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 Post subject: The Bettanys' lost investments
PostPosted: 22 Nov 2018, 09:13 
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There was something on the news this morning about an investment fund boss in Florida making a tearful apology to investors after losing all their money. There's no suggestion of fraud, just poor decisions and probably some bad luck. Presumably that's what happened with the Bettanys' guardian. We never really hear what happened, but do people get the impression that the Bettanys were reasonably well off, at least to the extent that Madge and Joey didn't expect to need to get jobs, but then - it was too early to be anything to do with the 1929 Crash - their guardian lost their money by making poor investment decisions? It's never mentioned again - they're remarkably sanguine about it!

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 Post subject: Re: The Bettanys' lost investments
PostPosted: 22 Nov 2018, 09:24 
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Yes, they do rather better than the Chesters whose money woes get numerous mentions.

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 Post subject: Re: The Bettanys' lost investments
PostPosted: 22 Nov 2018, 18:27 
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The Bettanys been able to take regular holidays abroad in areas which took a far amount of travelling to reach in the days before package holidays and air flights so they clearly had both leisure and money.

That Dick goes into the Forests suggests they were comfortably-off rather than wealthy. Madge was, presumably, "needed at home" to run the household and she would have known that from the time of her mother's death so training for any kind of career would never have been a consideration. The thought that one day there might not be any money doesn't seem to have been entertained.

Joey is in a slightly different situation as, at the time of the discovery of the financial losses, she was still young enough to be educated/trained with the thought that she'll need to earn her own living at some time in the future. It was odd that Madge, who's now been thrown into needing to make money never really seems that seriously. I suppose Joey's future work does seem to get settled when it is decided that she'll become a Lady-In-Waiting so there's no reason to be thinking of anything else, and by the time she's 16, Madge's financial landscape has changed. Madge no longer needs to work and Joey is "needed at home".


The financial losses might have been due to having money invested in Europe. Most investments in Russia and in Austro-Hungary/Germany would have been wiped out by 1919.


Incidentally, that £120 interest on their remaining investments was still above average working-class male earnings. Families could and did live on that kind of money!


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 Post subject: Re: The Bettanys' lost investments
PostPosted: 22 Nov 2018, 19:19 
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Not just financial losses, what happened to the lost aunts and cousins?? Don't think they are ever mentioned after the first book.


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 Post subject: Re: The Bettanys' lost investments
PostPosted: 22 Nov 2018, 19:27 
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I think Madge mentions staying with them or visiting them during the holidays, possibly when she returns to England to train as a Guider, but that's it! It might have been too expensive for them to come to Austria for Madge's wedding, and Madge couldn't really go and visit them once she'd got all the kids at Die Rosen, but you'd think they'd have been mentioned. It would have made far more sense if one of them had asked Joey to keep an eye on their daughter, rather than Maisie Gomme.

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 Post subject: Re: The Bettanys' lost investments
PostPosted: 23 Nov 2018, 03:59 
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I wonder if the aunts mentioned were a step or so removed from being their parents' siblings. If they were their parents' cousins, for example, it could have been easy to lose the connection when Dick was in India and Madge and Joey in Austria and then Guernsey. They'd end up with the kind of relative you trade Christmas cards with, but didn't actually visit.

I see the Bettanys as well enough off that they could comfortably live on their investments, with a nice house and servants and travel and fees to good schools, but not truly wealthy. Dick may have gone into the forestry because he liked the kind of work and wanted to be doing something interesting with his life. Madge would be raising Joey, maybe with the thought that she might marry someday, not not needing the husband for either money or independence from her parents.

When they're talking about money at the start they mention 120 pounds a year as what a decent school would charge, so their investments might keep them fed and clothed, but at a substantially lower standard of living.

With Joey, for the first year or two she's still delicate, so I can see Madge worrying more about her health than training to earn a living, plus I can see her figuring that Joey could work for the school when she got older. After that, Madge has Jem, who appears to be quite well off and perfectly content to support Joey as needed.

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 Post subject: Re: The Bettanys' lost investments
PostPosted: 23 Nov 2018, 06:14 
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The National Archives has an old currency converter so we can see exactly how much that £120 was in today’s money and it it doesn’t seem that much to me

http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/currency-converter/


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 Post subject: Re: The Bettanys' lost investments
PostPosted: 23 Nov 2018, 09:51 
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It is over £3000 per annum isn't it? That seems pretty good to me. My first salary, as a secretary, in 1961 was ca £800pa.

It is interesting though that in 1915, 5 years earlier, the £120 would have been worth more than double...

