Monday, April 12, 2010

Money matters

All my working life I've lived in houses owned and maintained by the Church. We've managed to bring up three children and succeeded in living decently within our means. So having a visit from a Financial Advisor is a something of a novelty. I had a 'Fiduciare' in Switzerland whom I paid a few hundred Francs to fill in my tax forms, as these are notoriously complex and difficult. Even if you get by speaking French in everyday living, the local, cantonal and federal terminology of taxation merits getting someone else to take the strain on your behalf. UK on-line tax filing is a doddle after all that - and free.

Anyway, the Financial Advisor came because the bank noticed I had some savings needing to be re-invested, and I realised that there'd soon be a pension lump sum to consider as well. In fact the notice from the CofE pension fund came through the door in the morning's mail, not long before the man himself arrived. I've been out window shopping to find out more about 'financial products' as they now seem to be called, and become more and more bewildered by what it's possible to do. So it was good to sit and discuss with someone who wasn't pushy and who could get me to think about myself and my attitude to money.

Cautious, risk averse, that's me. If you've got enough to live off in your regular pension income, then the rest is rainy day stuff like insurance, in my book. OK then, call me mean. Life is a lot more enjoyable the simpler it is, the fewer options you have, the clearer the options. Honestly, even thinking about managing savings makes me nervous, because of the options.

I'm thankful that the credit crunch has delivered us from assault by tempting credit card offers of late. Mind you, I still haven't got over my moral indignation at the strapline 'Access takes the waiting out of wanting', ad that must have been all of thirty five years ago. These days, we may be less amenable to borrowing than we were, but I'm not quite convinced that there are really enough decent incentives to save. It's a habit we may need to re-learn. And I have to do some more thinking about the place of money in my life, in a way quite differently from those years of providing for a family.

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