Two of my children work in retail, both part time. That is not because they want to work part time, at the moment it’s all that is on offer and now the Christmas season is firmly over they will both be lucky to retain the offer of any hours at all.
They were both working on Boxing Day although they managed to avoid the 4.00 a.m. start that was required by one retailer who shall remain nameless but shouldn’t take too much working out. The holiday was disrupted but they were true to their contractual obligations and turned up when they were asked.
My eldest son is 21 and still lives at home.
At 21 years old I was the head of department for the UK subsidiary of a major Japanese magnetic media manufacturer. I had five staff reporting to me and I reported directly to the UK managing director. My salary was about £9K per annum, not particularly spectacular, but the house I was looking to buy was £30K and that was a four bed roomed terraced town house in Maidstone, Kent.
That meant that I was able to save a £3K deposit and could easily get a mortgage for the remaining £27K. I remember very well waking up in my own house on my 22nd birthday, independent and looking forward to working my way up to even better things.
That same house was recently sold for £176,000. My salary of £9K in 1984 would equate to about £24K today. So if I were a young middle manager in today’s market, I would not be able to buy my own house and would even struggle to rent somewhere reasonable.
To do what I did my children will need to be earning a salary of at least £47K (the UK male average is about £32K depending on which stats are used) and will need to save a deposit of about £35K, to buy an ‘average’ house in Norfolk.
My children are starting to ask me more frequently ‘what the point is?’ They are willing to contribute to society but are finding that all roads to independence are blocked by financial hurdles that appear to be insurmountable, and they are not alone. There are thousands perhaps millions of young people in this position all asking the same kind of questions and not getting much in the way of answers, just more questions, including;
Why are you ‘binge drinking’?