Tuesday, March 20, 2007

EBay Determines The Age Of True Materialism. It's 29.

You don't get any special cards or badges to mark the date - but that doesn't stop 29 being one of the most important years of your life.

At least when it comes to shopping. New research carried out by internet auctioneers eBay has found that the year of waiting to turn 30 is when we are all supposed to be at our earning and spending peak.

It's said to be the year when we are finally earning decent money and haven't yet got the marriage, mortgage, kids or responsibilities to spend it on. According to the eBay poll published this week, 29 is now the age where we are at "the age of true materialism", and when we are all out frittering cash in a stormof conspicuous consumption.

Psychology expert Professor Cary Cooper of Lancaster University said: "The work by eBay and Datamonitor identifies this true age of materialism as 29 years old.

"The pressure to keep up with the Joneses and to have the latest gadget, item of clothing or finest wine is something many of us aspire to in today's materialistic society.

"However, with the increase in commitments in later life restricting spending, it appears many of us are making the most of our cash and spending for fun in the late twenties."

Famous 29-year-olds currently include Anna Friel, Audrey Tatou, Ruud vanNistelrooy and KirstyHume.

The average 29-year-old annually spends £2354 on food, drink and takeaways' £836 on clothes and shoes, and £496 on electrical gadgets like straighteners or PSPs.

By 29, it is suggested, most of us will have cleared our student loans and youth-accumulated debt, and hopefully worked our way up the career ladder to be earning enough to pay the rent and bills and have a little wahoo money left over.

But is the shopping spree simply a case of financial means coinciding with lifestyle opportunity? Or could the spending splurges be related to pre-thirties anxiety? We asked two 29-year-old Scots for their thoughts.


LOUISE MARTIN doesn't believe 29 is the best age for shopping - she's too busy saving and trying to build a career.

The aspiring actress from Edinburgh works as a receptionist to help pay the rent, but she keeps all her spare money for acting classes to help further her career.

Louise likes shopping but says she hates wasting cash on expensive items and prefers a good bargain.

However, she adds that she is too young to settle down and enjoys the freedom of her age. She said: "I don't think I'm a typical 29-year-old as I don't drink, I resent paying lots for clothes and I'm not thinking about settling down at all.

"When it comes to shopping, I tend to see what looks are in and fashionable - then I find cheaper versions on eBay or in charity shops.

"Because I'm trying to get into acting, I keep most of my money for lessons.

"A lot of my friends are thinking about getting married and mortgages, but I'm still too young to be tied down.

"I don't agree with the report about materialism - it's just not me."


CIVIL ENGINEER Michael Dineen, from Paisley, could be a walking advert for the joys of being 29 and fancy free.

He does own a flat, but isn't tied down by his property and spends his spare time either in the shops or down the pub. He said: "I wouldn't disagree with the research, because having left home and finished university, my salary has increased over the years and I'm free to do whatever I want as long as I don't go too mad and end up in unmanageable debt. I have my own flat, and have a pension through work, but I don't feel tied down or unable to have fun. "You never know what life has in store for you, but I want to enjoy the moment as much as I can."

Michael admits he spends sometimes as much as £300 a month on clothes and socialises whenever he can.

He added: "When I was younger, I thought I'd be married by 29, but I'm happy with my life right now."


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