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Weekend reading: Other people’s earnings revealed

Weekend reading

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Other people’s salaries are an enduring subject of interest, and rarely for good reason. Happiness does not lie in the way of discovering your best friend from University makes twice what you do, however much you try to eschew such trifles.

Call me petty – someone always does – but it’s a scientific fact that most people are happier earning slightly more than their friends, as opposed to a lot more than strangers.

For this reason I’d suggest The Guardian‘s huge recounting of the ONS’ annual bonanza of salary statistics should come with a health warning.

It might be fun to discover a dentist makes £60,098, slightly more than an air traffic controller on £56,800, but if you’re a humble ‘broadcasting associate professional’ on £40,000 and your dentist sister married an air traffic controller, you could have the hump at Christmas.

I can’t help being amused that it’s The Guardian that has printed these findings. If Daily Mail readers enjoy getting indignant over some strumpet flaunting her stuff at Ascot, there’s nothing that piques a Guardian reader like another person’s salary.

(Hmm, there go half our subscribers from across the political spectrum in just one paragraph!)


The gross median full-time salary in the UK for the year ending April 2011 was £26,244, up 1.4% year on year. Overall though, once part-time workers are included, median salaries increased by just 0.5%.

The total number of full-time workers fell by 380,000 in 2011, with 72,000 more part-time employees reflecting the shift for many towards part-time work.

With inflation still running above 5% and the house price inflation ATM on the blink across most of the UK, it adds up to the tightest squeeze for decades.

Here’s that link again to The Guardian article.

Blog articles about money and investing

Deal of the day: Half the people I know seem to be reading A Game of Thrones. The four-book boxed set is just £18.84 on Amazon, which is £1 cheaper than the Kindle edition – and both are 50% off the high street price.

Mainstream media money

  • The Euro zone: Is this really the end? – The Economist
  • UK houses 20% over-valued, but look at Belgium! – The Economist
  • Investment trusts have beaten the market with less risk – Motley Fool
  • Neuro-economics: Brains vs Keynes – Slate
  •  Hedge funds are deep into ETFs… – Institutional Investor
  • …perhaps that’s why they track the market – WSJ (and Salmon)
  • …yet people still clamour to get into them! – FT
  • The funds facing Hargreaves Lansdown’s platform fee for first time – FT
  • Mark Dampier of HL defends modern fee structure / transparency – FT
  • Synthetic ETFs face uncertain future – FT
  • Firm aims to clawback £10,000 in trail commission – FT
  • Enjoy an income from investment in infrastructure – Telegraph
  • £32,700: What a family needs to earn to get by – Telegraph
  • Average pension fund trades entire portfolio every 9 months! – Telegraph
  • Japanese market seems cheapest for 20 years – Independent

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{ 4 comments… add one }
  • 1 Financial Samurai November 26, 2011, 2:19 pm

    Thanks for the highlight mate.

    You might enjoy this article for the other week better given the topic. There’s over 100 comments now!


  • 2 The Investor November 26, 2011, 3:45 pm

    Cheer Sam, will check it out. I’m close to being back, by the way. By 2012 I think I’ll be ready to step up again!

  • 3 Jonathan November 27, 2011, 1:15 pm

    The guardian do some great analysis of financial lifestyle aspects. I’m just glad to be in a job at the moment, especially with all the uncertainty of the current financial climate. I can also see us heading for a double dip recession unless the Government start to loosen the purse strings just a little.

  • 4 The Investor November 28, 2011, 11:35 am

    @Jonathan — Yes, these are more testing times than I expected us to be in, mainly because I underestimated I think the impact of the credit crunch on bank lending going forward. (It will be interesting to see if Osborne’s new £20billion loan guarantee package can help). I still don’t expect anything like a Japanese Ice Age however, which some do.

    I’ve written before that I think the Government should be spending on infrastructure while it can borrow so cheaply to shore up economic activity. The clear danger is you get ‘bridges to nowhere’ and other expensive white elephants, but surely we can all think of bits of Britain that are crumbling that could do with a makeover.

    Helping counter-cyclical spending in the short-term while cutting long-term spending and entitlements (e.g. raising the state pension age and so on) is the best balance in my view.

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