We lived in hope, but do our children?

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’?

3 comments for “We lived in hope, but do our children?

  1. 5 January, 2012 at 17:19

    This topic is one of the largest issues within the young people I work with, but what is often not discussed is the mindset which is bred from the apparent ‘lack of hope’. Victim culture is a massive issue, however when this barrier is broken through, the young people find great freedom in the personal responsibilities they take. Our education system is slowly moving to recognize the need for education in base life skills, determination, motivation and self belief. There is no denying that the future is tough and competitive for our young, but with the right education in mind science it is still possible for them to live happy and fulfilling lives. :)

    • 5 January, 2012 at 18:58

      Many thanks for taking the time to reply to my blog! I am not suggesting that the majority of our young people are suffering from a ‘victim’ culture. The mathematics are however difficult to avoid. They will often want independence, their own living space and the opportunity to work towards starting a family. None of this will be possible if they are not able to earn enough to provide themselves and their potential family with somewhere to live. There are even reports now of many people resorting to credit and ‘payday’ loans to pay mortgages and living costs. Many are also using mind altering drugs such as alcohol in an attempt to make it feel like it has all ‘gone away’. Practising acceptance of ‘what is’ may indeed mean that many will be able to lead happy and fulfilling lives, and that is great news but in my view a ‘market realignment’ in living costs in long overdue!

  2. Peter Hanley
    5 January, 2012 at 10:57

    Why drink? Before reading this blog I guess I was just about as clueless as many other people. Watching people spend a small amount of good money to get plastered and quit the mental tyrrany of modern society.

    And then your blog gave me a clue. People buy the drink because at least it is something they can buy; and unscrupulous profit focus retailers make it easier for them to buy booze. But houses! They’ve become less affordable, as your figures show. So who organised that one! And why? And how? Oh dear just more questions. I must be beginning to sound like your children!

    Fact is, we all like to do something with our money. And for some, if they can’t buy the little castle, then why not rent one, or better yet get the government to rent it for them, and then there is more money for the affordables!

    I wonder what will happen to food? Will the price of that be accelerated? Like the price of travelling on trains to work! Ha there’s a double irony!

    No wonder the alcohol industry is doing so well, that’s all that’s left that fits a sensible economic model; affordable, lots of customers, easy distribution etc. Ah well that’s sorted then. Let’s all drink alcohol, and not work, travel or eat food. Simple!



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