Sunday, 5 October 2014

Keeping up with the Joneses



The Daily Mail does make me laugh. This article about the 'squeezed' middle classes had 'Are they serious?!' comments written all over it. Reading through the article it is certainly hard to feel sorry for someone who is spending £15k on school fees because they do not think state schools push children into sport or for a couple earning £108k a year who have no savings and cannot save for a mortgage because of having a fondness for gadgets. 

This isn't an article about the middle classes being financially squeezed because food and energy prices have increased, that article may have accrued a bit more sympathy - it is an article about people not having savings, having debt and (excuse me while I cry) having to 'vacay' in the UK because they have been trying to keep up with the Joneses. Actually, it is a rather unlikely Daily Mail article given the wry sarcasm in the article.

Keeping up with the Joneses is an easy trap. I am guilty of it. Despite my desperation to clear my debt only the other day I was looking at buying some sandals online after seeking an instagram 'friend' showing of her (beautiful) shoes before coming to my senses and remembering my goal of paying off debt. But if you don't have a financial goal, being lured into keeping up with friends is easy.

Reading through this article also makes me suspect that lifestyle inflation is a factor. This is certainly something that has resulted in my debt. At times I think I was financially better off just after I left university. I was only earning £10k a year but only owed about £1k on my credit card (and £13k student loan). As my salary has increased so has my debt. I have bought more expensive clothes, more expensive holidays and gadgets because I thought I should be able to afford them since I was a lawyer earning a decent salary. Here I am now at 32 with no savings, a tiny pension and just under £10k of credit card debt.  I was always living beyond my means.

I had my awakening and am now trying to do something about it. I am not perfect and I am still wasting money but I am trying. Sadly, those in the article seem to either have their heads buried in the sand or are completely ignorant of what it is really like to be squeezed (I grew up with unemployed parents on benefits missing meals - that is squeezed). I hope the comments on the article will wake them up and make them realise that they need to change. 

Are you sympathetic for these people? What do you think they should do?

* photo courtesy of www.freedigitalphotos.net 

11 comments:

  1. Sometimes you just want to shake them and shout "GET A GRIP!"

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  2. The people in the article think "more money" is the key, but the answer is actually "less spending". I don't feel sorry for them as they should know better but I feel sorry for their kids, who have got such parents as their role models...

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    1. Yes, I agree, they definitely need to be spending less

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  3. I read it and thought it was ridiculous-why work in London and live in Gloucestershire-8,000 on a commute is crazy! Some people just don't have the forethought or common sense to live within their means. Also didn't like the thinly veiled advert for her 'interior design' business she hopes to make 1000 a month from: who are her clients?!!!

    I don't feel sorry for them, I feel sorry for people really struggling like you say who go hungry or feed their children but can't afford to feed themselves.

    Harsh I fear but my opinion!
    Natalya @Cottage Retreatist

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    1. I have a bit of an issue who earn £108k between them. My partner and I pay £1,400 in rent (average soth west London prices sadly) but earn a lot less. I agree about the interior design business advert, so annoying!

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  4. They are utterly delusional nutjobs!!!! They should swallow some cement and harden up!!!! It both angers and amazes me that some people simply do not have a grasp on reality.

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    1. I do slightly admire their balls to go national with their views!

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  5. I have sympathy to a point. If you are trying and make mistakes that's one thing, but I know people in serious debt that keep trying to keep up and there is nothing I can do or say because unless they ask me about it, it's none of my business. Still it's hard to watch, and hey even I fall into the trap of being envious of my friend's things from time to time.

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  6. I was in serious debt but still kept trying to fit in. I think part of the problem with those in the article is that they have professional jobs where nice cars, homes and holidays are expected. I'm a lawyer and I certainly felt that I should have those things given my profession.

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  7. I wonder why different professionals don't take action your website overmuch m happy I got this, Very advisory and effective collection of stuff.

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