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Deborah Risbridger, 45, has run her own PR consultancy, DRA Public Relations, for more than 20 years.She lives with husband Paul, 46, and their three children under ten.
‘We did all we could to keep the charade going,’ says Deborah, though they were frantically selling their cars and cashing in their endowment policies and pensions.‘There was definitely a sense of shame and I remember feeling that I’d failed in some way.As I walk down London’s Westbourne Grove, it suddenly hits me.The world looks the same, but my life as it was a decade ago is over.A top-of-the-range Audi as well as a Range Rover sat on the drive.Their two children were privately educated and they holidayed in the Caribbean and Dubai.By 2006 their incomes had dropped, but their outgoings hadn’t.
To add to the problem, their properties were all heavily mortgaged, with little or no equity remaining.
My partner and I started a new business and we borrowed and borrowed and bought a country house alongside the two we owned between us in London.
We practically rebuilt it while I fussed over the kitchen, oohing and aahing over Farrow & Ball paint and butler sinks.
In reality, a vast chasm yawns between us and, well … Some of us still have bags of money, some of us can’t afford to take a cab home. It’s as if thousands of middle-class people are dangling in mid-air, legs waving.
We’ve been ejected from our old lives, but we’re desperately resisting hitting the ground with a splat.
Like me, the Risbridgers came of age in the Eighties.‘Paul and I are Thatcher’s children,’ Deborah says.