Students and young people are typically thought of as being in a more secure position during a recession, with not as many overheads as older adults with mortgages or children, for example. A recession means the Bank of England has had negative growth for two quarters of the financial year. Recently, however, there has been more and more pressure on the government to better support young people struggling through the cost-of-living crisis we are currently facing.
The RSA, (The Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures, and Commerce), has described the generations of young people today as being Atomised. This is because, from their research, they have found young people feeling increasingly isolated, worried, or financially uncertain, as they face low pay and rising costs. Living precariously within a system that was not designed to support them as they transition into adulthood; a dangerous mix during an economic crisis. If you identify with this, alongside the helpful money tips of our Bonsai Briefs podcast, this article explores how young people can avoid the pressure of rising costs.
The two greatest threats to the security of a young person are housing and work. The former holds renting and house shares in one hand, which tends to be a living situation that is not permanently expensive and changes at too short notice. On the other hand, independent living, with home ownership as a hard-to-reach goal for most, is dependent on stable work and a high enough, steady stream of income. Pressure on young people sits in the huge gap between renting and home ownership, as well as the discrepancy between housing opportunities young people have today, compared to those of older generations when they were young. Those coming of age today are doing so in a modern system that desperately needs to change to better support their journey of becoming independent adults.
Young adults are the ones that help to grow the economy, yet they are being restricted by higher living costs than ever, just for being young. On average, young people spend 47% of their money on rent travel expenses to get to work, and bills, compared to older generations at their age. Young people are less likely to apply for council housing, food banks, or government help, and would rather rely on themselves than other people and systems they don’t fully understand or trust. They also tend to view a lack of money as their failure rather than that of the system they cannot thrive under. This is why it’s important to remember that we are living as part of a system, made up of millions of people in different situations. The fault of issues we’re facing doesn’t fall upon any one individual. So being mindful of this and trying not to worry about your every move with money, can help ease the pressure as you face this cost-of-living crisis.
If you are a young person struggling to make ends meet, there are several options available to help you financially. One option is to consider food banks, which provide free food to those in need charities like the Trussel Trust work to ensure people have enough food so they can maximize their income to lift themselves to a better financial position. Another option is to apply for grants or bursaries at a university or college, which can help cover the cost of tuition and living expenses. Additionally, for help with housing or other expenses, you can apply for grant schemes with your local council, often known as The Household Support Fund which can help if you’re struggling to afford things like your electric, water bills, rent, or food. Lastly, if you are currently employed, you can ask your workplace for a pay rise in the face of inflation, this can be intimidating, but so worth it. All these options can help make your financial commitments easier to manage, so don’t be afraid to ask!
Young people must take a closer look at their financial situation in the coming months. For those who have started their first job during the crisis, this can be a challenging time. If you find that your standard of living hasn’t changed much despite inflation, but you are still struggling financially, it may be worth considering whether you are living within your means. This can be a tough conversation to have with yourself, but it’s crucial for building a more secure financial future. Creating a realistic budget and remembering to stick to it can give you the peace of mind you need to build confidence with your money. Remember, there are resources out there to help you, whether it’s with living expenses, advice, or bursaries, and it’s never too late to seek them out.
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Written by Rosemary Taylor.