I am sure many of you would remember the ‘smashed avocado on toast’ article that described the present generation as a generation that can’t save and will never afford property, as the inference was that they are spending their money on smashed avocado on toast rather than at home having cereal, and saving money!
What this article failed to realise, was that this generation or the 21st century generations have so much more to grapple with compared to what was faced in the 20th century. While there are many things that are different, just look at smart phones for example and how that has changed our lives, I’m going though to concentrate on three areas I feel makes it harder for this generation to save. Not impossible though, but just more difficult than what it was in the 20th century.
1. 20th Century – paid weekly and in cash. This century are mostly paid monthly and electronically. While it would still all add up to the same, it is still so different. Simply it is far easier to last a week, till you know you are going to get paid again, rather than wait a month. And access to easy money or worse, easy debt, was not a problem in the last century as there was no such thing as an ATM or tap and go mentality.
Also for me if you’re paid monthly it’s a lot harder to budget, compared to weekly, when you are just busy with life. Also easy to lose touch with where your money is going each month when you tap and go and don’t really see the actual cash. As the biggest issue for this generation is that they don’t feel in control of their money or don’t know where all of it goes each month as again, we are all busy with life and so it’s hard to keep track of it all.
2. Incremental expenses that were not around in the 20th century, with streaming services a perfect example that are automatically paid monthly and you just don’t realise that they all add up. I remember when I purchased Microsoft Windows for example you paid for it once and then you just owned it, whereas now it’s a rental and again it all adds up without you realising and these type of expenses really affect this 21st-century generation’s cash flow. This monthly renting mentality was never a problem in the 20th century.
3. Buying property. While it’s harder for this generation to save, it is also harder to save up for a deposit for a property or to be able to repay their mortgage. Compared to most of the 20th century when you could buy a house for around four times salary, and therefore deposit was probably only about 20 or 30% of your yearly salary. Now the cost of the property is closer to 12 times average salary and a deposit is two or three times your yearly salary.
To add balance though, while there are other areas when it comes to money that are different from the 20th century to the 21st-century, there are also plenty of opportunities with access to information and expertise that was never available in the 20th century.
So what this all means is it still possible to get better at saving, to get control and understanding of your cash flow and also to be able to get into the property market but we just need to think differently about money, a 21st century re-think. What I always like to explain, learning about money is just like learning to sing, to dance, or even learn a new language, it’s just learning a new skill set, we can all do it as long as we want to make that effort and commitment.
Article by Marc Bineham – Money coach, speaker and award-winning author of The Money Sandwich