How much is that lifestyle in the window…


has anyone read this? It’s an article which costs out the dream future  lifestyle of a bunch of New Yorkers under 30. 
I only found one completely unreasonable, which would cost $750k a year.

the others were around $150k to $250k per year, which is only achievable if the couple are both in high paying jobs. 

How much would a dream London lifestyle cost?

4 bed house in zone 2,  3 kids in a good private school, 2 holidays a year, a cottage in the countryside, cleaner 3 times a week, saving £6k a month, 2 decent cars.

Assuming mortgages on the houses, basic private schools and cars, and no other living expenses save for those in your example then you would need to clear circa £250k after tax - or starting salary of £500k per annum. Bearing in mind there would be other costs of living (and with this lifestyle) most likely to need £750k or above as a salary


In other words you would be in the 0.1% of the population 

Isn't this pretty pointless?

I'd like private jets and be playing up top for united but it's not going to happen 

Ones lifestyle should always cost less than 60-85% of income, then you will always be rich 

Yes that means you need to be earning more than average and yes that is massive privilege 

Your error is that you only need a flat for the odd night in London and then a nice house in the country which is far cheaper than having a house in London and a cottage in the country.  For the price of my five bed swimming pool extravaganza with room for a pony in Sussex you can only get a three bed terraced house in most of London.

There is no such thing as dream lifestyle.  Our society is so designed that whatever lifestyle you achieve you dream of a better (for which read more expensive) one.   

5 bed house in zone 2, 2 kids in a good state school, 2 holidays a year, no cottage in the countryside, cleaner 1 time a week, saving £7-8k a month (incl pension), 1 mediocre car

We do this for about triptun gross.

4 bed house in zone 2,  3 kids in a good private school, 2 holidays a year, a cottage in the countryside, cleaner 3 times a week, saving £6k a month, 2 decent cars.

The entry point for this is roughly half a million net a year so thick end of a million gross. 

At current interest rates the mortgage on the London house is likely to be 100k pa repayment even with a realistic slug of equity in it (admittedly there are bits of zone 2 where it would be less but it would be a hell of a lot more in some others). 

Another 100k for the schools fees in London including extras and keeping up with the joneses a bit for the kids. 

say 20k a pop for the holidays. 

The cleaner barely moves the needle but say 10kish. 

another 30k a year for a relatively modest country place (assuming they have a mortgage).

72k for the saving

30k for the cars.

That GBP382. But if they are living like that they would be unusual if they spent less than 10k a month between them and the kids on food, clothes, utilities (on two homes), insurances (on two homes), maintenance (on two homes) tech, hobbies, gym memberships, eating out etc

In reality almost nobody without family money lives this in the UK for obvious reasons.  The normal set up would be that the cottage in country was inherited and they both got gifted big deposits for their first flats which means the mortgage is only six figures on the house. Their parents are probably picking up half the school fees as well and maybe letting them use their ski chalet for one of the holidays. 


I think the article is helpful/interesting in laying out the expenses needed to maintain a place you own, and how much it takes to keep up with the Joneses even just with respect to your children's classmates.

Its articles like this, and the responses remind me why so many working in professional services , work themselves to death, just to service debt, most of which is unessecary , and live month to month, despite grossing 500k. @DDS

1) Cars 30k can easily be reduced to 15k or £1250 PCM Replace them every 5 years, as opposed to every 2/3

2) Why is it a must to live in Zone 2? You can still have the big house in Z3/4 and reach Waterloo in under half hour when required. A £1.5mm mortgage on a £2mm property  on a 5 year fix with Halifax is £8900 PCM, Or £106,000 PA

3) Ditch the countryside cottage, they are mostly unused, and rent for a week as required

4) School fees - send them to a day school 15k x 3 = £45k PA or £3750 PCM. Even better send them to an excellent state/grammar. ( I think Tiffin Grammar ang Kingston Grammar are free)

