Sep. 7th, 2011

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Today I had a very interesting conversation with a dear friend in the USA. Her job involves some complex permutation of health insurance, and as part of it, she deals with "clients" (families) working out their healthcare solutions and options. Often her "clients" are retired. She often goes to their homes for consultations and she says:

"People in these affluent neighborhoods have no savings, a lot of them are living on pension income. Only two out of five households have any retirement savings. In the affluent neighborhoods, none. Which is freaking me out. You can't tell from the curb anymore... Keeping up with the Joneses has cost these families a lot. It's very depressing. The people who are supposedly chic and fancy are broke as all get out and filing for bankruptcy. So it's redefining what success means in pop culture."

She went on to observe that she enjoyed visiting her clients in working-class neighborhoods more, because the economic news there was generally better: that was where she found the savers.

She also praised me for budgeting, even though I am spending all my money this month on home repairs (removing some rot from a corner of the house.) As I type this, an updated dishwasher (new to me, used) is currently gently caressing its third load of dishes. Seeing my drinking glasses come out immaculate is so delightful that I will happily stay home, amusing myself by letting the machine wash the dishes.

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tyellas

December 2012

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