Lives of the rich and poor

One of the funny things for me about being a barrister is that some of my colleagues are so rich.

Last week one colleague unburdened himself to me about how his life was an endless treadmill.  He had calculated that he had to earn about $770,000 just to keep up. This included, in addition to the debt servicing on and upkeep of his upper north shore mansion, an annual superannuation contribution of $100,000, not to mention the private school fees for three children, an in his eyes “modest” budget allocation of $20,000 a year for holidays (actually, for a family of 5 I suppose that is not so extremely extravagant), etc etc. 

I tried to keep a straight face as he spoke of annual figures which exceed my entire capital worth.

On the other hand, in a number of FPA matters where the competing needs of either welfare recipients or the working poor are concerned, almost everybody seems to have a credit card debt of $12,000. 

Today the penny dropped: with personal debts and credit card limits of $10,000 being offered to pretty well anybody as a matter of course, $12,000 is probably just where it ends up.  You (well I know, not necessarily you) gradually let the debt run up, the bank lets you go outside the limit a little, but at $12,000 you reach a kind of homeostatic point where you can keep servicing the interest, but the bank won’t let you borrow any more.  Of course, the bank could cancel the card and require you to pay it all back, but it’s probably not worth it for them to sue you or send you bankrupt for that amount and the debt is worth more to the bank as a source of interest than as an unlikely prospect of forced repayment.

So don’t ever say that lawyers don’t get to see life.  We meet all sorts.

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