Simon Read: Making hundreds of pounds in a couple of hours is child's play


I appeared on BBC1's consumer programme Watchdog last week talking about outrageously high admin charges on insurance policies and others.

My appearance generated a lot of feedback on Twitter (@simonnread) from people hit by charges of £50 upwards just for changing a name or address on their policies.

But the most telling feedback came from my nine-year-old son Freddie. After viewing my brief appearance, he said: "Don't take this the wrong way, dad, but that was a bit boring."

Sometimes children have the greatest insight. But when it comes to money they have no real interest or knowledge. That was brought home to me by some research from Legal & General this week.

The insurer asked a panel of 200 six-year-olds a series of questions about money matters. The answers were not terribly surprising. Apparently, they expect to be able to pay £10,000 for their first house and plan to own their first car by the age of 12.

What about pay? The average six-year-old expects to earn a whopping £100 when they grow up – that's a year's salary, mind!

Their confusion about finances is understandable. But the problem is that for many people the confusion and boredom with finances continues right through to later life. And anyone who doesn't pay attention to money matters runs the risk of making a lot of expensive mistakes.

Yes, thinking about finance can be boring. But get them under control and they can help give you choices in life.

As a simple rule of thumb, I reckon that an hour or two spent checking your savings, debt, investments, pension (or even your regular bills such as energy and telecoms) could make you hundreds of pounds better off. In short, a bit of budgeting could free you up for the things you really want to do in life.

That's not something that children should worry about now, of course, but it is something they should start to learn. However, in my experience, educating the parents – and grandparents – is the first priority.

There were cheering bankruptcy figures published yesterday which showed a 4.7 per cent drop in personal insolvencies during the first three months of the year, compared to 2011.

But analysis of the official figures by Experian suggests that – while poorer people make up the bulk of those going bust – the number of wealthy, rural dwellers and pensioners turning to bankruptcy is actually increasing.

That confirms fears that more middle-income families than ever are close to living on a financial knife-edge.

As the problem grows, so lenders must be more tolerant and understanding. Just because folks could afford a bigger mortgage, doesn't mean they won't experience financial difficulties.

Independent Partners; Do you need financial advice on your investments, pension or insurance? Book a free consultation with an independent Financial Adviser at

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

    Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Advisor

    £15000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Advisors are r...

    SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

    £20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £45K: SThree: SThree were established in 1986....

    Recruitment Genius: Compliance Manager

    £40000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Compliance Manager is require...

    SThree: Talent Acquisition Consultant

    £22500 - £27000 per annum + OTE £45K: SThree: Since our inception in 1986, STh...

    Day In a Page

    John Palmer: 'Goldfinger' of British crime was murdered, say police

    Murder of the Brink’s-MAT mastermind

    'Goldfinger' of British crime's life ended in a blaze of bullets, say police
    Bodyworlds museum: Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy

    Dying dream of Doctor Death

    Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy
    UK heatwave: Temperature reaches 39.8 degrees on Central Line - the sweatiest place in London

    39.8 degrees recorded on Tube

    There's hot (London) and too damn hot (the Underground). Simon Usborne braved the Central line to discover what its passengers suffer
    Jessie Cave interview: The Harry Potter star has published a feminist collection of cartoons

    Jessie Cave's feminist cartoons

    The Harry Potter star tells Alice Jones how a one-night stand changed her life
    10 best barbecue books

    Fire up the barbie: 10 best barbecue books

    We've got Bibles to get you grilling and smoking like a true south American pro
    Seifeddine Rezgui: What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?

    Making of a killer

    What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?
    UK Heatwave: Temperatures on the tube are going to exceed the legal limit for transporting cattle

    Just when you thought your commute couldn't get any worse...

    Heatwave will see temperatures on the Tube exceed legal limit for transporting cattle
    Exclusive - The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Swapping Bucharest for London

    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

    Meet the man who swapped Romania for the UK in a bid to provide for his family, only to discover that the home he left behind wasn't quite what it seemed
    Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

    Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

    Solar power will help bring down electricity prices over the next five years, according to a new report. But it’s cheap imports of ‘dirty power’ that will lower them the most
    Katy Perry prevented from buying California convent for $14.5m after nuns sell to local businesswoman instead

    No grace of God for Katy Perry as sisters act to stop her buying convent

    Archdiocese sues nuns who turned down star’s $14.5m because they don’t approve of her
    Ajmer: The ancient Indian metropolis chosen to be a 'smart city' where residents would just be happy to have power and running water

    Residents just want water and power in a city chosen to be a ‘smart’ metropolis

    The Indian Government has launched an ambitious plan to transform 100 of its crumbling cities
    Michael Fassbender in 'Macbeth': The Scottish play on film, from Welles to Cheggers

    Something wicked?

    Films of Macbeth don’t always end well - just ask Orson Welles... and Keith Chegwin
    10 best sun creams for body

    10 best sun creams for body

    Make sure you’re protected from head to toe in the heatwave
    Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Milos Raonic has ability to get to the top but he must learn to handle pressure in big games

    Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon files

    Milos Raonic has ability to get to the top but he must learn to handle pressure in big games
    Women's World Cup 2015: How England's semi-final success could do wonders for both sexes

    There is more than a shiny trophy to be won by England’s World Cup women

    The success of the decidedly non-famous females wearing the Three Lions could do wonders for a ‘man’s game’ riddled with cynicism and greed