Playing the generation game: There might be a gap in our finances but we can still learn from each other
Making ends meet and making the most of your money is tough.
It’s particularly hard when you are younger: starting out in the world of work, earning less money and with less saved.
You are also more likely to be renting and worried about whether you’ll ever be able to afford those things the older generation seem to have, such as a family, your own home, or the hope of being able to retire one day.
That’s why we have started our new This is Money Diaries series, where we invite 18 to 35-year-olds to share the details of their finances and get some tips on how to make more of their money.
I’ll admit we have done this with some trepidation.
Money diaries have become popular in recent times, but I’m not worried about doing this for fear of being seen to jump on a bandwagon.
I’m more concerned about the reaction they can get, as someone who opening up to the world about their finances gets berated.
Occasionally that might be justified – we’ve all read the stories of those who are lucky in life bemoaning their lot – but often the bombardment is uncalled for.
We learn from others in life; by example and by them sharing their wisdom and experience.
Even when presented with something daft, a good teacher doesn’t ridicule their student – there’s a reason why we don’t teach children in school via the medium of mockery and abuse.
‘Money makes the world go round’, the saying goes but until the day when we take it seriously enough to teach about personal finance properly in schools, for most people it will come down to learning from others.
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The intergenerational sharing of knowledge and experience is hugely important here. Things may be different today, such as student loans, work pensions and house prices, but I would argue that good financial sense remains pretty much the same.
There’s a reason why Mr Micawber’s income and expenditure recipe for happiness still gets trotted out almost 170 years after Charles Dickens wrote David Copperfield.
The first in our money diaries series highlights how it’s difficult even for those with a decent job who are sensible with their money; in it we feature a 28-year-old Londoner, on £25,000, who is saving £300 a month.
Her hope is to get a house deposit of £20,000 within five years, but the worry for anyone in that position is that house prices will rise faster than they can save.
And as much as some may say that you should only worry about the monthly payments, a student loan debt of £32,262.45 hanging over your head can’t be too inspiring.
She says: ‘I am very budget conscious as I know I don’t have much to spend.
‘Whenever I do make a purchase, I feel an immense amount of guilt and will also agonise over spending money on things.
‘In hand with this, I worry about not saving enough to secure a good future for myself, asking questions such as will I have enough for a family, house and retirement.’
We hope those in similar positions will be encouraged by and learn from these diaries, but those of us who are older and further up the financial ladder can learn from it too.
Give the money diary a read and let us know your thoughts – and also tell us what you think the different generations can learn from each other’s finances in the comments below.