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Why are our young people worse off than their parents?

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Channel 4 News are running a series on this very subject this very week... but so far I haven't once seen them broach they question that they're actually asking - it's been more of a statement that they are indeed worse off so far.

 

I was brought up being told that the path to success was a good education, a lack of debt, possibly a family once I was secure, a car, and working hard. At this point, I've seen a lot of young people working really hard, but not achieving much success. Debt appears to be unavoidable, and seems to come in massive chunks. Work is less about applying oneself to a topic of interest, be it welding, plumbing, teaching or biomedical science, and seems now instead to be about keeping your head down while being told you could be sacked at will and getting on with it if you're lucky enough to have a job, or filling in endless forms and being told that you're unemployed scum if you don't have a job.Just where did it all go wrong? Why is life looking to be so much harder for the generation that comes next?

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I do not think young or old are different, today having a job is the key point, it may not be one you want, like or skill linked, just having it is a bonus, the job for life has, sadly died.  Jobs are out there, but fear the future is now driven by bean counters in anything other than small business, once you pass the point of personel to being a "human resource" you become a number, a statistic and one that can be used and abused as fits the wider business needs (and the whims of the top).

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Channel 4 News are running a series on this very subject this very week... but so far I haven't once seen them broach they question that they're actually asking - it's been more of a statement that they are indeed worse off so far.

 

I was brought up being told that the path to success was a good education, a lack of debt, possibly a family once I was secure, a car, and working hard. At this point, I've seen a lot of young people working really hard, but not achieving much success. Debt appears to be unavoidable, and seems to come in massive chunks. Work is less about applying oneself to a topic of interest, be it welding, plumbing, teaching or biomedical science, and seems now instead to be about keeping your head down while being told you could be sacked at will and getting on with it if you're lucky enough to have a job, or filling in endless forms and being told that you're unemployed scum if you don't have a job.Just where did it all go wrong? Why is life looking to be so much harder for the generation that comes next?

 

As a young person myself i think this generation being worse off than our parents is vastly overstated. Bar staying at home longer (a result of rising house prices)and paying an extra 9% tax (tuition fees) there's little evidence to suggest that things will be that bad. There are for example plenty of skilled jobs but over the decades our education system has not adapted and as a result we are only now offering an alternative to university to make our young fit for todays jobs in the primary and secondary industries where the last few decades have seen better qualified and experienced immigrants take some of these jobs.

 

Perhaps there are bigger strains for the middle classes who previously were gifted their degree and career but coming from the bottom 10% of Britain i see little to no reason why i won't cross the threshold to the middle classes. 

 

Without wanting to get party political i would say that the coalition should be praised for its efforts surrounding pensions and apprenticeships and that immigrants should be praised for increasing the birth rate.

 

The biggest concern to most should be pensions and that's actually the fault of the parents generation for not investing in private pensions (thus putting the onus on the state) and also having less children (provided the British education system can adequately skill, higher bithrates are a good thing) which has meant less people covering that pension.

Edited by summer blizzard
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To be honest, I am not convinced that it is worse for my generation than for my parents' generation.  It seems bad at the moment because we are in a recession, but my parents' generation also suffered an economic slump in the late 1970s, when they were in their twenties.

 

I am also not sure that it is harder to get into a job where you like, or at least don't mind, the work than it was 20-30 years ago, and that goes especially for women, who until recently were expected to have little career ambition and prioritise getting married and having children and doing the housework.

 

We have the modern-day problems relating to freedom and responsibility that I often mention, clamping down against innocent people to legislate for the minority, social/recreational considerations being disposable etc., but there are many areas where it is easier to be an individual.  It is easier, for example, to be left-handed, a female who succeeds at competitive activities, or a homosexual, without being frowned upon by as many people as was the norm for my parents' generation.

 

Similarly, in the workplace, there may be more incidence of people being treated like statistics and everything revolving around money, but in the meantime there is slow, but sure, progress being made towards more flexible working hours, more scope to do work from a combination of the home and the office, and less of a "That's life, get over it" attitude to people being abused in the workplace.

