“Lost generation of 18- to 40-year-olds unable to cope with debts and soaring house prices”

No shit Sherlock:

The study, by the Financial Services Authority (FSA) and Bristol University, published today, is the biggest of its kind undertaken in Britain. It paints a picture of a generational divide fuelled by higher education costs and the collapse of company pension schemes – with 42% of adults now with no pension and 70% with no meaningful savings.

So, what does the FSA propose doing about it?

The FSA will call today for a new national strategy to improve Britain’s financial capability, including workplace-based financial seminars targeted at 4 million employees; making personal finance more prominent in the national curriculum from 2008; and “money doctor” packs which will be sent to 1.5 million new and prospective parents each year.

Is it me, or is this code for “fuck all”? I don’t need to attend a seminar to tell me I can’t afford to buy a house – I need affordable housing. I don’t need more education to tell me how to afford paying a pension; I need to stop subsidising rich old people living in expensive housing.

Talking of rich old people…

Help the Aged criticised the report which, it said, ignored the needs of older people.

*YAWN!* It always has to be about you, doesn’t it? We’ve had nothing but report after report about the needs of old people. Cash poor, asset poor old people I have every sympathy for: that’s me in a few decades. Cash “poor” asset filthy-rich I have no time for; why can’t their assets pay for their generation’s poor? Why do I have to pay, just because I don’t have vast sums wrapped up in property?

Mutter… grumble… grr…


  1. That article says “It is also likely to spark fresh debate about introducing compulsory pension saving”. As it also states that “24% of young adults are currently overdrawn” and “6% of people (around 2m households) face a “constant struggle” to keep up with commitments”, compulsory saving could make things worse.

  2. It’s absolutely and totally a political issue, created by policies based on appeasing the generation of baby-boomers who’ve found themselves molly-coddled by year upon year of cynical politics.

    Expect the Help the Ageds and the like to ingratiate themselves even further with Government in the next ten years arguing for even more handouts without strings attached.

    The FSA needs to ensure that honest provision of pensions information is made available, yes. I’m fed up of talking to ‘IFAs’ whose sole interest is in getting you to spend more on your company pension.

    But (thank God) the FSA doesn’t run the country. This report sums up a whole load of big questions which have to be answered – and real quick.

  3. As James and Gareth must have felt, those of us pushing the ‘generational theft’ line within the Liberal Democrats saw today’s Guardian headline and thought, “I told you so.”

    What worried me about the Guardian’s report was the implication that certain interests are already playing the ‘blame game’. It’s young people’s fault for being ignorant or reckless, not a question of external factors such as demographic change or inflated house prices.

    So who’s going to tell the baby boomers that the party’s over? Sooner or later, the delusional universe in which most policy-makers live will collide with reality. Let’s hope, for everyone’s sake, it will be sooner rather than later.

  4. The way state pensions have worked since 1945 has essentially been one generation being looked after on the proceeds of work of the next generation, then that generation being looked after by the next and so on. The changing birth rates and life expectancies (not mention disposable wealth level we regard as normal) have upset the balance.

    It seems to me that we really must move to a system where each generation os supported by the saved proceeds of it’s own work.

    It also seems to me irrestible that retirement ages will have to increase. I think many people in the private sector will be very resentful of today’s strike and the demand that they should pay for early retirement for public sector employees.

  5. The solution to this problem is blindingly obvious: extend employment protection to over-65’s to enable older people to earn a living rather than rot on the “retirement” scrapheap.

    The House of Lords (following a reference to the ECJ) may well do this, but it is an absolute scandal that the government has not. (In much the same way that cowardly governments left it to the judges to outlaw flogging school-children and end the ban on gays in the military.)

    I cannot for the life of me comprehend what motivates those public sector numbskulls who took to the streets this week to demand the “right” to be forced to live on £5,000 a year at the age of 60. What a miserable, servile bunch!

    Ageism is as pernicious as racism and sexism, and it has to go.

    A private pension is a wasting asset. In 20 years time, most pensions will be worthless. We will have a vast underclass maintained in extreme poverty through a system of state handouts (recognised as a crazy system when applied to younger pepople).

    There is an alternative, but no-one in government seems to be willing to run with it. This is the same kind of short-termism we have seen in relation to the environment. Hardly “joined-up” government.

    PS: Public opinion is only slowly coming round to the idea of older people working. Bizarrely, many more people think it OK for the Queen to work at 80 than for ordinary people to work at 66. And Tony Blair seems to think it all right for John Prescott to work at 67, even though Prescott’s staff are barred at that age.

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