Special Money

I was reminded recently of the concept of “Special Money”.  If you haven’t heard this term before, perhaps it’s because I just made it up.  The term anyway, the concept is clear once explained.

Special Money (n) : Money that comes from an unexpected, or irregular source and as such can be mentally allocated towards something special eg. a leisure activity such as a holiday or meal at a restaurant.

Sounds fairly innocent so far, doesn’t it?  There is however a much more sinister side to Special Money.  In fact, I’d go so far as to say that special money doesn’t even exist in the mind of the financially literate, who just see it as extra money going into the bank account, to be invested or saved until needed on some essential repair to the car or house that wasn’t expected.

Take the example of a gambler.  I used to see several of these when I was in my teens at the bookmakers, putting my 50p’s on horses, having analysed the form with a horse-racing predictor I’d written myself on my Acorn Electron.  Unlike my 50p though, these people would be seen putting £50+ on a single win bet and worse, seemingly nonchalantly walk away when it lost.  Even 30 years later there is no way I’d put £50 on a single wager but back then it must have been an immense chunk of the weekly wage packet.  Now, in their mindset had the horse won they’d suddenly have a large chunk of special money.  A big win would be something to be celebrated, I can almost imagine them taking the wife out to dinner, making a holiday announcement or the kids getting trendy new trainers.  All thanks to this win.  On the flip side, it wouldn’t matter that their last 10 big bets were losers, the electric and gas bills were overdue and the bailiffs were sending letters.  No, this win was special money, the household budget was a separate matter for another day.

I had my own experience with Special Money back in 2015.  The earlier mentioned JPB died about then and a small inheritance was bequeathed to the ungrateful children (I expect history to repeat entirely on this score).  This inheritance of course was considered to be 100% Special Money. Excuse me if I continue to italicise the term to emphasise the point.

The inheritors sister had already used her Special Money wisely.  Investing in appreciating assets such as… a 65″ TV (probably to replace the 55″ TV they already had) and a foreign holiday.  Actually, as an aside I really couldn’t imagine a bigger waste than a foreign holiday for those two – I’d once gone on holiday with them to Germany and witnessed them (a) complain about the TV size in the hotel room, and (b) find the best internet spot in the hotel lounge and sit there all day on their ipads.  I am not joking.  They really did just sit there all day and never leave.  Muggins here even drove them down and back in his car.  As the Coldplay song goes “Parasites, Para Para Parasites.”.  Oh OK, it was “Paradise”, but I changed one word.  Just one word.

So, back to the inheritor herself.  Obviously, the pressure was on to match her sister with regard to what this Special Money should be spent on.  I mean, it’s obviously Special Money, right?  How about a big foreign holiday or an ostentatious confirmation for one of the children?  At this point, the voice of reason stepped in and pointed out that he’d just paid 75,000 krone to buy her a new car to drive to her studies in Randers.  Furthermore, that the joint account from which the mortgage and all household expenses were paid was seriously depleted as a result and that still, some 10 years after moving to Denmark, the only person paying any money into that account was himself.  Also, the regular foreign summer camping trip generally cost 50,000 krone and couldn’t it just be allocated to that when the time comes?  Silence, then an argument and just that once, reason won – the money was paid into the joint account.

It should have been the end of the matter, but it was not.

After the split, and an email discussion on finances, it was pointed out to me that the 50,000 krone inheritance was an active mental accounting entry on her side that had not been repaid.  Apparently I also had some responsibility for repaying her student debt.  In that case, all I can say is, you owe me 3,300,000 krone.  You ungrateful, selfish, lazy cow.


10 Things I hate about You

  1. “I’ll only have children with you if you promise they’ll be brought up in Denmark”. *
  2. “I can’t get a job because I don’t have qualifications”.  Stock reply whenever I pointed out we were hemorrhaging money every month when we first moved to Denmark.
  3. “I can’t claim benefits because I own a house / have savings”.  Stock reply, for the same reason.
  4. That the same institutions we agreed were bad for our children were suddenly wonderful places to send them to once we’d moved to Denmark.  They’re not.
  5. How you isolated me from my own family.
  6. The little respect you have for things that cost a lot of time and money to earn.  Must be the welfare state mindset.
  7. Getting me onto anti-depressants.   I was told repeatedly that it’s a chemical imbalance in the brain.  That medical “fact” you were taught is now dismissed officially as utter rubbish.  It was always due to the toxic environment and people I was exposed to.
  8. That my English tea set, Chesterfield leather armchair and foot stool, White bookcase, super-king size bed and bedside cabinets all now reside at your parents house after being “donated” by you.  There are probably others.  To say nothing of all the things you chucked away over the years.
  9. Manipulating me into unpleasant life changes, like buying things I never needed, chucking out things of value that I can never get back or getting a tumble dryer.
  10. That once we did split, #ÅretsMor that you are, you decided the children would be better off without a Dad.  I can only assume all those tears and sob stories I had to put up with over the years about yours being absent were fake.

There, it’s written down.  Maybe there are others, but these ones stick in mind.  The funny thing is, the person I hate most is me.  For tolerating all this for almost 20 years, when I should’ve walked away at *1 and saved myself many years of disappointment.