/ Money

This week in comments – rail, rent and RBS

Rather than bore you with a lengthy introduction to our comment round-up, I’ll simply say that this week you’ve been talking about rail prices rises, student rent and RBS restricting ATM access.

Is the PC dead?

Sarah Kidner thinks there’s plenty of life left in PCs, but David M’s not so sure:

‘I agree that, in the medium term, the PC as we know it will become extinct. As tablets become more powerful and highly featured, they will be the “do anything anywhere” device, with add-ons like keyboards for finger dancers, and users won’t segregate their activities onto different platforms.’

RBS restricts access to ATMs – 1m customers lose out

RBS will no longer let basic bank account holders use rivals’ ATMs. Here’s Adam’s take:

‘So whilst RBS are actually in profit they need to “save money” by punishing their customers? It is the corporate and investments that are loosing money – RBS need to learn to invest better and not pay their top level staff so much in wages!’

Are opticians losing sight of our needs?

Although Vynor Hill is happy with his eye tests, he is concerned about an optician’s motives:

‘What I find less attractive is the “seamless” way one is transferred to the sales side of the practice and the helpful assistants who part you from the best part of £400. Yes, I have prescription and sun prescription glasses that do the job, but I always feel that somewhere along the line, someone is making a very fat profit from my custom.’

Stay-at-home students – a sorry side effect of high rent

When it comes to stay-at-home students, JB thinks we should spare a thought for the parents:

‘We do love you but don’t necessarily want to cook, clean and wash for you all our lives. We’re all for you gaining your independence and spreading your wings and that is part of the joy of the higher education experience. I would rather give my son the money I would save on his keep as a contribution towards his living expenses than have him choose a uni near home just to save money.’

Why are we being priced off the railway?

Chris had this depressing thought following the announcement of rail price rises:

‘Yep, priced off the railways. Priced off the road. Priced into cold dark homes by greedy energy profiteers. Priced into meagre rations at the supermarket. Unemployment increasing. No money. No confidence. Successive governments clearly made up of complete muppets. A large proportion of the population suffering through no real fault of their own. And some wonder why riots have taken place. Bit grim isn’t it? Where do we go from here?’

Freeware vs expensive software – what gets your click?

Alexander Hanff from Privacy International joined us to share his thoughts on Free and open-source software (FOSS):

‘My advice to everyone […] would be to always try and find a FOSS solution to meet your technical requirements first, then if that fails look at proprietary solutions. Don’t trust Big Corps with blind naivety, because more often than not they do not have your interests at heart and increasingly we are seeing a lot of underhand practices being used in an attempt to monetise users beyond just purchasing the product.

‘FOSS is not about getting something for free, FOSS is about Trust, Collaboration and Empowerment.’

Make financial education compulsory in schools

Our Comment of the Week goes to Aq, who supports Martin Lewis’ petition to bring financial education to the school curriculum:

‘I think most people are in agreement about the need to educate youngsters to provide them with, not only numeracy skills, but financial awareness also. It is sad that we witness such a wide range of ability in this topic within our society. Many leave education (or have long since left it) with little or no numeracy ability, whilst at the other extreme there are those with good quality degrees in maths, quantum physics etc, who might still have insufficient understanding of finance.

‘Whilst I believe that financial responsibility is something we must all take upon ourselves, the financial institutions also have a responsibility to ensure that they do not encourage unmanageable debt – not just to protect the individual, but to safeguard the interests of all stakeholders. Past uncontrolled lending (and individuals’ borrowing) has helped to fuel house price rises, as well as a “must have now” society – and we are all paying for it now.’

Comments have been edited due to length, so make sure to read them in full on their relevant Convos (by clicking on the red title link).