Friday December 20, 2013

Go on – admit it: the very word gets you worried and sends your blood pressure soaring.

And – true confession time – the most recent occasion I became suicidal (hey – 8 years ago and only for half an hour) it was over my overdraft.

Thinking back – it wasn't even a particularly large overdraft – but I had totally lost my sense of proportion and judgement.

We can't run away from responsibility about money. What we can do though is change our judgements about it. There is no shame in poverty. There is no shame in wealth. There are just our opinions about it.

Depression is no respecter of wealth, social position, intelligence or employment status. What it does do, is aim unerringly at vulnerability. It's not a co-incidence that children from the poorest of families in our society suffer the highest rates of depression and mental illness, but the second highest rates are suffered by the children of affluent families where expectations are unrealistically high.

So let's take away our judgements about right and wrong when it comes to money. Let's be responsible, by all means, but whether we own our money or rent it (paying interest), it's still just bits of paper or numbers on a computer screen.

There are things we can afford, and things we can't afford. There are frugalities that are almost pleasures and those that stick like bitter aspirin in the gullet. There are things we choose not to have even though we could afford them if we wanted to. There are many things I can't afford to give my children, but at the risk of sounding trite, I can give them values even if I can't give them valuables.

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