985

Please - save me from backseat market drivers!

Know-it-all, Matthew Reeves, on "experts".
Student life
Off campus

From its very beginnings it was obvious that the credit crunch would wield unforeseen consequences and changes upon the way we live our lives, however there are a few changes which continue to be overlooked and yet are arguably the most perturbing to our daily existence. At the top of my list, I can't fail to notice that there has been a staggering increase in the number of experts in the world finance and banking system bearing with them swathes of ridiculous headlines.

We all have a little bit of an expert in us. After a watching a few laps of any Grand Prix I will be able to advise you on the optimum fuel load, gearbox setup and tyre choice for a Ferrari on a wet track in Monaco. Yet I rarely feel the need sit down and talk about it with Fiona Bruce - although I'm sure she'd love to hear what I have to say. There are, however, a certain breed of people who do feel the need to talk about it with Fiona Bruce, usually someone dressed comfortably in a bland suit and a worried look ceremoniously presented to us as a finance expert from creditcruchcomparisonsupermarket.com.uk and gravely informing us that if the government does or doesn't do x or y before the next episode of Dr. Who then money will cease to exist and the world will return to a barter system with all earnings being owed to the King.

It is truly staggering how many experts have crawled out of the woodwork of late. I thought the expert market had reached saturation but it appears I was very wrong. When Lehman collapsed all it did was fan the flames. There are so many experts now that not even the bearded, sandal-sporting brigade can get a look in. I suppose on the upside at least not all of the world's problems are caused by global warming or immigrants anymore (coming over here stealing our credit). Hurricane Katrina was definitely caused by bankers' bonuses.

Unlike the evolution of man picture which depicts five stages, the evolution of the expert has only three. The first is educated in the University of Life and has humble beginnings as a student of Changing Rooms. Only months ago, this expert would have advised buying any property, cladding it in the finest MDF and magnolia paint to triple its value. The second stage "saw it all coming". They spotted the financial system was in tatters all along, they knew from the outset (why tell anyone when you can just buy-to-let?) We are only now seeing a progression into the third stage of the expert, the "look what you've caused" expert.

It is this part of the credit crunch fiasco which really makes me smile, not because I take pleasure in others' misfortune but because of the sheer hilarity of much of the bucket loads of fact-free and improvable twaddle which is released into the public domain every day. It was recently brought to my attention that divorce rates are at some record low or other all due to the credit crunch. I'd heard of "staying together for the kids" but "doing it for the overdraft" can't help but raise a smile. Another article suggested more people have been picking up discarded pennies from the floor due to the credit crunch. First things first, who on earth is responsible for measuring the numbers of coin picker-uppers? Two, who is paying their wages? Three, do we need to ask any more questions to realise this story is a complete work of fiction?

All I have to say now is that if you are worried about your career prospects in the financial sector, don't worry, just become an expert.

If you have an opinion on anything I have written please send it to [email protected]


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