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Editor’s take: Don’t worry, you’re still rich (relatively speaking)

Console yourself with the fact that 99% of people are probably poorer than you are, says Sarah Butcher.

It might not make much difference if you’re about to lose your job and are lumbered with school fees, a large mortgage and a shopaholic spouse, but this should prove cheering if you’ve just received a bonus the size of a Poppet: as long as you earned 100k last year, you ranked in the top 1% of the population.

This cheering snippet comes courtesy of the Institute for Fiscal Studies, which also offers a handy calculation tool to establish precisely where you fit into the UK’s income hierarchy, based upon the costliness of your dependents.

The 100k figure is, in fact, for household income, meaning that compared to the bulk of the population, a household comprised of two mid-ranking settlements staff, or a senior product controller and someone on a paper round, is fabulously and inconceivably rich.

This should prove all the more uplifting given that numerous studies point to relative rather than absolute income as the source of eternal happiness.

In one such study, run by Swedish academics, respondents were asked whether they’d prefer to live in a society where the average income was 30k and their descendant earned 25k, or one in which the average income was 20k and their descendant earned 23k. Sixty percent went for the impoverished option, just as long as their offspring was richer than the rest.

The evident problem in the City is that even if you’re earning six figures, you’re still mightily worse off than the 0.1% of people identified by the Institute of Fiscal Studies whose households earn 780k+, a disproportionate number of whom work in ‘finance, property or the law’.

Fortunately, the solution is simple: if plunging markets, insecure jobs and flat bonuses are getting you down, take a trip to Hackney. Or better still, befriend a school teacher or two; be thankful for what you’ve got.

Comments (17)

Comments
  1. ‘Fortunately, the solution is simple: if plunging markets, insecure jobs and flat bonuses are getting you down, take a trip to Hackney. Or better still, befriend a school teacher or two’.

    What an awful suggestion. How far gone are you Sarah?

  2. How is it possible that I’m in the top 5% of the population for take home pay (according to the IFS) and yet still can’t afford my own home?

  3. Finance is by its nature an industry that lives off the talents, effort and hard work of others.
    I, like virtually everyone I know working in finance, am paid far in excess of what i generate for society.
    I am however realistic enough and grounded enough to realise that.

  4. Ridiculous article.

    If you are like this ..

    ‘you’re about to lose your job and are lumbered with school fees, a large mortgage and a shopaholic spouse’

    and don’t realise that possible redundancy is a part of life in finance then you deserve everything thats coming to you.

  5. Why would l want to befriend the poor.What an appaling article.Is this some sick joke, had to fire the fire one of the 2 full time nannies yesterday.Not funny.

  6. Stupid article, We (couple) bring home escess of 100K a year and we own a 3 beds room Flat worth 400K in luxury residence in Hackney, Yes 400K in Hackney… The authors doesn’t even know Hackney… The gate to the City….

  7. What a lot of complaining!!!

    I don’t think many of the people who have commented here realise how lucky they are to have got into the I banking industry in the first place.

    As a student I am currently having very little luck getting any job in the finance sector at the moment, especially I Banking. I hope that I am not the only one who feels it is a bit rich for those who already have good jobs to still complain about it…and the nice house they live in?

  8. ???????? Yep my future redundancy worries have certainly been eleviated by your “cheery” article
    Your logic wol also imply that the teacher in hackney should stop moaning about his/ her lack of pay and on their 6 months holiday a year, befriend a starving family of 10 in a famine ridden country in Africa….

  9. 400k in Hackney? Presumably there must be some nice areas, but let’s face it, it’s a bit of hole…

  10. This study is pretty meaningless as it only looks at the income side of things and totally overlooks the expenditure. For eg., although I am on the 98% in terms of income, and despite my having to share a flat, a third of of my post tax income is taken up by rent and rates- havent even touched food and transport. Do I feel like I am one of the almost elite? yeah right, I am working to keep a roof over my head. Meaningless study.

  11. You are boasting about having a 400k “luxury” property in Hackney? 400k is pathetic, even 22yo grads get better property than that. If you earn 100k+ why would you have such a low mortgage? And 100k between two people is pathetic too, again you have 2nd year grads making more than that. A 23-24yo Associate can get a 700k property somewhere nice. Some of you are so deluded.

  12. Oh for goodness’s sake – it’s a bit of light-hearted relief after the misery of low bonuses for the majority this year. I don’t think we’re supposed to get our panties in such a bunch over a simple suggestion to count our blessings. School teachers DO earn less than the majority of City workers and Hackney DOES have large areas of poverty – those are facts not an actual call to action to make friends with schoolteachers and ASBOs. No wonder City workers have a reputation for being a bunch of humourless stiffs!!

  13. Nicely written! The part in the end made me laugh- go to Hackney to see how well off you are…

  14. I earn marginally in excess of 100k, live in Hackney and am married to a (head) teacher, who earns 45k, and find the suggestion made by this author, and other commentators, quite offensive. There is an underlying assumption that money = happiness. Only a fool truly buys into this. The concept of linking money to happiness only serves to gilt trip people into excessive consumption as a demonstration of their status. Yes, money does give you more choices in life, but to think that money alone can make you happy, and that the poor and unhappy because of this, is extremely naive and only the most shallow or insecure individuals actually think like this. I will admit, that for some people, the acquisition of things such as Rolex Watches and Porsche cars does genuinely seem to make them happy, but think about anyone that you know who is actually like this I’ll bet they are probably a tosser. Just for the record, Hackney is 95% hole, but there are some very lovely, and expensive, bits. Well one nice bit actually, and those that know N London know exactly where I mean.

  15. You damn a** b***hs!!! Leave the editor alone! She’s not saying literally go to hackney or literally embrace a teacher. Its just saying be cool, its the very nature of the City, and we’ve been here before. Keep things in perspective.

    And to the chap who claims it to be a simple solution- are you looking on a website for solutions to your problems?

    In short lets not vent our frustrations on random things- like I’ve been seeing recently of late in the square mile- non-finance and finance ppl are being treated with spite and frustration.

    I do get the point- someone poor, in trouble, or say, has an illness etc doesn’t want to hear that they are better of than others- it doesn’t help you- but its meant to try and give you a macro view of your problems- which is a fair way to look at it.

    ANDDD lol another thing- the person who said, “I had to fire a two nannies yesterday!!!” Are you so involved with your work problems you cant see how stupid that contradictory that statement is??? Or are you so arrogant that you feel that having a nanny is NOT a privilege? I’m sorry but growing up I didn’t know anyone with a nanny!

  16. ANDDD lol another thing- the person who said, “I had to fire a two nannies yesterday!!!” Are you so involved with your work problems you cant see how stupid that contradictory that statement is??? Or are you so arrogant that you feel that having a nanny is NOT a privilege? I’m sorry but growing up I didn’t know anyone with a nanny! We simply locked up tight while our folks worked 100-hour weeks and still we were below the poverty line. (Yes… Shock! Horror! People outside of finance also work long hours!)

    Anyway, be light, have fun, dream big! Now THAT’S a solution ;)

    It took two postings- but Ive got time to kill ;)

  17. People need to get their priorities right. I recommend you read “Affluenza” by Oliver James and wake up to yourself.

    affluenza, n. a painful, contagious, socially transmitted condition of overload, debt, anxiety and waste resulting from the dogged pursuit of more. (de Graaf [1])
    affluenza, n. 1. The bloated, sluggish and unfulfilled feeling that results from efforts to keep up with the Joneses. 2. An epidemic of stress, overwork, waste and indebtedness caused by the pursuit of the American Dream. 3. An unsustainable addiction to economic growth. (PBS [1])

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