Every once in a while I find an article or study that makes me embarrassed to be human. At one point in our evolution we would have given an arm and a leg to be able to feed ourselves and our families for the day. These days, we equate wrinkles to starvation. Even with stocks down and job losses up, vanity beats out frugality.
According to a new study, nearly three out of four plastic surgeons reported that demand has increased or held steady for minimally invasive procedures, including the Botox antiwrinkle drug, dermal fillers used to plump up lips and smile lines, and skin-smoothing chemical peels, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, a professional group representing 6,700 surgeons.
Case in point:
“Maralyn Burr of Omaha, Neb., in June lost her job as a district sales manager for bookstore chain Borders Group Inc. Ms. Burr, who is $140,000 in debt from her 22-year-old daughter’s musical education, says she has slashed spending and all but stopped eating out. But she hasn’t given up her Restylane and Botox injections. “It’s like comfort food,” she says.” – Keeping Up Appearances in a Downturn, Wall Street Journal
Doesn’t that make you just a little sad to be human?
Ok, so I’m about two years late to post this, but it’s still fairly relevant. NY Magazine did a series in 2006 called The Spending Diaries about 6 different people at different income levels, with a breakdown of where their money goes each week and how much they spend.
It’s a bit annoying that their “poor” representative is a MFA candidate whose parents pay for his tuition AND housing. He’s getting by on $20k just fine in various income sources above and beyond a free education and apartment.
Crazy how much all of them spend per week. I dream of being a millionaire, but if I was, I can’t imagine spending as much as these people do.
Then again, I don’t live in New York.
Yesterday, the state of California posted an 8.4 percent jobless rate, the third highest in the U.S. According to The Los Angeles Times, The state lost a net 41,700 jobs in November. The rate is at its highest level since 1994 and puts the state behind only Michigan and Rhode Island.
Last month, U.S. employers slashed 533,000 jobs – the most in 34 years – as unemployment rose to a 15-year high of 6.7 percent, reports the San Francisco Chronicle. With the high rates of job loss in my state and elsewhere, everyone is watching their piggy bank. Closely. For workers who lose their jobs, health insurance options are limited. The San Francisco Chronicle reports that (As most of you know, I’m fortunately employed, but as a freelance worker with pre-existing health conditions, my options for health insurance are fairly non-existent.)
It isn’t helping matters that in California, the state’s financial crisis means that traditional safety-net options, such as public health programs and clinics, are being cut back or threatened by the state and national budget crisis. It’s true California’s estimated $41.8 billion budget deficit needs to be fixed somehow, but with the current state of the economy and rates of job loss in Cali, it’s a tough time to go cutting public health programs.
…so says a new report by the AARP. In a survey of folks ages 19-39, the majority of them didn’t seem to be worried about credit card debt, or the fact that they weren’t saving enough for retirement.
I’m glad that I surfed on to An English Major’s Money blog about two years ago. I don’t remember how I got there, but reading her blog and other PF blogs made me feel more confident about investing and saving. I was almost too ashamed to invest or save at that point, given that I had money tucked away already. But then I realized how I needed to start making that money work for me, and not to feel bad for doing so.
But most 20-somethings are dumb about these things. If they’re lucky, they’ve got an employee-sponsored 401k plan with match, and they contribute some of their earnings to that because their employer recommended it and salesman from mutual fund firms came and pitched the horrors of not being prepared for retirement in order to sell their high-fee funds. Unlucky and they’d be in credit card debt with no savings, no “emergency fund,” and definitely no retirement fund for the future.
I’m so grateful to the personal finance blogging community for getting me on the right track.