If you usually spend more than £8 on a bottle of wine, you shop at Waitrose, and you ski, then apparently you're rich. A study for Quidco asked people to name the things that marked out wealthy individuals, and the findings are fairly amusing. Unfortunately, they are also slightly alarming.
The research seems to have been conducted with its tongue firmly in its cheek, so it's important not to take the findings too seriously.
A number of the 38 items that apparently mean you're wealthy just refer to the kinds of expensive things that you have to be wealthy to afford. These include having a brand new four-wheel drive, an indoor pool and gym, wearing hand-made suits, spending more than £500 on individual items of clothing, sending your children to private school, having a housekeeper and a second property, and having so much land you refer to it in 'acres'.
Another raft of things include the kinds of lifestyles we associate with 'posh' people like sending the children to riding lessons, going skiing, ordering a Christmas hamper from Fortnum & Mason, and eating Goose at Christmas rather than Turkey.
There are, however, some more alarming things in this report. The findings show that we believe only wealthy people "never have to check your 'available funds'." It demonstrates an assumption that unless you're very wealthy, you are bound to run out of money towards the end of the month. It suggests that having any kind of safety net is impossible for normal people to achieve, so when we face even minor unexpected expenses, all but the very wealthy will be in trouble.
It report also found that people think having investments is a sign you are rich. The rest of us, apparently, have no need to save for the long term.
And while it's easy to dismiss this kind of study as frivolous, the impact of these kinds of beliefs can be very damaging. If we excuse ourselves from putting money aside for the future, or from building a small cash safety net because that's 'only something the wealthy can afford' then we're in for some nasty financial surprises.
We may as well have told the researchers that signs of wealth include being able to buy food at the end of the month, pay an unexpectedly high gas bill and heat the house when we retire.
But what do you think? Should we be worried, or is this just a bit of fun? Let us know in the comments.
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