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Too Poor To Start A Family: Will ‘Generation Pause’ Ever Grow Up?

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Telegraph 2/10/14

'They say that the best things in life are free. But presumably they never tried to start a family in a stagnant economy with soaring house prices.

Twenty- and thirtysomethings who have struggled to build up the economic cushion enjoyed by earlier generations are now delaying life events such as marriage – sometimes indefinitely.

Having children is also routinely delayed, according to a study by investment company SCM Direct.

The research, conducted by Research Plus, found that:

Of those aged 25 to 34 years old…

-One in five are postponing their marriage plans for more than two years

-One in 10 say they could never afford to marry

Of those aged 35 to 44 years old..

-One in seven had or would put off starting a family for at least four years

-One in four delayed starting a family for two years because of lack of savings

-One in 12 think they’ll never be able to afford children

The findings are supported by national marriage statistics, which show that Britons are getting married later in life.

mean-age_2978064c.jpg

The above graphic shows the average age of marriage in the UK, including second marriages among divorcees. But even among first time marriages there’s been a steady increase in the average age of those joining together in matrimony.


Bobby Duffy, who leads Ipsos Mori's work on generational analysis, says that economic difficulties are a “powerful” factor in young people delaying marriage and parenthood.

“You need stability in order to think about the longer term planning of getting married and having children,” he says. “These are the first generations coming through with very significant student debts coupled with stagnant wages for people starting out in their careers. Linking that to massively rising house prices means that getting a start in life is so much more difficult.”

Mr Duffy says that many young people can’t even afford to leave their parents' home, while those who do typically share with flatmates until their late twenties.

Young people who choose to delay major life decisions for financial reasons say that the cost of living can make starting a family impossible.


The demographic shift could change the face of Britain – not least because political views tend to move to the right as people marry and start a family. Some more conservative values could start to fade as more people remain independent and single.

And as young people delay settling down to start a family, Britain can expect to face a population crisis, where there aren’t enough kids to support an aging generation.

While couples can always marry later in life, having children cannot be postponed indefinitely for biological reasons – which means that plans to delay children could lead to a smaller population.

“We’re still at a relatively high birth rate, better than other countries like Germany. Germany and Canada are faced with the choice of more immigration or more children, because you need to have more young people in the country at economically productive ages to support an aging population,” adds Mr Duffy.

Most twentysomethings recognise that they will not be able to afford the house or lifestyle that their parents that enjoyed. But even once the economy picks up, it may be too late for those who have postponed major life decisions.'

On the one side you have people working paying taxes,saving and delaying having kids.On the other you have people having kids,getting a free house and a free brand new car if they know how to work the system.I'm surprised more of our young people aren't more bitter.

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Who says Marriage or any of the other things in the article define 'growing up'?

People skip the marriage bit because of the cost, they skip the children because of the cost......all down to individual expectations, both can be done if that is what you so desire....neither has to cost that much, or don't do either or only one....choices.

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The headline is offensive.

Id associate the need to 'grow up' more with the generation above, gleefully standing on their children's generations throats whilst picking their pockets and wondering why they haven't got grandkids yet.

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Marriage, home ownership, kids.

Torygraph world view.

Why? It makes their sponsors more money.

Does anyone under the age of 80 even read the Torygraph?

Edited by R K

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Telegraph 2/10/14

'They say that the best things in life are free. But presumably they never tried to start a family in a stagnant economy with soaring house prices.

Twenty- and thirtysomethings who have struggled to build up the economic cushion enjoyed by earlier generations are now delaying life events such as marriage sometimes indefinitely.

Having children is also routinely delayed, according to a study by investment company SCM Direct.

The research, conducted by Research Plus, found that:

Of those aged 25 to 34 years old

-One in five are postponing their marriage plans for more than two years

-One in 10 say they could never afford to marry

Of those aged 35 to 44 years old..

