What is the most embarrassing financial situation you have ever been in?”

I feel like Arnold Schwarzenegger in Total Recall. Please don’t make me remember. I don’t want to remember! Nooooooo!

Rewind back to 1979, when I was about nine. My parents gave us two boys a few bucks each to go to the school fete. The money, of course, was supposed to be for chips, drinks and a few rides.

I went into the school hall and became fascinated with a “game”. You threw 10c pieces onto a table. If you managed to land it in the middle of a square, without touching the sides, you could win up to $10.

Obviously a game designed to raise money for the school, not to reward skillful money chucking. Can you believe they let kids play this? There’d be uproar nowadays.

I was literally throwing away good money after bad. How was a nine-year-old to know these games are firmly in favour of “the house”?

I was severely depressed after blowing the lot with no money for “fun”. I slinked slowly home, in tears, and fessed up my parents.

Big lecture followed. Plenty of finger waving. More tears. Total embarrassment.

(With faster wit, I might have blamed my parents for letting their young boys go to a school fete on their own … but then I wouldn’t be taking responsibility for my own actions, would I?)

Lecture delivered, they graciously gave me another few dollars and this time the money was spent in the manner intended.

That incident left a “good” scar. Some lessons are best learned young and I learned a big one about games and gambling that day.

Bruce Brammall is the author of Debt Man Walking (www.debtman.com.au) and a licensed financial adviser.

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