There was a very interesting article on Yahoo, from The Telegraph, which was titled ‘I earn £125K – and it’s not enough’, and I think it highlights perfectly how an unbalanced relationship with money can affect anyone.
The article is obviously there to generate an emotional response, and for a lot of people who are really struggling financially, the response will probably be pretty blunt. I’ll let you read the article and decide what you think.
For the purposes of this blog, I want to focus on the relationship with money, and the money beliefs that are associated with it.
Do a bit of Googling, and the average annual salary in the UK for full-time employees is around £30,000; let’s say two people in the household are earning the same, you’re still way below the £125,000 per year mark that these people seem to be struggling so hard with; so, how can someone be earning so well, and state that they are not living comfortably?
I think a lot of people live above their means, whatever level of earnings they’re at, we will always stretch just that bit further past the safety line of what we can afford comfortably; the problem with living over the safety line is that it can become very difficult if things change in a way that applies negative pressure to the situation.
As soon as money problems hit, we often focus on loss, and that is certainly the case in this article when they list what they have lost, had to go without, or are struggling to maintain. It seems very trivial in the grander scheme of things; a Cleaner! T.V. subscriptions! Holidays! Private Schooling! Holiday Clubs! Extra-Curricular Activities! A very expensive house! Would losing these really mean you can’t live comfortably?
Ask anyone, and the hardest thing is to cut costs, no matter who you are, or what you earn, when it’s time to trim the costs, it’s really hard, especially in a family situation, where emotions can run very high, it can literally feel like the world is coming crashing down.
Single words are often very powerful and can come with a whole load of emotions attached to them; what those emotions are, and the energy behind them can be very different for different people. To one person, living comfortably is just being able to heat the home, or feed the kids; but to others it really is all the trappings listed above.
It’s easy to judge people who have money, who then complain because they are struggling, but it’s worth remembering that most didn’t just have a bag of cash land in their lap, many will have had to work very hard to get where they are, and it is that level of work and commitment that makes it hard to give things up. You also do not know what their money story is, have they come from poverty, or have their parents struggled financially in the past? As I teach in my coaching and my Make Peace With Money programme, past money traumas can have a huge impact, and so the idea of slipping backwards can be terrifying.
Just because you have money, it doesn’t stop you feeling overwhelmed, anxious, and stressed around money; the best way to look at it is that we are all working at different levels, and whatever level you are at, money will impact you on a mental and emotional level.
One of the problems with the world today is that we have to put people into categories. We are often very quick to brand people, which in turn makes them feel they must live up to that branding. These people have suddenly been moved from the top of one category, to the bottom of another, it’s like someone else has changed their identity, and that would be difficult for anyone. Now, in their position as being at the bottom end of their new category, things are looking decidedly unfair when compared to where they were. They are now designated as the wealthy, but they say they don’t feel wealthy; there are people in their new category earning much more and being punished less.
I remember watching a T.V. show with Freddie Flintoff, where he was going to teach cricket to kids in his hometown of Preston; the BBC promoted it as helping ‘Underprivileged’ kids (a phrase that Freddie himself described as disrespectful). On one episode a group of the kids were reading up on programme they were part of, and found it confusing, almost insulting, that they were being seen as underprivileged; in their mind, they weren’t.
Yes, the people complaining in the article have a long way to go before they are really living uncomfortably, if they spoke to someone using a food bank or going hungry so their kids can eat, then they may realise that Disney+, and a cleaner are not exactly essential for living comfortably. In the article, one person states that £65,000 a year simply ‘plugs the gaps’, which to some people would seem laughable. It’s a completely different reality.
I do sometimes think we all need to stop and assess where we are, especially where money is concerned; we are so trapped in a society that keeps telling us what we need, what we must have, we’ve sort of lost the essence of what life is really all about.
The focus is on being successful, earning loads of money, because that will make you happy. The idea that money brings happiness has its truth, but even when we get it, some still aren’t always happy, so they get more, because maybe they weren’t at the right level for true happiness, they push harder, the lines of what it is to be happy get blurred with glitter and glitz. Start putting barriers in the way of that growth, and that’s when panic, anxiety and depression can come in, because their quest for happiness just got harder.
Yes, money is important, love it or hate it, we need it, it’s a part of life that’s here to stay, so we need to learn to live with it better. There is the saying that “The love of money is the route of all evil” (1 Timothy 6:10), and I believe that is true. Money can do wonderful things when put to good work, it’s just remembering what that ‘good’ work looks like.
It’s why healing your relationship with money is so important, so many of us make our way through life with our head down, ploughing onwards in our quest for happiness, we’re often so busy with work and life, that the relationship with money suffers, money becomes a need, a necessity, survival rather than a means to an end.
One thought on “Earnings – How Much to Live Comfortably?”
Thanks for sharing this thought-provoking article on the importance of a healthy relationship with money. It’s essential to remember that everyone’s situation is unique, and we must avoid judgment and focus on healing our relationship with money.
founder of balance thy life