-One in seven had or would put off starting a family for at least four years

-One in four delayed starting a family for two years because of lack of savings

-One in 12 think theyll never be able to afford children

The findings are supported by national marriage statistics, which show that Britons are getting married later in life.

mean-age_2978064c.jpg

The above graphic shows the average age of marriage in the UK, including second marriages among divorcees. But even among first time marriages theres been a steady increase in the average age of those joining together in matrimony.

Bobby Duffy, who leads Ipsos Mori's work on generational analysis, says that economic difficulties are a powerful factor in young people delaying marriage and parenthood.

You need stability in order to think about the longer term planning of getting married and having children, he says. These are the first generations coming through with very significant student debts coupled with stagnant wages for people starting out in their careers. Linking that to massively rising house prices means that getting a start in life is so much more difficult.

Mr Duffy says that many young people cant even afford to leave their parents' home, while those who do typically share with flatmates until their late twenties.

Young people who choose to delay major life decisions for financial reasons say that the cost of living can make starting a family impossible.

The demographic shift could change the face of Britain not least because political views tend to move to the right as people marry and start a family. Some more conservative values could start to fade as more people remain independent and single.

And as young people delay settling down to start a family, Britain can expect to face a population crisis, where there arent enough kids to support an aging generation.

While couples can always marry later in life, having children cannot be postponed indefinitely for biological reasons which means that plans to delay children could lead to a smaller population.

Were still at a relatively high birth rate, better than other countries like Germany. Germany and Canada are faced with the choice of more immigration or more children, because you need to have more young people in the country at economically productive ages to support an aging population, adds Mr Duffy.

Most twentysomethings recognise that they will not be able to afford the house or lifestyle that their parents that enjoyed. But even once the economy picks up, it may be too late for those who have postponed major life decisions.'

On the one side you have people working paying taxes,saving and delaying having kids.On the other you have people having kids,getting a free house and a free brand new car if they know how to work the system.I'm surprised more of our young people aren't more bitter.

Well most young people just dont know what it was like for the older generation as the oldies always say it was just as hard for them, excluding the minority of informed oldies.

Chatting with a boomer at work yesterday, said he bought his first house in London at 23 for 9k bit dilapidated so the government handed out 5k grant to modernise, he claims he didn't have to repay. Doubled his house price so he sold and repeated the process, on an average wage at the time. Banged on about how miras was a big help too.

Well at least we have HTB.

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Well most young people just dont know what it was like for the older generation as the oldies always say it was just as hard for them, excluding the minority of informed oldies.

Chatting with a boomer at work yesterday, said he bought his first house in London at 23 for 9k bit dilapidated so the government handed out 5k grant to modernise, he claims he didn't have to repay. Doubled his house price so he sold and repeated the process, on an average wage at the time. Banged on about how miras was a big help too.

Well at least we have HTB.

Those sort of grants were available into the 90's, but guess what - you could get one if you were retired but if you were a just employed youngster with no savings and debt - sorry, piss off.

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People skip the marriage bit because of the cost, they skip the children because of the cost......all down to individual expectations, both can be done if that is what you so desire....neither has to cost that much, or don't do either or only one....choices.

If you head down the benefits route then cost isn't an issue.If you're trying to buy a house-which used to be a normal societal expectation-to raise kids,then it's a whole different ball game.

Our young workers have been utterly shafted.They are struggling to carry the pension and benefit expectations of others whilst trying to lead what used to be considered a normal life.

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If you head down the benefits route then cost isn't an issue.If you're trying to buy a house-which used to be a normal societal expectation-to raise kids,then it's a whole different ball game.

Our young workers have been utterly shafted.They are struggling to carry the pension and benefit expectations of others whilst trying to lead what used to be considered a normal life.

It used to be a normal societal expectation that women were completely dependent upon their husband. No vote, no bank account, no career.

Agree that young people have been shafted. Mostly by the low wage economy built in the 80s and the reduction in housing supply started in the same decade but not sure what marriage has got to do with anything.

