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To disagree with my work colleagues in thinking that the cost of living is a potentially serious social problem?

(239 Posts)
Livingtothefull Sun 22-Oct-17 15:02:21

I was having a discussion with a few work colleagues, they were all 50-60 somethings and own their own properties, only small mortgages left etc. We are based in one of the major cities in the UK.

I said that it was a big problem that a lot of people, despite working hard & having good jobs and/or professional qualifications, couldn't afford to buy property and much of their salary went on rented accommodation which left them very little disposable income….also many jobs were insecure which left them worrying about being able to afford rent or to save.

I have previously talked to a few (mostly younger) people who are in this position. One person who is a police officer in his 30s complained that he had been a police offer for 12 years, been promoted but still couldn't get on the housing ladder.

I suggested to these colleagues that there was something intrinsically wrong when a police officer - doing a difficult, sometimes dangerous and necessary role - couldn't afford to buy himself even a small flat.
They all quite vehemently disagreed with me; their response was, that rather than complain about the cost of living, people should just go wherever the work and job security is and where housing is more affordable, and if that means moving away to a cheaper area then so be it (one or two of them pointed out that they had had to do this when they were starting out).

I was really quite surprised at their response: is it just me who thinks this way? How are people with personal/family ties to where they live supposed to just up & move? What about essential workers like nurses/police officers who are needed everywhere, not just in affordable areas?

I do feel that the 50-60s are a luckier generation (I belong to it btw) & I was surprised at their response, some of them have DCs? I do feel things are tougher for the younger generation & it can be difficult to get ahead, I think I have quite a lot of anecdotal evidence from them (no massive student loans in my day either). I just felt that the colleagues I spoke to weren't aware of how much the world has changed - but would be interested to know what others thought about this.

expatinscotland Sun 22-Oct-17 15:07:27

There's a lot of I'm Alright, Jack mentality about. YANBU

Thesecondtoast Sun 22-Oct-17 15:09:00

I would have thought that people working for the police need to stay close to family support networks than other jobs due to the antisocial hours. Finding affordable paid-for childcare must be impossible.

BabsGangoolies Sun 22-Oct-17 15:09:05

Well theres so much more to consider, like transport costs, a car or two, children, divorce, marriage, is the partner earning??

ChanandlerBongsNeighbour Sun 22-Oct-17 15:11:32

I agree with you! Myself and DH are both employed professionals in the public sector (me for 11 years and him for 14 years, he is also higher rate tax payer!) and yet we have struggled to get a mortgage!! We are currently renting and buying in the new year but our margins are SO tight it's ridiculous! Yet we need to be where we are for our jobs.

BossWitch Sun 22-Oct-17 15:11:45

Let's see how they feel when they are in their 70s and 80s, need care, the welfare state has collapsed and their children have all had to move hours away to find job security and affordable housing. A lot of people who are fine with the younger generation having to up sticks just to finally afford a foot on the housing ladder will be facing a very lonely old age.

Eryri1981 Sun 22-Oct-17 15:20:05

My ( widowed) DM was moaning about the lack of community with young families/ couples who have moved onto the estate she lives on (Cotswolds area) over the last few years.

I tried to point out to her that for anyone of my generation to even begin to afford a home there they needed 2 good incomes from 2 full time jobs, and as a result when they did have time off they were going to choose to spend it together as a couple and with their kids, not with the wider community. The fact that for much of the UK house prices are as high as they are is down to political decisions/ voting choices of the older "baby boomer" generation. So they reap what they sow, unfortunately.

She came back with the whole arguement that we have nicer holidays/cars etc now. Which is true, but as I pointed out, most couples probably don't need 2 complete full time salaries to cover their massive mortgage, but trying to convince an employer to agree to part time hours is simply impossible for many people, so why shouldn't they use their disposable income to enjoy life a little.

Ttbb Sun 22-Oct-17 15:28:57

YANBU-they have been out of the loop for so long that they don't realise that all of the cheaper housing is no where near areas of employment.

