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: 2011-12-08 15:16 (UTC)
kalypso: (Numbers)
From: [personal profile] kalypso
Of course - and at the other end there are people so rich they never need a mortgage in the first place, who probably constitute the 1%. But although I didn't expect the survey to cover every possible contingency, I was surprised it was quite so simple, and didn't ask questions like "have you dependents?" and outgoings other than council tax. Leaving those out meant that it underestimated my level of financial comfort. I know that I'm very, very privileged (though the super-rich would no doubt think I'm poor).

Even more detailed surveys tend to miss something not-common-but-significant-to-me, eg one I did on my carbon footprint gave me a very favourable score because I don't have a car or take many foreign holidays - but the only question it asked about my house was about the insulation, and not whether it was a family house occupied by a single human, which is my primary ecological crime.

Date: 2013-01-26 14:21 (UTC)
mair_in_grenderich: (Default)
From: [personal profile] mair_in_grenderich
most surveys - this one included - don't seem to account very well for people who live as lodgers. How many people are in my household - do I count the other people in the house or not?


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

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