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Money money money

Money money money

lust money

Originally uploaded by catsfather

The ongoing saga of MP expenses has opened up a veritable kettle of worms in terms of what people earn, what they expect to earn – and crucially, how that compares to the rest of the population.

The Institute of Fiscal Studies has a handy calculator that compares your income against the British national average (£390 for a two-adult household, after taxes and benefits).

My details against the IFS calculator show that I have a higher income than around 85% of the population. Then again, I’m in a single household with no dependents.

I’m reasonably happy with my salary – I don’t feel rich, but I don’t feel poor either. I’m not buying Tesco Value baked beans, but neither am I buying organically grown gourmet beans flown in from Fiji. But then once I discovered that some people earned far more than I did, I was slightly peeved for a while – for no good reason. My income hadn’t changed at all, but the knowledge that other people were doing far better than I did suddenly started to rankle slightly. For no good reason.

There’s a fascinating – if somewhat biased article – in The Guardian about the *emotional* gap between those working in the City and their reality. How everyone in the City assumes they’re working for a slave’s wage, yet can’t grasp the reality that they are far better off than most people. Because, alas, most people aren’t around them – they only see their peers.

Which is probably why MPs had no clue that the rest of the country would see what they were doing as thieving.

I’m fairly sure most of my friends would consider themselves to be average wage-earners, not earning that much more or less. But then the reality is, in fact, that they’re probably all earning far more than say 75% of the population.


  • Sheff

    Are you confusing cans of worms with kettles of fish? Remind me to think carefully if ever invited to your place for tea…

  • Andrew

    I is playing with words innit. Like my lyrical stylings?

  • I bet I'm not earning more than anyone else you know – seeing as I've not had a "proper" job in well over three years now!

    I'd have to dig back through bank statements to see what I was earning back then, but I'd reckon I was doing OK as well. Certainly I was never short of cash for a few DVDs a month, pubbing, (discounted) gym membership, NUFC season ticket, shedloads of fuel and away tickets, holiday each year…

    Mind, for the majority of my latter working life I had a tenant in my spare room pretty much paying my ridiculously cheap mortgage, I *did* by bargain baked beans (I like them – why spend more), I wangled a company car, etc.

    However, now I'm on zero income and living off my folks. I have a uni interview in a week and will have my course fees paid (got to love Scots residency) as well as about 90% of my transportation costs to/from college should I get on.

    And I still think I'm better off than a whole *hell* of a lot of people I met while I was travelling. I would still gladly pack everything up and go and work in Ethiopia or Vietnam or Malaysia or Nepal or wherever in exchange for living expenses.

    Money's great, but there's far more to be had in satisfaction. Damn, I've changed in the last 3 years. I'm hoping for the better.

  • I live in a not-particularly-nice part of Cardiff, though it's not exactly scumsville either. We recently received a council survey which asked about our total household income (which I've now discovered is in the country's top 90%).

    The survey asked whether we received in a year less than £5k, £5k-10k, £10k-15k, £15k-20k, £20k-25k, £25k-30k or £30k or more. The fact that the council didn't even bother asking about amounts more than £30,000 was quite revealing – there must be some properly skint people around.

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