Financial Education

In yesterday’s Manchester Evening News paper, there was a letter to the Editor that called for financial education for teenagers in school. Ioannis and I had a discussion about this just the other day.

One way of tackling the institutions that are prepared to give credit to almost anybody nowadays is to bring in stricter regulations and bring the deals under more scrutiny from independant consumer bodies as well as financial authorities.  

However, approaching this from another angle seems even more fruitful. The preparedness of young adults to make financial decisions, myself included, is seriously under question. And this in a society where loans are expected to be taken out in order to do any number of things, for example finance higher education or get on the property ladder.

What is required then is a sort of Home Science class for teenagers at school that incorporates elements of financial understanding and planning that growing up in a family used to provide. It seems that society can no longer depend on the family unit to provide such an education, as often the financial decisions of the parents themselves do not stand up to scrutiny.

The personal debt that this nation has got itself into is astounding, and countering this will require structured education so that future generations do not end up living on credit like us.

On a related note: People who have been hit by unfair bank charges now can fight back. The websites to check are Bank Charges Hell and Consumer Action Group.

There is a good article on the financial magazine This Is Money. It gives you ten steps to reclaim money you have unfairly been charged by the banks.

Take the time NOW to sort out your finances and be one of the Financially Responsible.

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Ernst and Young..

or Ernie and Junior, as they’re known to me! They have a career presentation today at the Palace Hotel, which I’ve managed to book myself for even though it clashes partly with Liverpool’s game tonight (who says I’m not devoted to finding a job). Free food and booze, can’t go wrong, I figure. Let’s see what they can do to entice me into their fold. Hefty paycheck, personal palm pilot, company car….”Bring on the dancing girls!!” (-lines of a much-loved Roman orgy-minded character from Asterix comics)

I watched a program on the fernsehen apparat about comic making. I can draw, but not so good, so if there are any artists out there, give me a shout. With my wacky humour, and your hard labour, we can get a cult comic going, and I, erm, we, that is, we can make lots of money.

Ok, while trawling the net with god to find some illustration of dancing girls from Asterix to go with my oh-so-humourous piece above, I found this guy Dave Roman displaying his cartoons on t’web. Great stuff. ‘Agnes Quill’ is nice and dark, and for the soppy girls, there’s ‘How we got engaged’. But most of all I love Astronaut Elementary. Yippee!

Virtual crime

Now I’ve heard it all!! Apparently a guy in Japan was arrested because he played a virtual game with software bots instead of real human beings, which therefore made him unbeatable. He used his bots to mug other players of their virtual possessions, which he then sold to other players for real money!! A lot of games allow you to make real money if you play well, opening up the way for crime, because where there is money, there are people looking for an easy buck. More info on New Scientist here.

On Karma

I was browsing through some Dilbert comic strips rather than write my dissertation, and I came across this strip with a Dogbert’s definition of Karma:-

I believe in Karma. That means I can do bad things to people all day long and I assume they deserve it.

Students of any Management Science will be well aware of the truths in Dilbert’s apparently comic world. Quite naturally, I thought of Dilbert while nicking pictures from despair.com

Best job offer so far

Ok, here the latest from our careers service. Why it’s so good should be self-explanatory.

Description of position:
You will work as part of a team responsible for maintaining a
high standard of cleanliness throughout the Centre, including
areas of the female changing room and showers while the centre is
open to the public.

Qualifications required:
Able to prioritise workloads, good communication and customer
care skills. Due to exposure to the female changing room and
showers while the centre is open to the public, a female
candidate would be preferred (as stated in section 7(2)(B) or the
Sex Discrimination Act).

The growth of a company

“Empires do not suffer emptiness of purpose at the time of their creation. It is when they have become established that aims are lost and replaced by vague ritual.” -Frank Herbert, the author of the science fiction novels called The Dune Chronicles, wrote this fact. I think this furthers the argument of connectivity between different spheres of study. (I’m arguing both sides of the debate, I know).

Another important thought from Frank Herbert, and relevant to a friend’s post, is to remember that the only true science is the science of discontent. Mankind will always be unhappy with what he’s got, and it is to this science that we owe all our progress. Therefore I believe that the only true art is restraint, in order to balance things out. Anything in excess is harmful, as Freddie Mercury tells us, even “too much love can kill you”.

Bush taken out

No, not the real one. I had put up a poster of our most-beloved comic’s humorous sayings, or by other world leaders in a similar vein, in our study room K2, where it put a smile on many a face for a long time…. until somebody came along and stole it!! Now, I’m not pointing fingers, but there ws a delegation of business people from XXXXXX next door, who were admiring it at length (I know where you live). My friends, these are the kind of people we will be dealing with once we leave the cozy world of academia. The kind who are prepared to stuff half a metre’s length of rolled up poster (I imagine that’s how it was done) down their trouser leg (I’m having difficulty imagining it done in a skirt) and limping all the way to their getaway vehicle (There has to be one. There always is. I imagine one with lots of passenger leg-room for minimum discomfort. Perhaps an off-roader, SUV-type. I can see the new Nissan Murano doing well in this role) just so they can save on the £3-odd it cost. No more “after you, Sir/Madam (whichever applies, obviously not both)”, nor indeed a “by your leave”, and certainly not a “if you could be so kind as”! Humph!! What is this world coming to, when even the P of USA isn’t safe???

Vibrant call centre

Our esteemed university’s Career Service has sent me another e-mail with jobs. One of them calls for a “natural-born salesperson” to work in a “Vibrant call centre”. Despite rumours to the contrary, my mother insists that I was natural-born. But as for a vibrant call centre, I’ll believe that one when I see it!

Information is important

But is that just the info-centric view of us Information Specialists? (I’m using the term loosely here to include my humble self). Surely an accountant will differ. And I came across an article titled “What do IT specialists know about managing change” (Parc & Jutras) which is also related to the question of whether IS experts are in a position to advise managers.

Kodak is a film-based company

The following article has been borrowed from New Scientist, 14/05/05. “Advertising has a new gimmick. Kodak in Rochester, New York, wants to encourage people to take pictures of adverts in return for free photo prints. The idea is that Kodak sells more film, customers get a freebie, and the advertiser gets the exposure they crave. The company proposes running the slogan “Shoot me with Kodak film, and get a free extra set of prints” on billboards or giant screens at sports events, famous landmarks and theme parks. The ads contain a digital pattern that is recognised by an optical sensor in the photo lab when you get the film developed. The lab then automatically prints the free copies (US 2005/0084259).”
Ok, here’s the question: Will it work?