Bear and I were chatting about the so-called Age Of Austerity - hence the wartime poster in the post below. Luckily, mainly because I'm a bit good in the finance department, we've noticed the pinch a bit, but ye small gods willing, it's not hit us as hard as some I've spoken to.
/Rant mode on
Quick grumble. Why the heck do unemployed people have bank accounts, and, god forbid, overdrafts or even credit cards? Sheer lunacy. In the uk, they are entitled to a Post Office Account, not to be confused with a bank account. Their benefits - and nothing else - are paid into it. There are no overdrafts and associated charges, interest charges, ATM charges or any other fees. Mind you, there are no loans or credit facilities. Uk Gov pays it in and they withdraw the balance as required. Effectively, ring-fenced. No more Bank charges.
Yet every bloomin' time I suggest it, the unemployed I speak to baulk at the idea of no credit, even though it's costing them in charges from an already meagre income. They'll ask me to help sort out fuel or rent or mortgage or phone bills - but as someone said to me a couple days ago "How are you supposed to get what you want without credit, are you some kind of idiot?".. S'cuse me? Crazy, crazy.
/Rant mode off
Perhaps I should note where I'm coming from. I'm not a Debt Councillor, but I am pretty good with facts and figures. For many years Bear and I were members of the Free Churches, finally with the Jesus Army where I was a minor leader.
The JA are a wonderful community, working across the whole gamut of society, and despite their high profile image, quietly. It is however, a 24/7 church. After my first stroke, I gently, and deliberately faded away. I was unable to maintain my commitment to them. How they put up with me, a totally non-religious, but not unspiritual person, I'll never know. There, I learned to care. I also learned how to deal with the 'the system', deal with pig-headed social workers.
Banks, building societies, adoption agencies, the police, pimps, gangzters, politicians and prime misters.
I still have many mates there.
But most of all, I learned to love.
Bless you for reading.