WTF, FT: our ‘millennial’ money problem

Disclaimer: God, I hate the word ‘millennial’. It sickens me to type it out. I hate it so much. I thought ‘baby boomer’ was bad, but if being born in 1987 makes me a millennial then I might start pretending I’m 17 again. It should be easy enough, with this face.

Are you the type of person who reads the Financial Times? Yeah, most of the time, neither am I. HOWEVER. Have an idle scroll through this:

Why millennials go on holiday instead of saving for a pension

Or check this handy TL;DR:

  • We (millennials, ew) suck at saving money.
  • Seriously, we suck.
  • We’re also annoying little twunts who want shit for free.
  • This is because our incomes haven’t gone up, so we could really do with that free shit.
  • People under 30 OUTSIDE of London spend an average of 1/4 of their income on their rent.
  • To enjoy a retirement fund of £30k a year at 65, a 25-year-old now needs to be putting away £800 a month.

That last one is what’s made a lot of people nervous, including me.

“You mean I should be doing this saving lark now? Like, right now? But I’ve got tickets to [insert flavour of the week here]!” Life is so bloody unfair sometimes.

Okay, so maybe you think retirement’s a long way off. For most of us, it’s ages away yet and the retirement age is going to go up anyway. What’s the rush? I can’t fully retire until I’m 67 – and even then, if my bank account’s not looking too healthy I might keep on working.

I doubt I’m alone. Between crappy salaries, mandatory fun and the general cost of living, most of us don’t have £800 to shove into savings. Hell, some of us don’t have £800 to our names.

And THEN there’s the choice between saving for a pension, saving for a house, saving for a sabbatical to ‘rediscover ourselves’, and saving for an ‘emergency that needs money to fix’ fund. Trying to be responsible and do the right thing is hard.

The point of this isn’t to make you run out and open a savings account. I just think we should have more of a think about it. Depending on where you live, a retirement income of £30k a year might be as much of a stretch as things are now. Discovering that I’ve been paying out in rent exactly what I should’ve been saving for the last 3 years was not fun, let me put it that way.

As I see it, our options are:

  • Be good little citizens and start putting money away for future us to enjoy
  • Work hard, earn a ton of dosh and live well for the rest of our lives
  • Put some extra eyeliner on and go bag a rich husband/wife
  • Rob a bank (before it collapses under the weight of corporate fatcats)
  • Bet on some horses/play a fruit machine/go on Deal Or No Deal
  • Win the lottery

Thanks, FT. You’ve really put things into perspective.

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