5) 2 holidays for a family of 5 doesn't sound too bad at 20 k each. £40,000 PA or £3333PCM

6) Save and pension 8k a month  or £96k PA ( In reality professionals who like to keep up with the jonses , tent not to save, but just spaff on bollocks

TOTAL £25K a month. on £300,000 you take home £24,000 pcm. I think the various items are very generous and can be chipped much further still. It in equal measure saddens me, and makes me laugh to lawyers and bankers working like loons, constantly servicing debt, just to stand still, and effectively living month to month like a profilgate NQ Solicitor. Who and why would you want to keep up with the jonses , madness.

A longtime school friend had his parents die in quick succession both from cancer. He was a Rothschild MD,, he and his sister both attended local state schools. She worked for Mckinsey 3 days a week as a partner equivalent. They were left with about 400k in cash/shares, ISAS between them. The house was mortgaged to the hilt, because they had expenditure like the OP and DDS posited. All that after 25 years of 90 hour weeks in his case. Mad

I do wonder how some of my friends with kids afford their lifestyles as I'm childless and earn a similar amount but rarely finish the month with anything left over.

Indeed sails, people sem to have kids with impunity, just bang them out, without a second thought.

They "afford" them by having everything on strap, owing 50k plus on credit cards, having 30 k in unsecured loans, and a 20k never reducing overdraft.

"ey were left with about 400k in cash/shares, ISAS between them. The house was mortgaged to the hilt, because they had expenditure like the OP and DDS posited. All that after 25 years of 90 hour weeks in his case. Mad"

As it turned out it worked out well for them - surely better to spend your cash while alive than amass it for when you are dead?

My only debt is a £50 a month car loan which I have kept as it gives a guaranteed future value for the car. That’s the key - finance on house and car requires £200k of earned income. Obviously we can’t live debt free until we have paid off mortgage - but real step to financial freedoms is overpaying mortgage rather than treating it as a financial tool to make money elsewhere.



Of course it can all be chipped at ffs and fecking obviously you can live on less!  Your figures aren't realistic though. 

Top London day schools are all over 20k before extras and those extras will be significant. 

You won't get two cars of the sort that people who send their kids to those days schools tend to drive for 15k a year etc. etc.

You can obviously rent a cottage in the country for a couple of weeks a year more cheaply than you can own one. But that's not the same thing. 

I guess the point, to the extent there is one, is that what I suppose I would describe as the "TV drama dream" (i.e. the way affluent, but not super rich people are portrayed as living, which drives a lot of people's aspirations) actually requires pretty vast amounts of money.  I think a lot of people are implicitly sold a bit of a fib about what a 'good job' will get them.

Does that matter?  Maybe, maybe not. I think to some extent there is a semi hidden truth of British society that (because of the way labour is taxed compared to capital) working very hard to be successful in a job doesn't get you very far in most cases and the vast majority of the people living anything close to the 'TV drama dream' are doing it using (very lightly taxed) inter-generational wealth.




DD the "TV drama dream" (and I know exactly what you mean by that) is reasonably attainable if you live in a cheap region and steer away from expensive private schools.

@ roger, sorry you are correct its 425k.

@ Parsnip, I have not a penny in debt,  and haven't  had any debt for 10 years, its liberating.E two mortgages, both with relatively significant equity in them.

I'm not sure it is.  If you live in the regions your salary is lower and your expenses are lower, but the wealth you're left with at the end when you retire/die is also lower so you are likely to end up cutting out your kids from anything in the South East or wealthier countries.

Cars are much the same price as well, as are holidays. It's only really housing that is a win (plus fewer opportunities to spend money on going out, but then it's not like for like). 


My point is that if you live away from the SE and send kids to state school what you need to live that aspirational middle middle class lifestyle you are talking about is is very very different.  Not commenting on how easy it is to earn it but for example a dual income both on £100,000 (attainable pretty much anywhere in the country in many walks of life including eg GP)  would buy you a very comfortable middle middle class life in much of the country with a detached country house decent holidays etc.

