PARENTS

Surviving Teenagers: What Do They Know About Money?

06/02/2012 18:02 | Updated 22 May 2015
Teen looking at moneyRex Features

Teenagers have a hazy idea about finance, says research from the Chartered Insurance Institute (CII) this week. Over 70 APR?"

"Which would mean...?"

"No interest."

"On what...?"

"On whatever you borrowed."

I go quite pink with pleasure. As someone who believes that £4.99 can't possibly be a fiver, I never expected to have a daughter with a head for figures.

But the general point the CII is trying to make is that teenagers who go to university will end up with massive debt, so perhaps ought to know more about basic financial stuff before they get there.

I don't know about this. In general, if something frightens me, I try not to think about it. Spiders. Car crashes. Incurable diseases. That doesn't mean that I go out of my way to put myself in dangerous situations. But I don't fill my waking hours with thoughts of hairy legs, explosions and useless antibiotics.

It seems to me that we've put our teenagers in a position where they can't avoid debt. If they get a degree, they'll be in hock for the rest of their lives. If they want to buy a flat when they're 46, or however old they have to be before they've saved up enough for the deposit, they'll be paying the mortgage until they drop.

Unless they are heirs to massive tracts of English countryside or hugely successful companies (which my lot aren't), they haven't a hope of anything, really, but the equivalent of a life on overdraft .

They could study this meticulously and work out exactly what debt means. But I'm not sure it will make them any happier.

"Are you OK?" I say to my son, who's away at university in the snowy wastes of northern England.

"I think so," he says.

"You've got enough to eat?"

"I've got a tin of baked beans," he says.

Keep it simple. That's my boy.

Suggest a correction