Between home and a rented place

It seems now that finding a job after graduation is not the only aspect of impending adulthood that I am to worry about, but also the reality of finding a place to live with that job too.

And it seems more so that it is not the nature of a job that dictates whether or not I will take it, but whether I will be able to afford to live nearby.

Just like many other students, my job searches have zeroed in on the renting capital of London, because, well, simply, I can’t find many jobs elsewhere.

However, the idea of my pot of savings depleting in the black hole of renting is not something I really want to do. Growing up with my mum, saving money and being savvy with those savings was a habit that was forced on me.

At the age of 19 I was already investing in a ‘Save to Buy ISA’ and at that time, through rose-tinted glasses, I thought it would be a viable option to get a place of my own after university. But now on the cusp of entering adult life the reality has hit.

With the economy being what it is, buying a house for myself will be nothing like how it was for my parents. For one thing, at my age, 21, they were already engaged and planning their future together. While myself, with no engagement ring in the foreseeable future, will most likely be going into the property market on my own, if at all.

I have two choices: take a job that I don’t like and don’t want to do at home to save myself the tiring worry of rent, or take a job I love and quite literally never have any money ever again. I, in fact, we – are very much stuck between a rock and a hard place. That is unless you are lucky enough to be within commuting distance of London, but even then the cost of commuting is something to think about.

A 2017 article in the Evening Standard titled ‘Estate agent says London’s millennials should stop buying sandwiches, holidays and splashing cash on nights out in order to afford a house’ is just one among many similar stories. An article in the Independent even blames millennials buying lottery tickets as an example of wasting our money on stupid things that aren’t houses. But I have never bought a lottery ticket and can say none of my friends have either.

Research published even this month by Resolution Foundation states that a third of our generation will never own a home. There’s more to it than frivolity.

So what are we to do? When I’ve told friends about my Help to Buy ISA many of them don’t really know what it is, or that they even exist.

While I recognise that I was and am lucky to have the savvy mother that I do, people of my age are not readily told what is on offer to them in regard to helping them get into the property market, and banks aren’t doing a good enough job of advertising that. Schools often don’t even teach children what a mortgage is and what council taxes are. Maybe I should start listening to Martin Lewis and he should start teaching in schools…

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September 2021
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