Rising rent, inflation and a fluctuating income have made it increasingly difficult for millennials in the UK to avoid borrowing money. Whether it’s a payday loan, a credit card or the bank of Mum and Dad, nearly 70% of us are turning to desperate measures when the pockets are empty and we’re seeing red.
A recent study by Neyber discovered an alarming 7 out of 10 people under 34 need to regularly borrow cash for monthly bills and day-to-day living expenses.
Finding a job that actually pays
However, it’s not just the rising rent and inflation causing the cash flow problems, it’s down to the jobs and the wages too. There are more graduates than there are vegans in Hackney, so good paid jobs have to be fought over. Then there are those zero-hour contracts we all know and love.
During my time in retail, I was on an 8-hour contract, but one week I would be doing 30+ hours, the next it would be cut down to 8. This instability made it impossible to get a second job and it sucked never knowing how much money was coming in. According to Neyber, fluctuating income is as common as Kat Slater among 18-24-year-olds, so how the heck are we able to budget when our bank balance is as surprising as a story in OK magazine?
Money keeps me awake at night
Financial worries have a huge effect on our mental and physical wellbeing, causing sleeplessness, depression and anxiety. I’ve spent many sleepless nights staring into the abyss, wondering how I can make 50p stretch for the other seven days of the week. I’d wake up every morning and obsessively check my bank balance on my phone. Seeing those declining numbers as soon as I opened my eyes certainly made me miserable. I’d isolate myself from my friends and live on a Hovis only diet in an attempt to make it through the month.
I thought by the grand ol’ age of 28 I’d be able to hold my own, but to say I’ve needed help from my parents is the understatement of the century. I thought I’d be paid more than minimum wage (and then some), I thought I’d stop living hand to mouth and I thought I’d have two pennies to rub together. The sad thing is I’m not alone, my friends across the country are all cashing in at the bank of M&D.
I’ve had credit card debt in the past, I’ve got a student loan and an overdraft I’m waist deep in (that the bank request back as and when they feel like it). This used to make me cry more waterfalls than TLC could sing about, but finding out my friends were on the same cruise ship, also heading for debt city, was my only saving grace.
Is the change about to change?
When I was growing up my parents were buying their house, my friend’s parents were buying their house and friends of friends parents were buying their house. I was lead to believe it’s what happens when you grow up big, tall and strong. For my generation though, this is as alien as ET on a bicycle. The majority of us millennials can’t budget money that fluctuates, can’t save pounds that don’t exist and can’t quite afford to pay the bills.
To look on the bright side (or at least the dimly lit bit), if borrowing money has become the norm, then at least we’re all in this together and at least we’re talking about it. We’ve lost the shame in discussing our bank balance and we’re comfortable saying we’re skint.
So maybe these conversations will be the catalyst for change and we won’t live as our parents do and our grandparents did. In the future, property may well be reserved for the very rich, but hopefully, our dithering income, freelance titles and wavering hour jobs won’t affect our ability to get credit or rent a house.
For now, however, desperate times have called for desperate borrowing measures and these desperate borrowing measures have become so common, they don’t seem so desperate anymore.
As for me and my bank balance? Well, when I’m big, rich and famous, I’ll be posting a big fat cheque straight back into the bank of M&D Henderson – just you wait and see.