rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
[personal profile] rmc28
Last week, Mark Pack posted an interesting graph showing the percentage of the UK's wealth going to the top 1% over the last century. It shows a clear upturn in that share from 1979, but nothing in 1997. Unfortunately it stops in 2000, and I'd really like to see what if any difference was made when Labour stopped sticking to Conservative spending plans after 2001.

Also in that post, Mark reminded me of research he discussed earlier in the year indicating that the richer you are, the less rich you estimate yourself to be. I remember Terry Pratchett talking about this once, about how the gradient of richness went up so steeply that even as a multimillionaire, there were people who made you feel poor. It was too easy to look up the slope at the person above, than remind oneself of all the people below.

"Most people would describe a dollar millionaire as rich, yet many millionaires would disagree. They do not compare themselves with teachers or shop assistants but with the other parents at their children’s private schools." - from an Economist special report on the global super-rich.

The IFS has produced a handy tool: Where do you fit in? which allows those in Great Britain to find out how relatively rich or poor they are compared to the rest of the country.

When I took this in 2009, I would have put our household (me, Tony & Charles) at about 70% - in fact we were "in the 9th decile", thus rather proving Mark's point. I have been trying hard to change my thinking to accommodate this since then.

I retook the IFS test this year after being reminded by Mark Pack's article. It's been updated with more recent figures, and we are now in the 10th decile, and richer than 96% of the population. We might not feel 'rich' but that has a lot to do with looking up the slope at those richer than us (and no doubt also a lot to do with choosing to buy an oversized house in a housing boom in an expensive part of the country.)

There is a big chunk of me that is squirming about 'boasting' about being rich here. I'm deeply uncomfortable 'flashing my cash'. But I think rich people not realising how exceptional they are is pernicious, especially when it comes to their reactions to suggested changes in tax and benefits.

Date: 2011-12-07 23:56 (UTC)
ailbhe: (Default)
From: [personal profile] ailbhe
Actually, I just realised that my feeling pretty rich while at "better off than 53-55% of the population" is *exactly what you're talking about.* Silly me.

Date: 2011-12-08 13:06 (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
We own a house and are paying off a mortgage, which makes me feel rich in itself. And we never, ever have to worry about food bills. And we are on one income with three children.

One of the biggest things that makes me feel rich is never having to set money aside for medical costs - I never need to find €50 for a GP appointment ever, and that cuts our incidentals down a lot.

Date: 2011-12-08 13:07 (UTC)
ailbhe: (Default)
From: [personal profile] ailbhe
That was me.

And another thing - I would have put us in the same bracket as you, not least because I have a vague impression that you work for a university and therefor MUST be worse off than private sector salaries, mitigated somewhat by there being two of you with salaries. Hm.
Edited Date: 2011-12-08 13:16 (UTC)

Date: 2011-12-08 13:36 (UTC)
ailbhe: (Default)
From: [personal profile] ailbhe
Gosh. You are MUCH richer than us, unless Rob gets massive bonuses.

Date: 2011-12-08 14:30 (UTC)
kotturinn: (Default)
From: [personal profile] kotturinn
We (rmc28 and fanf on 9, me on 8) are on higher scales on the spine than many of our contemporaries in IT in the University. For comparison, many (possibly most) of the people who were on the same scale as me pre the single spine, and who don't work for one of the 'big' institutions that fought tooth and nail for their [support] staff, are now on Grade 7, and anyone taking a new job on that grade is more likely to be appointed towards the bottom of that grade than the top.

What it means for me is that I have sufficient 'headroom' to offer financial help to members of my family who are not so fortunate.

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rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
Rachel Coleman

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