SmileAndNod Sun 22-Oct-17 15:29:12

I do agree. Our LL is selling up. We pay 1100 a month in rent and yet we cant get a mortgage. House prices here are around the 300kmark (3 bed) and wages are nowhere near that- we both work ft and earn just under 50 toghether. DM cannot understand why we cant buy (even though we can afford the rent every month) and I'm tired of explaining it.

I'm praying that a rental will come up after xmas. we had considered a part rent/buy scheme but would have to rehome our family pet sad.

Its a fucked up system whereby it seems to be a privilege to have a stable roof over your head

expatinscotland Sun 22-Oct-17 15:29:15

Oh, yes, they like to come out with 'But we didn't have microwaves and mobile phones. No shit! No one did because they weren't invented, dumb ass. A lot of people seriously believe the rise in the cost of living is caused by technological advances and not, you know, inflation.

Livingtothefull Sun 22-Oct-17 15:31:53

Thanks all. Yes I do feel that they were very narrowly focused on what was good for them here & now. A couple of them have complained about not making money on their savings due to low interest rates and so it would be a good thing if these went up; 'anyone with savings should want interest rates to rise'. This was despite pointing out the risk to those with mortgages/other debts.

And yet later they were complaining about rising crime rates. To me so many of these things are connected. Although crime can never be excused, a few individuals are more likely to turn to crime of they don't feel they have a stake in society.

allegretto Sun 22-Oct-17 15:32:33

People should just go wherever the work and job security is and where housing is more affordable, and if that means moving away to a cheaper area then so be it

Presumably then they are all remainers and have no problem with people from Romania and Poland doing just that, after all British people can move elsewhere in the EU if they can't find a job closer to home?

TakemedowntoPotatoCity Sun 22-Oct-17 15:34:45

My DM is really quite entitled, as I think is much of the boomer generation. It may be pure jealousy but a little empathy from them sometimes wouldn't go amiss.

Phineyj Sun 22-Oct-17 15:39:07

I agree, YANBU. DH and I are fortunate to be in the situation of your colleagues although we are a little younger - we are very aware of our good luck as we have heaps of friends and colleagues who despite being on reasonable salaries are doing (to us) unbelievable things like spending over half of their take-home on rent. I'm not sure what the solution is, but moving to anywhere with low house prices essentially means moving to somewhere with low employment, so it's a conundrum for sure. DH moved from the NE to the SW/SE in search of work when he was younger so he feels sorry this is no longer an option.

Iamagreyhoundhearmeroar Sun 22-Oct-17 15:44:35

Isn't this what the key worker housing was supposed to address? It obviously doesn't go nearly far enough...

Livingtothefull Sun 22-Oct-17 15:46:10

Oh don't get me started on Brexit….the last kick in the teeth from the 'baby boomers' to the rest of us. Although it may backfire on them (us?) too.

For example - we are heading for a crisis in the NHS:

'According to a study by the Nuffield Trust, the NHS is facing disaster.

'The crisis is partly a product of Brexit. There are currently 190,000 British pensioners living abroad in Europe. At the moment, their health care is provided by the EU, rather than the NHS. If those benefits are withdrawn because of Brexit, the NHS will have to provide about 900 extra beds — enough to fill two whole new hospitals.

'With that enormous influx of patients, Britain is going to need more doctors and nurses than ever. Unfortunately, that influx would come in the midst of an unprecedented staffing shortage, which will be undoubtedly worsened if the massive exodus of foreign-born doctors and nurses practicing in the UK leave, as many are predicting'.

And we also have an ageing population at home already.

toolonglurking Sun 22-Oct-17 15:46:54

We 'moved to where the work is' and are now 400 miles from family and friends. We have no help with childcare and it's difficult to see family and friends because we are so far away. On the bright side, we can afford our home, and have reasonable jobs.

If people are willing to make a sacrifice, it can be worth it. I'm not commenting on whether we should have had to make that move, but it worked out for us (early 30s)

BewareOfDragons Sun 22-Oct-17 15:54:50

I see all the time, too, OP.

