As the Daily Mail celebrates its 125th anniversary this week, my eye is drawn to the first-ever Money Mail front page hanging in my office.
We are the oldest national newspaper personal finance section.
Launched in September 1966, our goal was to help ordinary families make sense of the financial world and get the most from their money.
Groundbreaking: Launched in September 1966, Money Mail’s goal was to help ordinary families make sense of the financial world and get the most from their money
As then City editor Sir Patrick Sergeant wrote in our very first edition: ‘A great need in Britain is for advice about money, how to save it, and how to avoid paying too much tax on it.
‘The aim of Money Mail is to fill this need.’ He thought it wrong that only the rich had access to the inside knowledge needed to grow their fortunes.
‘Readers can be sure we shall spare neither effort nor expense to help them,’ he vowed.
And to this day, nearly 55 years on, you, our loyal readers, remain at the heart of everything we do.
My predecessors often talked about the ‘five pillars’ of Money Mail: mortgages, savings, pensions, investments and insurance. And though these stand firm, we are constantly adding to our remit to stay afoot in a changing world — and now cover fraud, energy, broadband, online shopping to name but a few.
But, at all times, we are guided by our postbag, and what you tell us is important to you.
It is your stories that inspire us and drive our campaigns, be it fighting for fairer treatment of fraud victims, the bereaved or starved savers.
And it is your letters and emails that give us the evidence we need to hold companies to account. So as we raise a glass to mark 125 years of the Daily Mail, I would like to toast you, our loyal readers.
Thank you — and please keep your letters coming.
We bank on them
I am very tired of tales about shoddy service at bank branches. Branch numbers were already dwindling before the pandemic, with 500 more facing the axe this year.
During lockdown, many slashed their opening hours, leaving queues out the door.
Others turned away customers if their visit was not deemed ‘essential’, with one 75-year-old lady told she could not even deposit cash.
But as the virus threat retreats, there is no longer any excuse for failing to provide a proper branch service.
And staff would do well to remember that many customers visit their local branch because they want to be served by a person not a machine.
One Money Mail reader said that after travelling ten miles to their nearest NatWest, he and his wife were told they could not take out cash at the counter.
The couple, who have been with the bank for more than 50 years, had paid in a cheque and cleared a credit card balance.
But when they asked to withdraw £200 cash, the assistant said the sum was too small and directed them to an ATM out in the cold where they did not feel as secure. As our reader puts it: ‘What ever happened to customer service?’
World’s best saves
Today we feature a host of money management methods from cultures around the world. My favourite is the Scandinavian concept of lagom. It means to live in moderation — ‘not too much, not too little’.
And after two weeks out of the office, it’s perhaps no coincidence that I feel most drawn to this notion.
With shops, pubs and restaurants open for business once more, I’ve found myself quickly slipping back into costly habits I thought I’d kicked for good.
A coffee here, lunch out there. And while I’m keen to support struggling businesses, balance is key.
If you have a money motto you swear by, I’d love to hear from you at the email address below.
Breathe in and out
Thank you for all your funny emails about the silliest instructions you’ve spotted when out shopping.
For me, the winner had to be: ‘Open box before eating pizza’.
As my colleague Richard Littlejohn is fond of saying: you really couldn’t make it up.
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