‘Rich House, Poor House’ is a British TV show which features different families from opposite ends of the economic spectrum to trade lives for seven days. A family that ranks in the top ten per cent of Britain's wealthiest households trades their home, lifestyle and budget with a family from the bottom ten per cent. In an episode, a couple broke down when they were offered help to clear their £25,000 debt in a real gut-punching moment.
The episode saw Ed and Tracey Llewellyn, and their kids Mikey and Millie, meet Ladisclav and Qi Horning, and their daughter Mischa. Ed works on property management, while Tracey works at the pub next door. Their house rent costs them £1500 per month, and also an additional £200 on council tax.This leaves them with merely £100 a week to live on.
Whereas ‘The Hornings’ Family’ have high-flying finance jobs providing them with a luxury to spend £2,300 per week on food alone. They also boast of a five-bedroom Rickmansworth mansion, worth around £1.5million. Despite this, Mischa complained, “My parents don’t really play with me a lot and they are always saying they are old and they don’t have any time”.
Therefore, the families had to swap their houses along with their expenditure for seven days. The show showcased The Hornings’ struggle in adapting the new lifestyle. Qi didn’t even know how much a medium-sized bag of potatoes costed. While pouring over their finances, accountant Ladisclav struggled to understand how they manage to cope with their sky-high rent.
It all came to a head at the end of the episode; where the two families sat down to discuss their experiences. Ed opened up about his £25,000 debt and about bailiffs knocking on the door asking for the cash. He explained them, “Unfortunately the property market crashed and it left me with sky high debts that I couldn’t pay. I can’t afford to provide the things I want to for my family, it breaks my heart.” Ladisclav made him a wonderful offer. “I will arrange for you, if you want to, for you to have a chat with our people in London, in our office. Specialists,” he told the couple.
At the kind gesture, Ed broke down into tears, sobbing: “I’m a proud man, and it hurts me when I’m not giving them what they need. This week has reignited the fire inside me to do better for my family.” It became apparent that while Ladisclav and Qi have a generous income, they have missed parts of their daughter’s life as she’s grown up. Qi said, “You don’t have much time with your children. I miss her school events, parents’ evenings. I feel guilty all the time.”
Ladisclav told them both: “I think that your children have the biggest treasure which is two loving parents, don’t they?” Qi nearly shed some tears too, adding: “You know, what matters for life is happiness.You have achieved that. That is something that money really can’t buy.I think after this week we should appreciate more what we’ve got, especially Mischa. It’s changed me a lot”