The older I get, the less I understand the economy

Struggling to explain the idea of saving to his son, Will Gore finds no answers in last week’s Budget

Saturday 18 March 2023 22:24 GMT
Don’t bank on it: there’s little optimism for the savers of tomorrow
Don’t bank on it: there’s little optimism for the savers of tomorrow (Getty/iStock)

The only reason my son doesn’t find money burning a hole in his pocket is that he’s usually spent the dosh before actually being given it. On a Saturday morning, he can’t resist the tantalising, automated door of WH Smith, which opens as we pass, welcoming him in and practically nudging him to the football cards behind the counter.

“I want a packet of Match Attax,” he’ll say determinedly. “I can pay for it with this week’s pocket money, and I’ll owe you next week’s.” Sometimes I’ll refuse, unwilling to offer credit to a seven-year-old. “Don’t worry Dad,” he’ll reassure me. “I’m pretty sure I’ve got nearly a pound in my money box.” The cards will, I know, be likely to disappoint – and the exercise will be repeated a week or two hence. But I hope that somehow the regular exchange of my hard-earned cash for a packet of mostly “swaps” is teaching him a valuable life lesson. Or not valuable, as it were.

When I was about my son’s age, my grandparents presented me with a commemorative two-pound coin. I guess it must have been one of those struck to mark the 1986 Commonwealth Games, and of course, I was thrilled. Not because it was a rare and unusual thing; but because someone had given me a couple of quid. I spent it within a month, much to my grandparents’ horror.

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