Our economy continues to change. From generation to generation, a new economic reality applies different pressures and expectations that must be met and negotiated. But over the course of the last century, what were these changing costs and concerns – and do today’s young adults face a uniquely challenging financial future?
To investigate, we’ve created a fact-packed interactive guide to four generations of living and working in the UK – comparing the post-war prospects of the baby boomers to the uncertain future of today’s millennials.
From the price of a pint to a place to call home, it’s intriguing to compare how our economy has changed shape. A core part of this change, naturally, is our growing population. We’re all living longer, and as life expectancy increases, the economic pattern of our lives has changed.
We’re renting more, and buying homes later. Property prices have boomed, as a proportion of income, at a remarkable rate. In 1995, a house would have set you back an average of £116,685 in today’s money. Twenty years later, the average house price is over double that, reaching £277,000, and it’s even higher in London.
In day-to-day expenses and smaller purchases, the change is so great it’s almost comical. For example, in the mid-1960s, a pint of beer cost 5p – the equivalent of just 91p in today’s money. As prices have risen, fallen and risen again, through boom and bust, there’s been a gradual fall in confidence in personal finances across the generations. Perhaps surprisingly, the confidence of millennials in their finances has risen in comparison to Generation X – which could be indicative of youthful optimism.
So, what does that future hold? Millennials may be more confident in their finances, and their wages may finally be on the rise – but with an ageing population and an uncertain global economy, there’s a huge amount of change ahead. In both our personal and professional expectations, both this generation and the next will have to adapt to thrive in any future economy.
How has the world of work changed in your lifetime? And what do you think the future holds? Share your thoughts below.
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