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Consumers overspend to keep up with peers

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17/04/2008

More than a third of Brits overspend in order to keep up with their wealthier peers, according to CreditExpert.

Research from the credit reference agency found that many Brits are guilty of judging people’s financial situation when they first meet them, with jewellery and choice of clothes coming in as the top indicators of other people’s wealth.

More than a third (34%) of Brits judge clothing labels as a sign of eminent wealth, while 20% think that jewellery reveals a bulging bank balance. Furthermore, gadgets such as iPods and BlackBerrys cause 11% of consumers to spend beyond their means in order to look good in front of friends.

Jim Hodgkins, managing director of CreditExpert, said: “The desire to keep up with friends isn’t new and there is always a temptation to use credit to do so. But using credit to fund a lifestyle you can’t really afford can lead to huge financial problems and if you don’t keep tight control of your spending and how much you’re borrowing, you can easily find you can’t afford the payments and start to fall behind with them.”

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