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 Post subject: Re: The Bettanys' lost investments
PostPosted: 23 Nov 2018, 14:23 
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If the £120 per year represents school fees for a decent school and that equates to £4,000 in today's money, it shows that school fees were relatively cheap. £18 - £20,000 + would be more likely. Also shows how they can afford servants whose wages would be relatively low too.


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 Post subject: Re: The Bettanys' lost investments
PostPosted: 23 Nov 2018, 17:36 
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I've got some figures somewhere for boy's public schools at that sort of time, and Madge's proposed fees are actually fairly high. I think Dartmouth was either £100 or £120 at that point. I think I posted the figures on here in the past so someone might be able to find them. Or I can try and dig them out.


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 Post subject: Re: The Bettanys' lost investments
PostPosted: 23 Nov 2018, 22:01 
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One odd thing about the lost investments is that both Madge and Dick were over 21, so you would expect Dick, at least, to have paid some attention to what was happening with their money. It shouldn't have been a total shock to find there was nothing left.

Perhaps the reason the Bettanys are so sanguine about the losses is that they recognise that they could have done something and didn't.


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 Post subject: Re: The Bettanys' lost investments
PostPosted: 24 Nov 2018, 01:25 
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Victoria wrote:
One odd thing about the lost investments is that both Madge and Dick were over 21, so you would expect Dick, at least, to have paid some attention to what was happening with their money. It shouldn't have been a total shock to find there was nothing left.

Perhaps the reason the Bettanys are so sanguine about the losses is that they recognise that they could have done something and didn't.


Whether Madge and Dick had any control over their inheritance would depend on the terms of the trust. I remember a recent court case in Australia where the trust continued until the youngest child turned 25 (https://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-10-02/ ... ud/4994280 - for anybody interested).

While it would be sensible for their Guardian to involve Dick (at a minimum) in the family investments, if said investments were doing badly he may have tried to keep his mismanagement private in the hope of a future recovery.


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 Post subject: Re: The Bettanys' lost investments
PostPosted: 25 Nov 2018, 02:54 
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It did occur to me that the Bettanys might never have had any money above and beyond the money mentioned in School. It's still exists because it can't be touched until Joey comes of age.

We know nothing about the guardian so it is possible that he was the person with money, and had always assured the Bettanys that "all this will be yours when I'm gone". The Bettanys would have assumed that there was money as it was always forthcoming when required. When their guardian dies, it turns out that he's been living off his capital for some years rather than retrench after losses of whatever kind. There's no money and most of the property is so mortgaged that selling it just covers the costs. Since the money was never the Bettanys, they would have had no reason to be checking on it and would have taken their gaurdian's word that there was always enough money.

This leaves them with the house and its contents as an inheritance from their guardian, and the money from their parents


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 Post subject: Re: The Bettanys' lost investments
PostPosted: 03 Dec 2018, 23:09 
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Cestina, my husband is jealous of your first salary. He started working in 1961 as an office junior in an insurance office and he only got £350 a year. :D

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 Post subject: Re: The Bettanys' lost investments
PostPosted: 05 Dec 2018, 06:59 
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Would it have been possible that the money was lost in the financial crash of 1926 a lot of middle class people lost money in that


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 Post subject: Re: The Bettanys' lost investments
PostPosted: 05 Dec 2018, 10:15 
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ann S wrote:
Would it have been possible that the money was lost in the financial crash of 1926 a lot of middle class people lost money in that


That only works with the re-dating that EBD did around the time of Exile. As School At was published in 1925, the crash hadn't happened yet...

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 Post subject: Re: The Bettanys' lost investments
PostPosted: 05 Dec 2018, 14:04 
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I seem to remember that a number of people in the UK lost money when the Russian Revolution happened in 1917...OK, that's quite a bit earlier, but the total losses could have been over an extended period.


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 Post subject: Re: The Bettanys' lost investments
PostPosted: 05 Dec 2018, 15:34 
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I think the First World War would have been enough to clip the value of their investments substantially. As I said above - £120 pa would have been worth twice as much in 1915 as compared to 1920....:

cestina wrote:

It is interesting though that in 1915, 5 years earlier, the £120 would have been worth more than double...

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 Post subject: Re: The Bettanys' lost investments
PostPosted: 23 Dec 2018, 10:28 
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cestina wrote:
It is over £3000 per annum isn't it? That seems pretty good to me. My first salary, as a secretary, in 1961 was ca £800pa.

It is interesting though that in 1915, 5 years earlier, the £120 would have been worth more than double...


In 1971, I was paid about £550 a year working as an audio typist in an insurance office. Those were the days when a male was still paid a higher rate.


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