Your Money Matters
Nicola Horlick

Your Money Matters


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Another book on money, and saving up? Why? The answer is simple: I just couldn’t help myself - even though that’s precisely what we’re all supposed to do nowadays.

The overarching objective of this book is to explain financial matters clearly and simply, to demystify what some people call ‘the world of finance’. The world of finance is part of everyone’s world – yours and ours. Making an effort to understand it is the first step towards taking responsibility for your own finances.

It’s time for us all to help ourselves.

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The epithet ‘self-help’ is a redundancy in modern times. We’re now living in an era where self-help is the only kind of help there is. There’s a connective thread that underpins the fashionable buzz words of today – Big Society, credit unions, micro-finance, community schools and academies. The basic idea is that we’ve all got to take responsibility and manage our own lives.

Nowhere is this more the case than in the management of our financial affairs. Successive governments of all political hues have demonstrated time after time that they want us to take on the responsibility for our own financial wellbeing. Once upon a time, the state, through the form of a powerful bureaucracy, wanted to take control of our lives from cradle to grave. Now, politicians across the spectrum are saying that government either can’t pay, or won’t pay – or possibly both.

So the objective is clear. But the policy – the practical means of achieving an objective – is a different matter.

The policy ought to be to provide us all with the means to help ourselves, but the results so far have been disappointing. What’s needed is clear, simple, accurate and readily available information to enable us to make well-informed decisions.

Progress towards this end has been dismal: we’ve been told we’re on our own, and then waved away, with instructions to head in the vague direction of self-determination. Various administrations have provided a website or two, and equivocated over the old-fashioned medium of providing a human being to offer advice and information. The story of the funding of the Citizens’ Advice Bureau is not an inspiring one.  Information, or what purports to be information, is everywhere. But reliable advice, informed analysis of that information is difficult to find.

Proposed changes to the way advice on money matters is given mean that, while advice will still be available, fewer people will be on hand to offer it. Many people don’t want to pay for financial advice in the same way we pay for legal or (sometimes) medical advice. The preferred option – and the only practical way forward - is to help ourselves. To do that, we need the facts, and the basic arguments surrounding those facts.

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