Talking money at the moment is a difficult balance. I’m often asked questions when interviewed starting “as we’re all struggling at the moment…”. Yet of course that simply isn’t true, in fact, in many ways we’ve never had a more polarised society.
The recession’s bite is primarily about income & assets, not expenditure…
Most of the problems people are currently facing are due to income issues – such as job loss or pay cuts – rather than cost issues. Of course for some – often older people on the state pension – specific inflation and cost issues are still high, but that’s a constant rather than a recession based change.
That means mainstream society is divided into two camps:
- It’s good for…
For those in stable jobs, i.e. in the public sector or anywhere there hasn’t been pay cuts, with variable rate mortgages, this is probably as good a time financially as it gets. We’ve got prices dropping, companies fighting for business and a true buyers’ market in many things.
- It’s bad for…
Anyone who’s lost their job or is working for or running a struggling company, and of course with unemployment now at 2.1 million that has grown rapidly and radically.
It’s also bad for those relying on their assets, such as property and shares, as (on paper only for many) they’ve plummeted in value leaving people feeling much less wealthy.
I think it’s important to keep this balance in mind. There are certainly more people struggling and with serious problems than before, yet that doesn’t mean everyone is.
Though of course it’s sexier for the media to cover extremes. Throughout my career I’ve fought the fact that whenever any TV programme wants to cover “debt” they always go for a severe case. Actually that’s both not representative of most people with debts, and more importantly requires a completely different approach to deal with (see the debt help guide for an explanation why), thus as a case study it doesn’t give most viewers decent take home information.
Trying to cater to this current financial schism is interesting; here on the site we’re trying to keep a mix of items, so we may have the redundancy guide next to an article on using cashback cards, as catering for both is important. Therefore, when I (rarely) spot one of the team using such absolute phrasing I scratch a red line through it.