Inflation, economic crisis, costly housing and poor mental health – what a great time to be young

Little thought is being given by our government on how exactly we young people are supposed to cope

Furvah Shah
Saturday 21 May 2022 15:43
Comments
<p>Some of my peers are struggling to find work two years after graduating</p>

Some of my peers are struggling to find work two years after graduating

The cost of everything is rising, we’re in the middle of an economic crisis, a global pandemic is ongoing, the housing market is abysmal, mental health issues are skyrocketing and the climate crisis is literally burning up the world. What a great time to be 22.

While the current cost-of-living crisis is affecting everyone, young people are more likely to be financially precarious and are therefore disproportionately impacted compared to older people. So, when they attempt to advise me on saving money, or I see politicians like Rachel Maclean tell people to “work more or get better paid jobs”, I can only roll my eyes at how badly out-of-touch some are with the issues young people face today.

My generation grew up in the aftermath of the Great Recession, likely didn’t get to vote on Brexit despite it impacting our opportunities and spent most of our university degrees over Zoom – yet we are still expected to build a career, get on the housing ladder and function as new adults.

As I hear my email notifications ping about yet another property alert for an absurdly-priced London flat costing more than a house deposit in the 1970s, I can’t help but feel a whole generation of Britons are being ignored. The average age of a first-time buyer has increased to 34, while in the 1990s it was 29. The dream of owning our own home is becoming unrealistic for most of us.

And though employment levels are rising back to pre-pandemic levels, wages have remained stagnant compared to rising housing and living costs, leading many of us to continue struggling with financial insecurity. Almost half (47 per cent) of 16 to 24-year-olds said they had difficulty managing to make ends meet each month, according to a survey by the RSA, and close to a quarter said they don’t think they will ever feel financially secure.

To keep up to speed with all the latest opinions and comment, sign up to our free weekly Voices Dispatches newsletter by clicking here

The economic crisis has taken a heavy toll on the mental health of young people or worsened pre-existing issues. Three-in-five young people are saying their current housing situation affects their mental health, and over half worry they won’t be able to live comfortably or without financial support in the future. Nearly half of 18- to 24-year-olds say their mental health has “significantly worsened” since the first Covid-19 lockdown.

Despite all this, I feel that little thought has been given by our government to how exactly we are supposed to cope. Support is less accessible for younger people in work, and social housing is like rare gold mines.

As I look at my peers, some of us are excelling in our careers while struggling with crippling mental health issues, others haven’t been able to find a job in their desired industry over two years after graduating. Others are barely getting by.

So, for now, all I ask is for older people to stop asking me when I’m buying a house or why I look tired. Aren’t we all, at this point?

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in