 

I don't regard high birth rates as a good thing because I see the economic benefits being offset by social/recreational downsides, especially in urban areas that already have a high population density, e.g. freedoms having to be sacrificed for the sake of accommodating the extra population.  However, again, many previous generations grew up with higher population growth rates than the current one.

Edited by Thundery wintry showers

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Cos half of them are doing drugs, listening to crap music and necking too many high caffeine drinks to stay awake.

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And doubtless older generations would have said something similar about the degeneracy of yours, as my parents' generation did about mine.

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And doubtless older generations would have said something similar about the degeneracy of yours, as my parents' generation did about mine.

 

True - today's youth will be moaning about their offspring as we do ours. I can barely imagine the dismay of my suit and twin-set wearing parents when I took to wearing ripped denim and leather, and hair down to my backside. At least most of my lot had a basic grasp of English and could read and write properly, instead of drowning in a sea of text-speak.

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Worst off, your having a laugh surely, lets look at how poor our children of today are shall we. For starters nearly all of them have a mobile phone, PC, and Sky TV and can afford  to get drunk most weekends. They don't sound like they are doing too bad to me.

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Cos half of them are doing drugs, listening to crap music and necking too many high caffeine drinks to stay awake.

Funnily enough, young people today are probably better behaved than their parents were - they're drinking less and certainly taking less drugs. It seems the rebellious teenager is a thing of the past.

 

Everyone text speaks nowadays - my 74 year-old grandmother included. Using abbreviations or acronyms during texting is completely different to, say, doing an English exam or writing a CV.

 

As for young peole being worse off than their parents - I'm pretty sure I read somewhere that people in their 20s today actually have lower living standards than retirees, and that teenagers today are worse off than when their parents were teenagers (in relative terms anyway). I'll try and dig it up.

Edited by cheese
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I find the title of the thread a bit odd. It has made an assumption. One could equally ask, is today's society worse than the previous one? Or are the elderly today worse off than a generation ago? There are many factors to be taken into account. Personally I think is society going to hell in a hand cart.

Edited by knocker
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Everyone text speaks nowadays - my 74 year-old grandmother included. Using abbreviations or acronyms during texting is completely different to, say, doing an English exam or writing a CV.

 

 

 

Yes - even me, on occasion. But it is desirable,nay essential that one can pass an English exam and write a CV as well. Most of the agency guys at my works can't spell their own name. Youth worse off? I've yet to see one who can't afford a £300 phone with their dole money - essential for practising those texting skills.

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Everyone text speaks nowadays - my 74 year-old grandmother included. Using abbreviations or acronyms during texting is completely different to, say, doing an English exam or writing a CV.

 

 

 

Well I don't so I suppose that makes me a bit odd. And I even like reading books which probably makes me even odder. I even like e-mails written in proper English. Dear oh dear, there really is no hope for me.

 

Regarding generations. My teenage years were in the 50s so one could really say I was better off than the previous generation who were around between the wars which sure as hell wasn't good but they still spoke wistfully of the 'good old' days.

 

Rather depends are what your exspectations are, or I should say those driven by society.

Edited by knocker

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Im now in my early 40s and i am actually worse off than my parents...i earn more however i work longer hours..i have no debt at all but i have no savings either and with my divorce i now own no properties or have any other investments..my private pension has been decimated and is now virtually worthless..i anticipate i will need to carry on working until im 75 rather than 65 to not be in poverty for my final 10-15 yrs. My father retired due to illness in his early 50s is still going strong in his 80s he has 3 pensions and actually his income is a lot  higher than his outgoings he says he was lucky when he working he was on 100% income related pension linked to wages etc. My Mum has never worked but is her husband (my step dad) still does she lives in a nice house no mortgage and does very nicely thank you.

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Well I don't so I suppose that makes me a bit odd. And I even like reading books which probably makes me even odder. I even like e-mails written in proper English. Dear oh dear, there really is no hope for me.

 

Regarding generations. My teenage years were in the 50s so one could really say I was better off than the previous generation who were around between the wars which sure as hell wasn't good but they still spoke wistfully of the 'good old' days.

