Learning the true value of money is important for everyone

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From: Jennifer Hunter, Queens Road, Knaresborough.

I APPLAUD Jayne’s Dowle’s balanced approach in her article (Yorkshire Post, March 18) regarding younger people’s experiences with finances.

I am not a parent, but I do believe that today’s parents have a very difficult task when they are called upon to explain financial matters to their offspring. Prices of items fluctuate and differ considerably, and it can be extremely difficult to assess what will be one’s own shopping expenditure from one week to the next.

I was, however, brought up by older parents who had lived through the Second World War and post-war years and they instilled me with certain maxims. First of all, I was taught that it was better to be neither a lender nor a borrower. During my younger days, however, I am ashamed to admit that my expenditure did exceed my income on occasions, but I carefully concealed that fact from my parents.

As I have grown older I have, indeed, become more prudent and now I am able to thank my parents for their words of wisdom.

Another way of learning how to appreciate money was demonstrated by my father when I was 14-years-old. My father presented me with a Parker ink pen with a gold nib.

I fell in love with that pen immediately, but my father told me I could only keep it if I gave him three weeks’ pocket money. In those days, that amount of money was rather a lot to me, but I assented and allowed him to take my pocket money and, thereafter, he presented me with the pen. I still have this pen in a pen-holder on my writing desk today and it is of great sentimental value to me as I remember writing my university examination papers with it.

My father basically taught me that I should do without certain luxuries in order to appreciate something worth having and keeping.

My mother was the person who influenced me the most regarding financial matters. When I was still at junior school, every Friday my mother used to give me a five pound note.

This was a considerable amount of money for me to be entrusted with during the early 1970s and I folded it up neatly and placed in my inner blazer pocket.

After school, I used to stride purposefully up Queen Street in Morley, buy meat products from two butchers’ shops, visit the health store in Morley Market to purchase wholemeal bread and I concluded my mission at the farm stores opposite Morley Park.

My mother used to meet me outside the library and I was expected to present her with the shopping, change and recount how much every item had cost. She trained me well and today I always do mental arithmetic when I am at a supermarket check-out in order to assess my outgoings and the amount of money which should be handed over to the cashier.

Sadly, today, it seems to be the case that young people feel pressured to wear and own certain items which cost a lot of money.

My generation experienced the same pressure to a certain extent, but many of us had parents or older relatives who had lived through austerity and the period of rationing did not end until 1954.

This affected people greatly and often people became obsessed with leading a spartan lifestyle.

However, some of the old values regarding expenditure are extremely sensible and are as applicable today as they were many years ago.

These values should apply not only to young people and their parents, but also to those people who deal with finances and administer them at a much higher level.