Should I subscribe to the Financial Times?

11th October, 2008

I have a question which, I hope, you will be able to answer with particular insight. Should I subscribe to the Financial Times?

I buy the FT Weekend every Saturday, for $2.17 including California sales tax. I recently received an e-mail offer to receive the FT for $8.25 for four weeks, which would be a saving of 43 cents, and yet provide me with the newspaper every day.

However, I am conflicted because I primarily enjoy the FT Weekend for the cultural and political coverage. I am somewhat interested in the financial news, but my concern is that I will spend too much of my time following the soap opera that is Wall Street these days. But if there was a time when it would be advisable to read the FT, this would be it.
John Halbert, Los Angeles

Dear John,

I am not sure what puzzles me more, the fact that the FT subscription department is trying to get you to pay less in order to receive more, or the fact that you hesitate to accept.

The most likely explanation is that both you and the subscription department suspect the Financial Times of being an addictive product. They hope that once you are hooked, you won’t stop. Admittedly, this assigns the subscription department the role of crack-pushers, but we should call a spade a spade here.

The story is further complicated by the fact that not all addictions are harmful. You may find yourself addicted to the Pink’un for the happiest of reasons: an infatuation with Lucy Kellaway – or Gideon Rachman, if you prefer.

I suggest that you put this offer to one side, because the sums involved are trifling. Instead, buy and read the FT every day for a week. If you’re hooked by Friday, it will be because you’ve found the daily newspaper to your taste. You can then take advantage of the next subscription offer to feed your habit cheaply.

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