such a mixed message on debt helps nobody.

The clumsy execution of a decent website undid good work earlier in the week when the party called for school pupils to learn how to tackle personal finances.

Maybe the politicians themselves could take a lesson or two.

Independent Partners; request a free guide on NISAs from Hargreaves Lansdown

Arts and Entertainment
musicBand's first new record for 20 years has some tough acts to follow
peopleAt least it's for a worthwhile cause
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
voicesMaybe the new app will make it more normal to reach out to strangers
Liam Payne has attacked the media for reporting his tweet of support to Willie Robertson and the subsequent backlash from fans
peopleBut One Direction star insists he is not homophobic
Life and Style
healthFor Pure-O OCD sufferers this is a reality they live in
Life and Style
Sexual health charities have campaigned for the kits to be regulated
healthAmerican woman who did tells parents there is 'nothing to be afraid of'
Finacial products from our partners
Property search
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Money & Business

    Trainee / Experienced Recruitment Consultants

    £20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40,000: SThree: SThree are a global FTSE 250 ...

    Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Soho

    £20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40000: SThree: As a Recruitment Consultant, y...

    Trainee Recruitment Consultants - Banking & Finance

    £20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40,000: SThree: SThree Group have been well e...

    Quantitative Risk Manager

    Up to £80000: Saxton Leigh: My client, a large commodities broker, is looking ...

    Day In a Page

    A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

    Not That Kind of Girl:

    A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
    London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

    London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

    In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
    Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

    Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

    Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
    Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

    Model mother

    Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
    Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

    Apple still the coolest brand

    Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
    Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

    Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

    Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
    Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

    Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

    The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
    The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

    Scrambled eggs and LSD

    Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
    'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

    'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

    Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
    Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

    New leading ladies of dance fight back

    How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
    Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

    A shot in the dark

    Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
    His life, the universe and everything

    His life, the universe and everything

    New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
    Reach for the skies

    Reach for the skies

    From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
    These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

    12 best hotel spas in the UK

    Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments