When you’re young it’s easy to assume that, eventually, you’ll get a job and earn good money. But new research has found that instead, high debt and reliance on parents is becoming the new ‘normal’.
When I was at school, I thought it was a given that I’d eventually leave education and get a job so I could buy a car, a house, and all those other grown-up things my parents had.
However, new research from The Co-operative Group has found that those assumptions have become a pipe-dream for many. More than four out of five 18 to 30-year-olds still receive financial support from their parents.
Falling short of independence
Apparently student loans, credit cards, loans and overdrafts are the main sources of debt for this group, but I can’t say I’m surprised. In the Which? Spending Power Index, we found that young people have been the worst hit and have seen the greatest decline in their spending power, mainly due to increasing housing costs including rent and bills.
I have to admit that, when I was young, I didn’t have a clear concept of what a good salary was, so my goals may have been more modest. I still know many people who use their age as a benchmark – for example, they’d like to be earning £30,000 by the time they’re 30.
But the study revealed 18 to 30 year olds are actually earning £7,000 a year less than they thought they would be, in relation to their age and education. On top of this, two-fifths of those people said they were dissatisfied with their lives, believing they should have achieved more.
Are young people aiming too high?
So, we have a group of young people saddled with debt, generally dissatisfied with life and struggling to gain their independence.
And I can certainly sympathise – I’ve had to take the odd loan from the bank of mum and dad myself. I also have a number of friends close to thirty who still live with their parents, because they can’t afford to move out.
One friend has found it almost impossible to get a job with a salary above £16,000, despite earning her degree more than seven years ago. She’d always planned to be running her own business by 30, but has yet to start paying off her university debt.
It doesn’t sound like an ideal situation for parents or their adult children. But should the younger generation have to re-evaluate their expectations? When you left school, how did you think your life would pan out? Has reality matched your plans so far?