These are dark times. By all standards, these are one of the darkest, most unstable times I can recall in the short history of my life.
From Real to real-ity
Yesterday I learned that Landsbanki (trading under the name Icesave in the UK), the Icelandic bank where I held an ISA, has gone bust, and my savings are frozen and non-withdrawable. According to the papers, it will be at least three months and a lot of red tape before I can reclaim any cash back through a complex combination of British and Icelandic financial compensation schemes.
Now I am paralysed with apprehension. The latest news is that Dutch bank ING Direct has bought all savings held in Kaupthing, but does that mean they are safe, or will I read in the papers tomorrow that Kaupthing has also bitten the dust, and that my lifetime savings are locked for the foreseeable future, or worse, that I may only partially recover them?
So even if I go around with a crap hairdo, drinking watery coffee, wearing greying old knickers and shoes with holes in them, what else can I possibly do to stop my hard-earned cash from seeping out like dribble out of a baby's mouth. And, if I do manage to save a penny or two, where can I safely keep them other than under the mattress?
I like security. I check my balance obsessively, and I set up strict budgets for myself. Maybe that's why I was a successful sales manager: I always keep my balance sheets in the black.