22nd Jun 2018
Colette Sexton, news correspondent at The Sunday Business Post, on why the millennial bashing needs to stop.
Do you want to own a house at some point in your life? Well, you better be prepared to suffer, especially if you have the gall to be a young person. Young people, you see, do not deserve a house. The older generation worked harder than us, they tell us, so therefore they were entitled to buy a house.
Millennials, those of us born between the early 1980s to the mid-1990s, have not worked hard at all apparently. They also enjoy themselves a bit too much, even occasionally having the audacity to enjoy avocado on toast at brunch. They should only be allowed to become homeowners if they exist solely on pot noodles for ten years while holding down two jobs and refusing every opportunity to travel and/or socialise. Then, and only then, will they have earned the right to saddle themselves with extreme debt for the majority of their working lives, which are likely to drag on into their 70s.
The latest claim is that millennials cannot afford a house because we have cleaners (insert gasps of horror here). A study from app Airtasker found that 16 per cent of under 35s have a cleaner compared to nine per cent of older age groups. Media outlets ran this under headlines claiming millennials are spending money on cleaners instead of saving for a house deposit. Maybe they should consider the possibility that millennials have cleaners because they work so many hours they do not have time to clean their poky rented flats.
The research follows a long line of blame for the housing crisis being placed firmly at the feet of millennials, the people who were children when 110 per cent mortgages were being handed out left, right and centre. Last year, agents Strutt & Parker calculated that millennials could save the £64,000 needed for an average London deposit – after help from parents – within six years by giving up a night out once a week saving £6,000 annually, cutting out takeaways to save £2,640 a year, bringing in lunch from home for an average £2,576 a year, cutting out an annual trip away saving £700, and giving up playing the Lottery (probably their only hope of actually having enough for a deposit) to save £832 a year. That sounds like a particularly grim existence to me.
For many people, owning a house is a major milestone in life. In previous generations, this was easier to achieve. Front pages of national newspapers in Ireland this week splashed with the fact that it will be harder to buy a home and tougher to get a mortgage now that the ERSI think tank dramatically cut its projections for new builds in the coming two years by 14,100. It is grim, and that is why it is so frustrating to hear the constant millennial bashing. We’re trying our best. We’re working hard around the clock as we are constantly connected to the office. We are trying to make the world a better place (and succeeding in many respects). So give us a break.
And if you are a millennial, try to not let it get to you. Enjoy the takeaway and book that trip. Life is for living.
Photo credit Sydney Sims, Unsplash
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