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June 25, 2009



"But unless you’ve worked at high incomes, or known well those who have, how would you know this?"

Maybe they deduced it from the absolute lack of consequences for the fantastically remunerated incompetents in the financial sector.

If one can utterly fail at one's job on every conceivable level without suffering any practical loss or hardship at all it seems unlikely that that job would either require ceaseless Stakhanovite effort or be a particular source of stress.


Your personal experience on point two is interesting, Chris. You "felt better" for downshifting, but put another way, didn't you feel better for moving to a less stressful situation? For you, that was downshifting, but for others that could as well be promotion.

And incidentally, I would suspect that the top 2% of earners could downshift significantly and still afford kids, else how am I managing it?

All of which is utterly tangential to the point of another of your insightful posts, but still.

Surreptitious Evil


It isn't the children themselves (although from experience those range from the expensive to the perilously ruinous) but the public school fees.

As Chris says here, these are pricey - £20000 per year in fees plus £lots in additional costs is going to lead to needing, per child, well above the median national wage in pre-tax income. Have a couple of sloany sprogs, a London mortgage and you are looking at £100k being "relatively poor". Certainly, school fees planning (at a posh but day school) for their brood was a major preoccupation for a previous boss and his wife and definitely drove their career decisions.

On the more general side, I have always felt that one of the main messages you need to get across as a parent is that the world is not fair and that you just need to cope with it. And has anybody thought just how unattractive a 100% 'fair' world would be?

Steve Hemingway

Education costs for those of us who live outside the catchment area of good schools are truly crippling. This is why some of us are so obsessed about the failure of state schools.

The main argument in the post, however, is compelling. Thanks for producing such consistently thought-provoking, insightful posts.

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