Yesterday I was spending an evening with friends when one of them said he’d just started to read the free edition of “Back To The Black”. I asked what he thought of it so far and he said what friends do, that he liked it. However, he said, there was one thing missing. Naturally, I wanted to know what was missing.

The bit where you advise people to work out how much they can afford to spend … and then spend a little less.”

Barry was right; I hadn’t specifically advised people to do that. However, I had instead quoted the dictum of Mr Micawber. In case you’re not a fan of Dickens, Mr Micawber was a character from “David Copperfield”, who famously said, “Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen pounds nineteen shillings and sixpence, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds, ought and six, result misery.”

My friend is a very well-read guy but the message was that I should perhaps have been a little more direct with the advice.

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