We all need finance throughout life. From the moment mum and dad think we’re responsible enough, we get given a little bit of pocket money. In our house, this was never enough to get fantastic clothes or run a hobby – it was really intended to reach us the value of money, to learn to budget and to pay our dues when they’re due, as it were. My mother would let us buy items from her shopping catalogue and we would have our own little payment card. Each week the payment would be made solemnly to Mum and she’d sign our card. But we always knew that when we got down to about three weeks left, she’d let us off and we could start again with another product. I’m not so sure now that she did me any favours. It came as a complete shock when I bought my first thing on ‘terms’, a fridge, from memory, and I didn’t get off payments early for good behaviour. In fact, in the hard world of commerce, the only way to get repeat business is to bombard the customer with interesting emails, subscriber treats etc. Very few people rise to the top of their field without any connection to the internet.