 

Rather depends are what your exspectations are, or I should say those driven by society.

I always use proper grammar and punctuation when texting and emailing, so not literally everyone - but probably most. It's just easier not to bother when texting, although I think it's sheer laziness when you are sending an email - it isn't hard to press caps lock or hold shift.

 

I love reading as well.

Edited by cheese

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Indeed TX1/Knocker/CM/Cheese

 

All valid points made there and like CM my divorce cost me dearly so no property now amongst other things, pension is worthless, savings gone when I had to start it all again (my sofa for a year was a bean bag and my lap the table to eat from). Yes people (more so the young) have more gadgets today, but with the likes of cyber bullying and the hidden costs are they a better thing to have or just a must have thing?

 

As for cost of living, that has gone up in the last 20-30 years in relative terms I feel, retirement tomorrow will be nothing like as good for many as it was yesterday (so to speak).

 

I could go on but most of you have covered this pretty well already.

 

 

EDIT: forgot to add that I may have a lot less now but I have made changes to my outlook to have a better quality of life with less (and it seems to be working too).

Edited by Jax

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I have no hope of getting back on the housing ladder, unless I strike gold.  No idea how the young are also expected to either.

Edited by Jax

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Meh. Average returns from stock over time are similar to house price growth (bar the freak years just before 2007), there are still plenty of ways to accrue wealth.

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Jax, there are two or more income couples/families earning healthy salaries struggling - as for those in the capital? Sometimes wonder how folk actually manage.

No idea how they do it either

 

 

also should see this

 

Tenant evictions hit record high

 

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-26160569

 

Even those who cannot buy are struggling now

Meh. Average returns from stock over time are similar to house price growth (bar the freak years just before 2007), there are still plenty of ways to accrue wealth.

Sawn off shotgun?

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In would say, yes and no - times have changed - back in the 60's when I first started working there were jobs aplenty and really no excuse for any able bodied people to be unemployed, though some always were and still are, nothing changes so much in this respect, but the wages then were much lower than what they are now but this was balanced by the fact that 1) our expectations were lower and there was much less to spend it on. Taking the population as a whole, things like car ownership and a telephone were possibly in a minority, holidays abroad for the masses were only just starting to take off, though most had a 'steam powered black and white TV' by then and possibly a semi portable Dansette record player for music, or if you were better off a radiogram, which enabled you to listen to things like 'The Navy Lark' and 'Beyond our Ken' on a Sunday lunch time. Then many people had jobs for life, so it seemed.

 

Far less had a university education and only about 1 in 5 attained GCE's in 5 subjects.

 

HP was just being introduced and for expensive things like cars you had to satisfy the bank manager that you were a good risk before you could get a loan.

 

It was quite possible to go out and get a modest meal and 4 pints of beer in an evening for 10 bob which is 50p but this represented something like a fifteenth of your monthly income whereas now you could do the same kind of thing for about £30 representing about a sixtieth of your monthly income going on average figures.

 

Now, 20% of pupils are likely to go on to higher education, though they incur a debt lasting several years for doing so (I never have agreed with this), job security is much less than it was and there are very few jobs for life but they are much better paid than what they were in 1960, the difference being is that people have so much more to spend their money on - It seems that no home is complete these days without a telephone, a computer, a car, modern furniture and all the other ramifications which go with this. 

 

It is possibly more difficult for the up and coming generation to buy a house but part of this is that more people are buying their own property which increases demand which in turn pushes up property values but my children, now in their 40's have ended up with detached houses, possibly worth a half million each, whereas ours is about a third of a million.

 

Air transport is now very low in comparison - in 1967 it cost my wife and I £60 for a return flight to Copenhagen and if you search around you could probably get a flight for the same price today.

 

So all in all it is swings and roundabouts, though today more depends on your own determination.

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Given the responses - particularly those suggesting that it may depend on how "worse off" might be identified/measured - I thought it might be prudent to add to the debate the Channel 4 News video that prompted me to post this thread (of pretty much the same name), not least because somebody has asked why the thread title contains the preposition it contains.

