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.