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Saturday, 9 October 2021


Martin Jensen - author of How to Keep Fit Without Exercise and How To Get What You Want ruefully examines the current plight of middle class Australians.


You are the average, middle-class Aussie husband married with two kids. You earn $80,000 per year. Perhaps $100,000 if you are fortunate. A princely sum ten years ago but now the average wage. Still, on the face of it, you're much better off than some.

Deduct the mortgage and insurance, kid's schooling or school expenses, rates, taxes, repairs, payments to plumbers, electricians, lawyers, tax agents, computer geeks. Plus medical expenses: dentist, orthodontist, optometrist, physio, podiatrist...

And then there's the cost of getting around. Car registration, petrol, road tolls. NRMA, tyres, batteries, servicing…

And don’t forget groceries, chemist, shoes, clothing, gym subscription, birthday presents, holiday expenses, motels, restaurants, entry fees to exhibitions, and that child in Kenya or fire-damaged Koala your wife has been conned into paying XX dollars a week to support, although everyone knows that she is funding more expensive commercials to make the organizers rich.

Then there's planned obsolescence. The fridge, washing machine, clothes dryer, stove, hot water system, mower, hedge trimmer, heaters, aircon, vacuum cleaner and hot blanket will fail at factory specified intervals.

Forget expensive hobbies. Sky-diving will have to wait. Tennis lessons for the kiddies have to be put on hold. Forget the caravan and jet ski, the opera subscription and scuba gear. And you'd better quit coffin-nails or thousands more dollars go up in smoke. 

So it's important that no one in your family becomes seriously ill, develops psychological problems, is involved in car smashes, falls off a ladder or otherwise injures themselves. Because that initial $80,000 has now been spent several times over and you are looking at a second mortgage on the house. Or, God help us, slinking in to a payday lender!

They say freedom is when the wife's divorced you, the kids have left home and the dog's died. But not financial freedom. You've married someone you now hate, given her half the house plus landed yourself with a maintenance burden that will possibly sink you. And next you're supporting two families. No, there's no way out.

Is there a moral to this story? Yup.

Being born is our first mistake.


You can source Martin's books on Buzzword.


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