Perhaps one of the most positive outcomes of the recent economic crisis was the message that consumers would benefit from saving more and borrowing more responsibly. So accessible were interest free loans, 105% mortgages and credit accounts that consumers came to believe they could afford anything, irrespective of their financial circumstances.
Whenever my income falls a bit short, I get a loan or, more often, a grant from The Bank of Gary - aka my husband. This provides a financial safety net, but it is contrary to the advice many wise mothers give to their daughters: have your own money and don't rely on a man. Should women be especially cautious about relying financially on their partners?
The break-up of a marriage can exact a significant price on those involved. Children, family, friends and even pets can all be affected to some degree in addition to the husband and wife. To the emotional toll can be added the financial elements of separation - lump sums, property transfers, maintenance and pensions.
The European Parliament has always argued that the EU should have its own resources. Today 75% of the EU's budget comes from national contributions based on gross national income. A contribution based on value-added tax accounts for a further 11%, while traditional own resources such as customs duties, agricultural duties and sugar levies come to 13%.