Parsnip council tax varies massively and is generally much less in areas with big urban centres versus mainly rural counties.  In Sussex I paid five times what I paid in London partly because it's a bigger property but also because the cost of resurfacing the road I live on is split between 20 households rather than 200 and similarly the dustmen cost the same but empty a bin every 200 yards on my road instead of every 5 yards on an urban street.  Things cost the same but that cost is spread between far fewer people.

dual income both on £100,000 (attainable pretty much anywhere in the country in many walks of life including eg GP)  

be interesting to know how correct this is outside the SE  

If you live in the regions your salary is lower and your expenses are lower, but the wealth you're left with at the end when you retire/die is also lower so you are likely to end up cutting out your kids from anything in the South East or wealthier countries.

Well yes but you can’t have absolutely everything - if your goal is to leave a lot of wealth to your kids that is going to see you making quite different choices in life. Guy is right that living in the north for example would see you very comfortable indeed on significantly less money. The housing cost difference is absolutely huge, you can buy a £500k house in the NE that would cost at least twice that in the SE.

True up to a point.  If you were two GP's each working full time and earning 100k a pop that would be roughly 135k take home.

Even if the mortgage is only 40k per annum once you take out say (say) 30k for the holidays, 15k for the cars and 10k for the cleaner it doesn't really add up. Certainly not if they need meaningful amounts of childcare. 



Sails - you lived in Wandsworth - known to be pretty much the cheapest band in the country.  I understand there are differences - but you're only adding to the argument that the cost of living (other than buying a property or renting) is not massively different wherever you choose to live.  

That is unless you subscribe to the idea that if you live in london that you must "do" post work drinks twice a week, and fine dining once a week etc etc.  The reality is that other than housing, its not that different. 

And, it may be news to many that a million doesnt get you a big detached country pile in a whole lot of places - and if you get one of these, you'll find that your heating bills and other bills are higher than your place in london (which is warmer because of its location and population).


40k per annum is pretty big. That would be what a £600k mortgage so a 7-800k property for most people. That would be a very very good property around here - think like a 6 or 7 bed. And 10k for the cleaner? 800+/month? Just not sure anyone really needs to spend as much as you’re saying for an affluent lifestyle.

i dont think the 500k thing is necessarily true, i remember looking at tynemouth and being surprised at the price, was expecting 250-300 to get something decent, miles off

It largely depends on your expectations - I don’t save anything like 7-8k per month as mentioned upthread and I don’t ever expect to. But then I don’t really think I need almost a hundred k in savings p.a. so that doesn’t particularly bother me

I doubt it would be actually possible to spend 800/month on a cleaner here. Reckon ours costs about 20/hour or something. How clean do you need your house to be exactly

In that case you should probably stop moaning all the time about needing a pay rise chimp smiley

It all comes down obviously to what you think of as an affluent lifestyle/what people's aspirations are. The big difference in the regions is (generally speaking) lower peer pressure/peer induced expectations about things like holidays/eating out. 



Parsnip Wandsworth is cheap but I also lived in Lambeth which is not and what I pay in the country is over double what I paid there because you just can't provide services as cheaply in a rural area so council tax is always load more expensive in properly rural areas.  If you choose to live in a small county with a number of big urban centres like Hampshire your council tax will be less than if you live in somewhere like Cornwall.

As for the cleaner.  There speaks a man with no children! Wait until you are in your in 5 bed house with 3 kids and dog in the countryside!  10 hours of cleaning a week will soon start to seem like not much1 

Just had a look and if I moved within the county to Brighton I'd pay about 30% less in the same band because the population density means the local council there can provide services at a cheaper cost per household than where I live in a part of the county full of small rural communities with a very low population density.