Dave's response? He'll build 20k brown houses p.a. if you elect him ensuring ongoing desperate lack of supply, cut taxes for well paid boomers, cut taxes for corps, increase pensions, create a further £33bn unfunded black hole etc......

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If you head down the benefits route then cost isn't an issue.If you're trying to buy a house-which used to be a normal societal expectation-to raise kids,then it's a whole different ball game.

Our young workers have been utterly shafted.They are struggling to carry the pension and benefit expectations of others whilst trying to lead what used to be considered a normal life.

For the record, I shared a bedroom with two other siblings, did us no harm, kids don't care if you live in rented or a borrowed home.....I agree that life opportunities are not as good as say 50 years ago for people growing up in a similar environment, but go back to a couple of generations before that and things in this country are on the whole better now than then.....all about timing and cycles.... we can't choose when we are born, where we are born, or who we are born to...if we are born healthy, hard working and bright there is still a way to get where we want to be, but only if we know where we want to go.

Whether you believe you can, or whether you believe you can't, you are absolutely right. ;)

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Inference from this is either; marriage is more expensive than children or they surveyed a bunch of morons.

They probably only interviewed 3 people and just multiplied the results by 4 and rounded

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Getting married isn't expensive unless you choose it to be. Expensive weddings set a precedent that any rational man would do well to avoid.

The Divorce the the most expensive bit.

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The idea of a wedding costing a lot of money shows the materiality of today's society. It costs a nominal fee at a registry office or church. Anything else is pure self indulgence.

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Wife and I have our first on the way. I often wondered if I would see any grand kids, but if this trend continues, maybe not. We started later than our parents, she's 31. If it gets any later for the next generation we might see the first generation born with serious health problems due to expensive housing for pensioners, that don't even need it.

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As the "2nd order issues" of ludicrous house prices become more obvious (the mainstream media seem to be starting to pick up on them) and the huge cost implications of the current pension system (which no party is prepared to touch, let alone tackle) continue to bite how long will it be before a political party identifies mobilising the under 40's vote as its route to a decent slice of the electorate?

The mainstream parties still focus on the pensioner vote as these are the section of the electorate most likely to vote, but one thing that the Scottish Referendum showed is that if there is a choice that younger people perceive as having a genuine bearing on their lives they will participate in elections.

A platform along the lines of CGT on housing gains to fund reduced higher education costs, no more triple lock on pensions, means testing certain pensioner benefits, increased council tax on higher value houses with no discount for single person occupation, proper measures to stimulate house building, a debt jubilee on student debt etc would offer a real different choice and analysis of the UK's issues.

I was thinking that this might have been a good strategy for the Lib Dems; until I remembered Cleggs "issue" with tuition fees.........

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Wife and I have our first on the way. I often wondered if I would see any grand kids, but if this trend continues, maybe not. We started later than our parents, she's 31. If it gets any later for the next generation we might see the first generation born with serious health problems due to expensive housing for pensioners, that don't even need it.

Congrats, Hans. I hope you both have as smooth an entry to parenthood as can be expected.

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Who says Marriage or any of the other things in the article define 'growing up'?

A journalist stirring it. You'd find much the same story in the 1980s. Or probably any time since it became widespread for women to want careers.

I wonder how much those stats are influenced by a very current blip, as same-sex couples who've waited years take advantage of Cameron's flagship new law?

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Its not the upfront cost of marriage that is the problem. Its that if you get divorced and are a man you may as well just commit suicide given you'll be left penniless and your life will practically be over.

Yes, i can attest to that from personal experience.

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Its not the upfront cost of marriage that is the problem. Its that if you get divorced and are a man you may as well just commit suicide given you'll be left penniless and your life will practically be over.

I made it through and out the other side to a much happier place - but only because I left the UK. If I was still in the UK it would be bedsit land and beans, no doubt at all.

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