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EDITOR’S BLOG: Show me your money, honey

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Written by:
07/03/2007

Amazing, isn’t it? We are (in the main) pretty sussed out, intelligent people who hold down jobs, pay mortgages and cut the existential mustard in most areas of our busy lives.

So what is it about money that causes us to glaze over and become the thickest plank in the timber yard when it comes to our personal finances?

What is so confusing about cash, so deep about dosh? Why does finance turn our minds to mush and allow people (like the banks) to extract the waste material from us in a way that would invite a biff on the nose if anyone else tried it?

For example, you will find exhortations all over this website urging you to compare credit cards, compare car insurance and get your saving and investment plans sorted out.

And do we do any of these things? Do we heck! It’s often said that more people get divorced than change their bank accounts – and for all I know it may be likelier that you will sign up for a manned mission to Mars than switch your mortgage.

I know that there is a popular perception that personal finance is a) difficult and b) boring. The last person you want to be stuck in the kitchen with at a party is the bloke who regales you stories of how he topped up and his pension and got the best ISA for his money, possibly by looking at a website like yourmoney.com.

And, come on, admit it – you’d be as embarrassed to be found out visiting a personal finance website as something fruity that comes from Sweden, for example. You visit personal finance websites in your spare time? You’re sad. Get a life, mate.

But you SHOULD be visiting them, especially this one. Reach inside your pocket or wallet or purse and have a look at the stuff inside. Bits of paper that people kill for and discs of metal we can swap for a pint of beer or a nice curry.

Your money IS important. Despite what Human Resources departments may tell you, it’s what the vast majority of us go to work for. Imagine your HR department emailing you today to say that there are no wages until October. Would you stay for the corporate loyalty, interdepartmental synergy or free biscuits? No way, Jose. You’d be off in search of another job before you’d finished reading the mail. Corporate loyalty doesn’t pay the mortgage at the end of the day.

And that’s the other Big Thing about money – it involves all of us every day. In the part of London where I work the homeless sleep in the shadow of some of the swankiest ’gentleman’s clubs’ in the country. And what links those poor dossers and the bumptious toffs? Money, of course. In the former case, its near total lack; in the latter, its overabundance. Funny, too, that in both cases much of it is spent on alcohol.

Most of us fall in between these two extremes, of course, but we all need money to keep ticking over, to pay for the essentials and fund the fun, to pay for the kids’ school fees and make possible that much-touted ‘holiday of a lifetime’.

So you need to make the most of your money – and that’s where yourmoney.com will help. Every week I will look at an area of finance and explain it simply but in depth.

I will tell you what a contract for difference is and how insurers set the premium on your cat’s cover, why the banks got away with financial murder for so long and how you can literally redress the balance now.

It’s your money: use it wisely.

Tagged:

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Debt

Pension

Spending

Financial fitness

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