Spend it like Beckham-repay it for the rest of your life

So the Beckhams have finally set off to the Hollywood Hills of California – some would say their spiritual home – in order to seek further fame and fortune in the US. Brand Beckham is on the warpath stateside and the publicity machine has been swinging into full flow in recent weeks.

Doing sarong thing

Aside from their day jobs as footballer and pop personality, the Beckhams are also famous the world over as style icons. Who can forget David’s brave outing in a sarong, a million magazine covers featuring the tanned and pouting Victoria, or the launch of their eponymous fragrances which allowed us lesser mortals to douse ourselves in the smell of their success?

It is fair to say that Rodeo Drive – home to some of the most expensive boutiques in the world – can expect a visit or two from the swanky couple. Mrs Beckham is a self-confessed shop-holic and the astronomical wages her hubby is earning from his stint with LA Galaxy will surely find a welcome home in the tills of Tinsel Town’s most up market clothiers.

Everyone wants a bit of bling these days

Unfortunately for most of us, admiring Beckham Ltd from afar is about the closest we can realistically get to their fairytale – but that hasn’t stopped people from trying. A report released this week by investment company Fidelity said people attempting to emulate the fantasy lifestyles of celebrities such as the Beckhams were laying the foundations for "poverty in retirement".

Get your priorities right

The company conducted a survey and found that nearly half of the adults who say they cannot afford to save for retirement are profligate spenders when it comes to luxuries. For example, the average household’s annual spend on alcohol is £769, restaurants and hotels account for £1,098 and £1,180 goes on clothes and footwear.

Perhaps most significantly, the average household also spends £3,542 a year just paying off the interest on debts. One financial analyst has estimated that people paying off an £1,800 credit bill at minimum monthly rates are going to be paying the debt off for 30 years.

A bargain isn’t a bargain unless you really need it

So what are people spending all this money on? According to one recent study, the answer is ‘things they don’t need’. An Abbey Savings survey found that Britain has collectively spent £169 billion on pricey luxury items that often get under-used or never actually see the light of day at all.

Shoes for her, gadgets for him

The average British adult was found to have acquired £3,685 worth of "pointless purchases", spending on unnecessary or unneeded clothes, fine china and shoes. Women are the worst offenders in terms of clothing (58 per cent compared with 40 per cent of men).

However, males were the worst for spending on unnecessary gadgets and technologies – 28 per cent own a video camera or games console that is hardly ever used, compared to 25 per cent of women.

Reza Attar Zadeh, head of savings at Abbey, said: "It seems that the majority of Brits aren’t making their assets work hard enough for them. With 64 per cent of UK adults having bought a big ticket pointless purchase, we’d recommend that people consider carefully where they are investing their hard earned cash."

Spend a little, save a lot – or at least a little

Simon Fraser, president of institutional business at Fidelity, says "it all comes down to choices".

"Live for the now and cope with old age poverty when it hits or make a few lifestyle tweaks based on the possibility of living until we are 100.

"Purchases of designer brand watches recently exceeded ISAs and it seems many are choosing to emulate the lifestyle of rich celebrities like David and Victoria Beckham even though we won’t be able to retire like them."

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