Mary Kenny: Our attitudes to money can be symbolic of much more than finances
A friend and I were playing the Victoria Beckham game of 'what I wish I'd known when I was 18'. Although it's a bit pointless - most of us would have made the same mistakes all over again - still, we agreed unanimously on this: the one thing we really, really wish we'd been properly taught about, was MONEY.
We went out into the world without the faintest idea of what it entailed. To this day, I am still vague on the difference between stocks and bonds; not sure whether an 'annuity' only applies to retirement, or whether anyone can have one; don't really know what 'mutual funds' are; couldn't really explain what a 'venture capitalist' does; pretty hazy about 'stakeholders' and 'network marketing'. I only quite recently came to understand what 'discretionary income' really means.
My Hungarian brother-in-law, who originally emigrated from communist Budapest to the US, said that the most wondrous discovery he made in the free world was 'compound interest'. "Money could grow money!" he exclaimed. "Amazing!"