My own PILs who both retired young with very secure, large pension pots and investments can't seem to understand why we don't have the time and money that they do to take days off when we feel like it, travel to see them when they want to see us ... hmm

disahsterdahling Sun 22-Oct-17 15:59:54

I kind of see both sides. Ultimately you buy where you can afford to, but there seem to be quite a few people out there who get all grumpy when they can't afford to buy in the expensive area they've set their hearts on.
Even in the south east there are cheaper areas, and even outside the south east there are jobs.

If I had the choice I'd move outside the south east but my DH is from London and it will take some doing to move him away. That said, when he realises how much more we could get for our money elsewhere, he's less against the idea.

There was a Location the other week where a couple wanted a flat in south west London. They had £750K to spend. They could have had a really nice house, even in the south-east. But they restricted their area massively. They had the budget to do it, but if you haven't, you just have to live elsewhere. But people won't.

I am fortunate to have a mortgage-free house. But we joke it's the opposite of a Tardis, bigger on the outside than it is on the inside - it's not very big.

Not sure what Brexit has to do with it. If you stay in the EU you have a choice of 28 countries to live in, if you leave, you've got one unless you can rustle up an EU passport from somewhere. So the situation is only going to get more restrictive.

As for being smug baby boomers, their investments have been worth nothing for years because of low interest rates.

It would help if more employers would move into the 21st century and embrace remote working. If you only need to go into the office one a week or once a month, you can live much further away.

All that said, it is a stupid system when you can pay £1100 in rent but can't get a mortgage.

BananaSandwichesEveryDay Sun 22-Oct-17 16:03:15

DH and I are in that age group. When we got married, we had to move about 20 miles away in order to afford a property. However, we could afford a mortgage on two 'big standard ' salaries - neither if us went to university. Having said that, we were paying a mortgage at a time when interest rates only ever seemed to go up, sometimes more than once over the course of a week, and reached something like 16%. It was a struggle - living costs were rising and not the easy ride many younger people assume when they are blaming the baby boomers for today's difficulties. My dcs are unlikely to ever afford their own property in this area. They work here and shouldn't have to move away to be able to afford a home of their own. One is a keyworker so in theory, could get a job anywhere in the country. But if they, and others in the same job, move away, what will happen to our cities ? No healthcare, police, firefighters, teachers quite apart from the other jobs that keep our towns and cities running.
Your colleague's attitude is very short sighted.

boldlygoingsomewhere Sun 22-Oct-17 16:04:37

YANBU, my husband and I both have professional jobs with a reasonable household income but cannot afford a modest family home. We're not even after anything special - a 3 bed terrace would be fine - but the average price round here is 350k+ and it doesn't get much cheaper even 60 miles further out.

I really worry about the impact further in the future of a whole generation that will not be able to pay rent in their old age or any care costs. Why are no politicians seriously thinking about the long-term economic impact of this?

Mummyoflittledragon Sun 22-Oct-17 16:06:50

Dh and I are the last generation to have benefited from cheaper house prices, but not rock bottom prices like the previous generation. (Dh almost 50, I’m mid 40’s). So I do empathise but I’m not in my mother’s league. My mother cannot see it herself at all. Poverty for her doesn’t exist. As she sits in her fully paid off £1m house and lives on income from her rentals.

And yes, Brexit, great kick in the teeth confused.

0nesie Sun 22-Oct-17 16:13:34

Reminds me of this;

SmileAndNod Sun 22-Oct-17 16:22:11

Clearly we don't have 'nice' things like holidays abroad or a car each or take aways or gadgets though. I wish banks would take monthly good paying habits etc into account rather than just lending 2x your salary.

Anyway that's a whole different thread but I'm feeling a bit disheartened at the minute. How is it that house prices are at least 10x the average wage anyway? And why does nobody in Govt care?

Out2pasture Sun 22-Oct-17 16:25:20

I’m in the 50-60 range, times were tough in the 80’s a huge recession and interest rates 12% plus. People did move. Once retired you can if you so wish move back.
Where I live police are not allowed to work near family, too risky for the family, puts the officer in difficult situations dealing with family. They get transferred every few years to different communities and have a guaranteed house buy back plan included in their contract. RCMP

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