Keeping ‘down’ with the Joneses

Keeping ‘down’ with the Joneses

New research out today has revealed a new socio-economic trend of ‘keeping down with the Joneses’2. An estimated 7.3 million thoughtful Brits3 claim to have either downplayed or lied about their financial situation to friends, family and colleagues in recent months due to sensitivities surrounding the economic downturn and its impact on people’s personal circumstances.

The survey by insurer esure questioned over 1,000 Brits to find out how the current recession was affecting recent spending habits. Research found that the notion of ‘keeping up with the Joneses’ and bragging about costly purchases is becoming increasingly rare, with over half (54 per cent) of those polled believing it is now insensitive to boast about or ‘talk-up’ their finances.

Despite the UK recession, over a fifth of people polled (21 per cent) said they have not changed their spending habits at all. In fact, over one in ten (12 per cent) are considering a new car purchase this year, a third (33 per cent) are still planning on going on holiday, and 21 per cent are considering home improvements.

The research shows that although many people are still spending money, they are consistently downplaying their wealth with 10 per cent of those surveyed having fibbed about the real price they have paid for something to make it appear cheaper or having hidden a financial success. An estimated 10.4 million Brits4 admit that they would not tell their friends or family about a bonus or new promotion at work.

As opposed to boasting about wealth, nearly a quarter (23 per cent) of those polled said they were actually more likely to show off about a bargain purchase than excessive spending since the credit crunch hit. A further 60 per cent said they regularly share money saving tips with friends and family as opposed to only 4 per cent that would discuss expensive outlays such as a new plasma TV purchase or planned loft conversion.

Mike Pickard, Head of Risk and Underwriting at esure, said: “Brits are no longer striving to ‘keep up with the Joneses’, instead they are downplaying financial success and even fibbing about spending to be mindful of others and not stand out amongst their family, friends and colleagues.

Bargain hunting and sharing money saving tips has never been a more popular topic of conversation as personal finances remain at the forefront of people’s minds. Shopping around for the best deal and switching is a great way to save, especially when it comes to car, home and travel insurance.”

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