All millennials have to do in order to jump on the housing property ladder is a be a bit more frugal, stop buying sandwiches and jolly well knuckle down, finds a new report. There are just a couple of snags with that argument.
Some say the millennials are spoilt little darlings who have no idea what a hard days work is - “not like in my day, when we worked 8 hours a day down the pit, and when we got home our dads would beat us, if we were lucky.”
It’s amazingly cliched. Every generation is told by their elders that they don’t know how lucky they are. One day, as a generation ages, it will break away from such absurdity, but clearly, the baby boomers haven’t managed it.
According to the report by estate agent Strutt & Parker, if only younger people were to stop buying sandwiches at lunchtime and make them instead, go out one night a week less often, stop having takeaways, and stop upgrading their phone, then, with a little help from their parents could jump on the so-called property ladder and be just like their enlightened parents and grandparents. (That way they could save £64,000 over five years and providing the bank of mum and dad chips in with another £30,000 they could put down a deposit on a house.)
Apparently, according to the research, they spend £2,576 a year on buying sandwiches at lunchtime and could save £6,000 a year just by going out one night a week less often.
Of course, there is one thing the millennials do have which most of their parents don’t, and that’s a university education and lots of debts associated with that. Maybe it’s a jealousy thing, but people without degrees often love to run people with them down - what good is your degree if you can’t do ...?”
But what the millennial generation has learned is the art of collaboration, that we don’t have to live in a dog eat dog world, but that we can benefit from each other’s success.
The millennial generation is also more entrepreneurial, and there seems to be anecdotal evidence that this may be partly a function of the emergence of generation rent - free people up from the shackles of a mortgage and they are more likely to have a go.
But there is a wider point. Eating out, going out, upgrading phones, having takeaways, actually helps the economy tick-over.
Imagine what might happen if people did what Strutt & Parker suggest. Imagine what might happen to the struggling high street if we ate out less? There would be a recession.
There is no economic growth in rising house prices, it’s simply a money merry-go-round. Take the extreme situation. People only spend money on essentials and scrimp and save to buy a house. Economic growth would go into reverse, corporate profits would crash, as would share prices, pensions would plummet in value. the NHS would be starved of funding and the baby boomers would have a very miserable retirement.
Besides, when the baby boomers were younger, a night down the pub was a lot cheaper, and did the scrimping and scraping baby boomers save money by cutting back on smoking?
Maybe the best thing millennials can do is wait for the baby boomers to retire and downsize to fund retirement or their care, and all that spare capacity hoarded by the baby boomers (there are over six million homes in the UK with two or more spare bedrooms) will be freed up, pushing down on house prices and rents.
Still, hats off to Strutt & Parker’s PR people, they deserve an award for generating so much publicity. There are column inches in controversy.