Understanding disparity around us

solidpro Posts: 446
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edited 1 August 2022 at 5:28PM in Praise, vent & warnings
Having a bit of an existential moment... bear with me. Also searched for the best 'category' to post this in and this is the best I could find.

I listen to talk radio a lot, twitter, talk to friends (albeit in similar bubbles to me) and I've absolutely first hand witnessed energy bills quaroupling, shops closing down, homelessness, foodbanks etc. However I live in Milton Keynes, which is a very 'retail' rich town and if I have to go to the shopping centre on a Tuesday morning, I am absolutely staggered at the amount of people with heavy shopping bags, getting their nails done, eating in restaurants (which in my recent experience is never less than £20 per person, if you're disciplined). I also see this in other places like Bournemouth, Southampton, London...  We ate out recently - 2 adults and 2 kids in a really low-rent pub and it was £100. Same a few days later (we were trying to have a holiday which meant eating out) and it was £120. We kept saying 'thats 10 day's food shopping we just spent'!

I've heard people crying on the radio because they're so desperate to even turn the cooker on. I'm just amazed that each end of the spectrum is so different and the gap in the middle seems so vast. Trying to put some meat on the bones of what I hear in my bubble, it seems to make sense that hundreds of thousands, if not, milltions of UK people in private and public jobs have seen massive real-term pay drops in the last few years and with fuel and energy skyrocketing, that can only be hugely crippling.

I thought of this when I saw the post threads in 'savings in investments' - so many starting with something like 'have a lump sum to invest' or 'easiest return on huge pot'.... Is it mainly people inheriting capital from old people dying in very very overpriced houses that get sold off?

I may be answering my own question - am I simply in a lucky bubble, in a bubble town in a bubble part of the UK or are the amount of people unable to afford a £4000 increase in their energy bills (for example) tiny, but we hear about it more so in the information age? Frankly, one minute I am amazed that there isn't rioting in the streets, and people smashing the windows of huge companies making huge profits whilst putting up a poor person's energy bill from £1000 P/A to £5000 P/A. And we essentially have had no functioning government for about a year now. And the next minute I'm thinking 'of course nobody is rioting - they're eating £50 lunches in Pizza Express!'

I try to invest every last penny I have left over each year, but right now it seems nothing makes sense. Do you lose 9% to inflation because you're waiting for some more certainty in investments or do you lose 9% investing too soon? If I was wealthier, the obvious thing to do is to put all our money somewhere very boring (like Switzerland!) for a while. 

Or....final thought is this simply the bitter ending of 'capitalism didn't win, it just failed last'?



  • solidpro
    solidpro Posts: 446
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    edited 30 July 2022 at 10:46AM
    eskbanker said:
    solidpro said:
    I thought of this when I saw the post threads in 'savings in investments' - so many starting with something like 'have a lump sum to invest' or 'easiest return on huge pot'....
    In terms of threads on this forum, it's worth bearing in mind that this board in particular isn't representative of the population as a whole, whereas one like the debt-free wannabe board paints an entirely different picture!
    I will go and have a dig around... Also, I'm not convinced in my own mind that if I drove anywhere in the UK which was listed as the most impoverished, I would notice anything different from, say 2006 or 2012. Except less libraries and police :/

    Could it be, that it takes 50 years for this country to turn into the future shown in 'Children Of Men' than just 10?
  • enthusiasticsaver
    enthusiasticsaver Posts: 15,281
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    As others have said this board is not the typical UK consumer and yes I too still notice people shopping and eating out as indeed we do too.  Energy bills are due to go up but for the majority of middle and higher income people it will be a question of tightening the budget rather than giving up food or turning the cooker off.  As you say the poorest will be the ones to suffer most or those who have little leeway in their budget either through over extending on debt or who have costly lifestyles and frozen income.  For most of us though the higher bills have not yet kicked in and we are in summer where less fuel is used anyway.  I check my direct debit with British Gas every month and it has gone down four months in a row and we have almost £500 credit on our account even though we are on SVR. I am sure we are not the only ones. 

    We have a vast section of people in this country who are either very good at putting their heads in the sand or who take the view that luxuries are essential and whether this continues when the autumn and winter higher bills start remains to be seen.  We will save less towards holidays probably and eat out less when the bills start to rise again.  We use the cars less too and are better at meal planning and food shopping now we are being more careful. 

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  • Brie
    Brie Posts: 9,251
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    A year back before all the energy thing kicked off and the struggle in the Ukraine all the whinging was about the "poor" young people who are working so hard but would never be able to save for a down payment to buy a house.  And all because they have the latest iPhone, have 3 Starbucks a day, and have avocados on toast very morning for breakfast.  And there are some people like that on the debt boards who do need the obvious pointed out - if you are in debt you can't eat out, you can't have the latest tech or a sky subscription.

    I think the canny amongst us were already tightening their belts and the rest of us are following suit but in our own fashion.  Some will make more adjustments as it's MSE, others because it's that or insolvency.  I won't be surprised if there are protests but I also won't be surprised if they are relatively small as most of us just wouldn't bother.
    "Never retract, never explain, never apologise; get things done and let them howl.”
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