You can bang on about expensive holidays and restaurants all you like but very few people care to much about that - what keeps people’s nose to the grindstone is house prices and privet education.  That is why outside the south east you won’t don’t many people working after 6pm

DDS 30 k for holidays wow! Two junior partners at DLA or Eversheds on 150 k in the north can live extremely comfortably, more so than two partners on 250k each in London .

what Chimp said . A mate moved to Deloitte in Manchester as a director . He’s on 120k, his better half is a headhunter on about the same all in . They are glad they made the move . 500k 4 bed house they bought in Didsbury , small mortgage, plenty of savings , and disposal income . What is not to like .

@ebit - if your mate is moving to Manc from London does he (and his better half) anticipate earning less out there? 

@ROF - how common is it for both of a couple to be on £100K (or whatever) each?  I'd hazard a guess that in most household incomes of say £150 upwards the majority (guessing say 60 to 75% or so) is likely by the "primary provider"). 

Its pretty rare. 

You can always have more and want more - and things are only comfortable when you have enough to deal with an emergency and not worry stuff.  Few people are in that situation - particularly with the thought that mortgage interest rates may stay higher for longer - and that is going to hurt some people when they have to refinance.  

VAT on school fees (for those that partake) is also going to sting for those currently paying them. 

There were plenty of people earning 300 or 400k and more at my previous place who were also very scared to do anything because they needed all of that each month just to stand still.  That's quite shocking - to me anyway.  

I was called financially illiterate a few months back for saying that a strategy where you live within your means and you pay down all debt is better than one where you hedge and borrow against your house to invest.  Yes, you can make lots of money if it goes well, but you can lose everything if it doesn't.  If the aim of life is to keep you and your family warm, dry, fed - and then entertained - its probably a better strategy than rolling the die on bitcoins etc. I just bought a car.  

In that case you should probably stop moaning all the time about needing a pay rise chimp 

Heh, well I would certainly need a huge pay rise if I were living in the SE to come close to a fraction of any of these figures. That’s a big part of the reason I don’t live there. My standard of living would cost a LOT more in London 

yes that too. in a way I consider it lucky that I’m northern because I don’t have that sense of the north being a barely inhabitable land of wailing ghosts that a lot of southerners seem to.

She could do her job from the cheapest place in the U.K. 

so all or the great majority of client/candidate contact being via email or Zoom is OK.  Surprises me a bit, but, well played if that's the case.  

If I have a solution. Cut your cloth accordingly, live well within your means , and put significant sums away for a rainy day. oNE POSTER FACTORED IN, FINE DINING AT LEAST ONCE A WEEK.

Mugs. family of 5, that is circa 30k saved just there.

Who the hell spends £30k per annum on holidays…?

We are going to a fab 5 bed villa wit pool in Italy this summer for 2 weeks, which for 6 people incl car hire and flights is working out at about  £5,000 all in. 

Can’t imagine anything duller than “visiting galleries”.  Filled with the sort of people that go to galleries and tell you about it,  And I used to work 5 minutes walk from the Louvre.    Visiting Etruscan sites though…

£30k pa on holidays does seem like quite a bit. Maybe you could go once a year instead of twice - that’s an extra £15k of net income right there! Could get one and a half cleaners with that.

We can finally now get away outside school hols.

Planning to eat out once a day, but happy to go to small local restaurants rather than splash the cash on anything fancy.

Kids and their partners will chip in and pay for a few meals as well.

I was that soldier spaffing huge amounts on holidays.  After a particularly expensive and unpleasant stay, did the sums and bought where we liked to be.  Lot in France where the land is rented out and we get income to pay for upkeep and fresh produce whenever someone is staying. Our shack in Greece is for beach and boating time.  Fecking buttons and helps "pay" for housekeeper costs as an offset. Both are on three month lets over winter to the people we bought from as part of the deal.  I reckon it has been a six year breakeven. Buy second hand cars and maintain.

I really don't miss burning cash with nothing to show for it.

But I suppose you need to go through the spaff period....