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Another angle to perhaps explore - is happiness as an individual or society as a whole actually linked to income? Somehow i doubt it is - Considering how much more choice people have nowadays, in various guises, compared to say previous generations - are we now all too easily measuring or are measured by what we may or indeed may not have? As a direct result, far greater exposure to the perception of others around us.

Or, as the old adage used to go "keeping up with the Jones's" - is it quite possibly more prevalent now than before?

Edit - did attempt to go down the same route in this thread.

http://forum.netweather.tv/topic/77299-is-there-a-future-for-kids-in-the-uk/

 

I don't really like trying to quantify happiness since a lot of it comes down to attitude (Britains tend to be pretty cynical and pessimistic - no offense but your actually a perfect example Posted Image ). Indeed, i hear a lot of people calling for socialist policies on the basis that Norway is happier as a country.

 

Personally i think the reason for being less happy is that simply a lot of people don't go out alone now and meet new people, they'll only go to the pub with friends. A lot of people don't garden or enjoy similar pasttimes, only the BBQ is really thriving in todays culture. 

 

All those small things above add up to making us less social and less focused on relaxing pasttimes.

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I have no hope of getting back on the housing ladder, unless I strike gold.  No idea how the young are also expected to either.

 

I wouldn't worry about it - since I jumped off the 'housing ladder' I've been happier and a little better off. Once you've paid for the damn thing they take it off you to pay nursing home fees.... Now I pay a hundred notes a week for a palacious abode and that includes insurance and all maintenance - right down to a tap washer. My kid... well he's a thousand times better off than I was as a youngster, financially at least.

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I think one factor that may contribute to people being less happy is the popular belief that social/recreational freedoms are disposable and work/family/safety-related freedoms are essential.  There is evidence of us sliding almost imperceptibly towards a society where you can work, reproduce and be safe, but are restricted in how you can enjoy yourself.

 

This is part of the reason why we keep legislating for idiots- the idea, "Non-essential freedoms should never come before safety", so trampling on innocent people's ability to enjoy themselves within the law/rules comes across as showing a hard-line approach that puts safety before disposable social/recreational freedoms.  It is, of course, also easier to punish innocent people than to punish the irresponsible minority.

 

I wouldn't go as far as to blame this on capitalism, because one of the original ideas of capitalism was/is to create more financial wealth which can then be used to give people more freedom of choice on how they spend their wealth, and make it easier to fund social improvements.  The problem is rather that in many cases, profit has become the end goal, with the idea that the rest will somehow take care of itself.  But it's no good arguing that more wealth = more freedom of choice, if much of that freedom is being outlawed because of those who choose to abuse it.

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I think one factor that may contribute to people being less happy is the popular belief that social/recreational freedoms are disposable and work/family/safety-related freedoms are essential.  There is evidence of us sliding almost imperceptibly towards a society where you can work, reproduce and be safe, but are restricted in how you can enjoy yourself.

 

This is part of the reason why we keep legislating for idiots- the idea, "Non-essential freedoms should never come before safety", so trampling on innocent people's ability to enjoy themselves within the law/rules comes across as showing a hard-line approach that puts safety before disposable social/recreational freedoms.  It is, of course, also easier to punish innocent people than to punish the irresponsible minority.

 

I wouldn't go as far as to blame this on capitalism, because one of the original ideas of capitalism was/is to create more financial wealth which can then be used to give people more freedom of choice on how they spend their wealth, and make it easier to fund social improvements.  The problem is rather that in many cases, profit has become the end goal, with the idea that the rest will somehow take care of itself.  But it's no good arguing that more wealth = more freedom of choice, if much of that freedom is being outlawed because of those who choose to abuse it.

May also be that today you are much more aware of what other people have and how well off they appear to be compared to you. When i was growing up i had no idea if i was well off or not because nobody had 2 cars or big tellies or went on foreign holidays there were no designer clothes or hand held gadgets..everybody wore hand me downs and walked to school and you were lucky if you went to Butlins every third summer. Now there is huge need to have the latest big thing and to appear to your pears to be much better off than maybe you actually are.

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