Money management should be an essential part of our school curriculum. Thrust out into the world with its bewildering choices and endless opportunities, we need some preparation. Our first credit card is just a licence to spend, or the overdraft facility is regarded as our money. And for those who receive a student loan designed for a term, sometimes find themselves penniless after a fortnight.
Enjoying the fruits of credit is almost a birth-right – a coming of age experience that means we don’t have to wait for anything but can learn to play the system and like our peers, take our place in the adult world of big money, but maybe far fewer responsibilities.
Or maybe it’s not schools job – it’s a parental responsibility to teach through pocket money from a young age that choices have consequences and money can be a great servant but a beguiling master. Once it controls us rather than us controlling it, we can have a serious problem on our hands. We may wish we had been taught better or listened more attentively. But for those with children of their own, there is an opportunity to educate. Not to be killjoys but to impart valuable lessons on money matters – on budgeting, saving, the “do I really need this” mantra – maybe lessons that we have picked up along the way and wished we’d taken on board earlier. And having been there and done it (and got the metaphorical T-shirt) we may well be in a strong position to advise others who find themselves in financial difficulty. Not of course to imply that an IVA is the right answer for everyone – but our experience may well be a great source of help and inspiration for others.