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Issue of the day: Can you live on £60,000 a year?

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HOW do you define wealth? A Mumsnet conversation on the cost-of-living crisis has gone viral after the contributor said she was struggling to live on £60,000 per year. Meanwhile, novelist Tony Parsons sparked debate by suggesting earning £150,000 per year does not equate to being “super rich”.

If you are not au fait, Mumsnet – founded in 2000 – is the world’s biggest online forum for mothers, a one-stop shop for everything you need to know for pregnancy and beyond.

It has become increasingly political?

Back in 2006, politics came more to the fore when then new Tory leader, David Cameron, became the first politician to answer questions on Mumsnet and since then, it is seen as a key demographic to win over during election campaigns. Debate about politics is a daily feature – Liz Truss is currently a hot topic, with one conversation titled, “Liz Truss – what’s her game?”

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Now there is a cost-of-living debate?

There are many on the forum, but one has attracted particular attention, with the most ‘views’ in the past few days. The contributor wrote, “I earn £60k and I can’t keep my family warm”, adding: “Yesterday I got an email from bulb putting my direct debit up again from £290 to £470. It was £120 two years ago. On top of everything else going up I just categorically cannot afford to pay that. There isn’t enough money by £149 a month to cover the bills for the household.”

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On £60k?

Saying that she lies in a ‘4 bed Victorian semi- in a rural spot in “one of the cheapest areas in the country”, she adds that her husband is a stay-at-home-parent to avoid childcare costs and that she is now considering cancelling paying into her pension. She adds that she is “very frightened” and putting off having another baby due to the cost.

Advice?

Mumsnetters suggest her partner finds a job at night and changes her energy supplier, while others were uncertain over her claim, saying it “sounds a bit strange … average wage in the UK is far less than this. £60k a year is £3600 a month take home.” 

So, can you live on £60k a year?

Everything is relative one supposes, but novelist Tony Parsons managed to spark a separate discussion when he questioned the definition of “super rich”. The 68-year-old author of “Man and Boy” told his 51,500 Twitter followers: “If you think men and women earning £150,000-a-year are the ‘super rich’, you need to get out a bit more. It is okay for you to envy, resent or even loathe someone earning £150,000 a year, but please don’t confuse them with the ‘super rich’. Most of the top tax earners are just working stiffs like you. And I will say this for ‘em – it is mostly THEIR taxes that pay for our country”.

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How did that go down?

The discussion went viral, with one poster saying that having earned £4k as a full-time carer for her late mother, “£150k is a fortune and I would love to earn a fraction of that”. Another agreed “100 per cent”, adding: “This country needs their tax payers”. In response to the emotional reaction to his comments, Parson added: “The ‘super rich’ don’t earn 150 grand a year. They earn 150 grand a week.”

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