Because you’re worth it

Are you sitting comfortably?  I ask only because I’m doing that scene-setting stuff again, and it’s going to take a while.  When I was a little girl, my grandma took delivery of a new three-piece suite.  It was an event of some significance, as she had been buying it at the rate of something like 50p a week for seventeen years (you read that right: seventeen) – and refused to have it in the house until it was paid for in full, otherwise it would be like sitting on stolen goods.  A woman of stern moral fibre, my grandma.  Compare and contrast to the furniture ads on the telly at the moment: “Get the sofa of your dreams, in time for Christmas – four years’ interest-free credit, pay nothing for a year”.

What does this tell us about the current appetite for saving up for things, for making do until you can afford it?  Precisely.  And criminals just love our change of attitude.  In the modern desire (desperation?) for everything now, and the chorus of “Why shouldn’t I have it, because she has it and so does he, and after all, I’m worth it”, they find a ready audience for their (false) promises of easy money and no consequences.  It wasn’t so much of a problem when the CEO (or MD, as he was in those days) was paid about a hundred times what his most lowly employee took home; the responsibility/risk/reward balance seemed fair, and Mr Lowly could dream realistically of one day becoming Mr MD.  But now, when junior staff hear about their directors being paid squillions, they see something that is both manifestly unfair and impossibly out of reach – and so their minds turn to alternatives.  And the lure of a 20% cut for shepherding through a dodgy transaction or turning a blind eye to a reportable situation or not asking awkward questions could be irresistible.  But teaching patience (grasshopper) in these Twitter-times is an uphill battle.

This entry was posted in AML, Due diligence, Money laundering and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Because you’re worth it

  1. Thanks Susan, another entertaining post! Saw your article in the Guernsey Press last night, which was excellent, I hope the new publication proves a success!

    André Trebert

    • Dear André
      Many thanks for your comment about the post, and for your good wishes for Sam Plank – I am doing my very best to introduce him to as many people as possible, as he’s quite a sociable fellow!
      Best wishes from Susan

  2. Claire says:

    I agree that this attitude of “must have it now, even if I can’t afford it, I’ll just get credit” is terrible. And very irresponsible. When my kids went to school in Brussels, there were some kids from poor families. It always amazed me how they could afford to buy their kids the latest and most expensive toys. And how they had the biggest flat screen adorning their living room. I bought my first tiny flat screen in a promo just last year. And my teenagers still don’t get the latest cool stuff. I have a mortgage on my house. But that makes me a house owner 🙂 I teach my children never to buy what you can’t afford. And to be happy with what you can afford.

  3. I’m entirely with you, Claire – not least because I an naturally one of life’s squirrels. I have always loved saving up for things, as it gives you such a sense of achievement when you finally get them – whether that is a new pair of shoes, or some time off work (I always “work ahead” so that I can feel that I have earned the right to relax during days off). Now, if only we could get criminals to absorb your final lesson – never buy what you can’t afford, and be happy with what you can afford – we could wipe out money laundering at a stroke!
    Best wishes from Susan

  4. Roy McCarthy says:

    This resonates strongly with me Susan. This ‘have it now’ attitude has been stoked, I’m afraid, by our generation (or mine anyway). We’ve had the easy means of acquiring goods and ‘stuff’ through good salaries, easy credit and – for some – unearned benefits. People have quickly got to see it as their right to have things like cars, phones, TVs, multiple holidays etc. as basic necessities. It may not continue to be that way in the future.

  5. You’re so right, Roy – people do see material things as a necessity and indeed a right, rather than an optional extra or a privilege. And criminals, of course, feed on such greed, and on our vanity. We measure ourselves in terms of things, and they offer us ways to get the things that we could not otherwise have.
    Best wishes from Susan

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s