Of all the animals of prey, man is the only sociable one.
Every one of us preys upon his neighbour, and yet we herd together.
The Beggar's Opera: John Gay

Sunday 2 November 2008

The Rich Are Different

Here in Newgate we know a thing or two about debt, so it was with interest that we read about the repossession of luxury homes in Dorset's Millionaires' Row, Sandbanks. In fact the total number of repossessions was two and, since one is owned by an investment company and the other is a third home, it's a safe bet that nobody is being left homeless.
The Times included this helpful quote from the author of several well-known guides to house purchase and buy-to-let;
"High borrowing is not just the preserve of the poor or those on modest incomes. The wealthy or aspirational have often taken on the biggest mortgage they could get....it can all come crashing down if a job is lost or bonuses vanish, and it can be even more distressing because of the previous perception of wealth."
Even more distressing than what, we ask? The impact of repossession on the 'poor or those on modest incomes'? How does one measure distress? Do the 'wealthy and aspirational' feel disappointment more? Was Scott Fitzgerald right; are the rich different?

Meanwhile, I am grateful to jonny mac's finely honed intellect for pointing out that the city traders mentioned in my last posting must have been on minimal salaries for their kind. It would indeed appear that they were aspirational rather than wealthy, and, what's more, bad enough at arithmetic to be completely surprised by the size of their monthly repayments, which probably goes a long way to explaining why neither received a bonus this year.

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