Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Perhaps Silver Surfers Could Bail Us Out

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Perhaps Silver Surfers Could Bail Us Out

Article excerpt

Byline: HELEN DALBY

IATTENDED my mum's retirement party this week.

She had worked for the last 40 years for the civil service and retired on one of those very tidy final salary deals that will shortly be a thing of the past.

My mother has always been a huge inspiration to me career-wise and has worked for every penny of said tidy lump sum. I'm delighted she is retiring young enough - she's 56, a fact she'll thank me for revealing in a newspaper - to enjoy the fruits of her labour. A trip to Egypt and another to Australia beckon.

However, that both my retired parents earn more for not getting out of bed than myself and most of my friends and peers do for working full-time indicates to me how different things are for my generation than for theirs.

The mortgage on my mum's four-bedroom detached house is paid off and even during its lifetime, it was considerably smaller, the house having been purchased in the early 1990s, than the mortgage on my bijou new-build, bought in 2005.

Retiring in our 50s is likely to be a pipe dream for most current twenty and thirty-somethings. I turn 30 next month; on nights out with friends, I have had conversations about whether we think we are putting enough into our pensions. Perhaps I have a particularly dull set of friends.

More likely, our discussion topics reflect the growing concerns of others our age.

Students now are emerging from university, crippled with debt and still slightly drunk, into a jobs market that seems, on darker days, to be jettisoning opportunities by the hour. They must be terrified.

I remember my own apprehension when, six months after completing my masters, I was still temping and anxiously awaiting interview feedback. It was only after a prolonged period of working for a magazine free of charge at weekends, and temping during the week in a series of awful jobs - character-building, anecdote-inspiring, but sinkholes nonetheless, all the while watched by parents increasingly convinced I was having some sort of Graduate-style existential crisis - that the right opportunity came up and my career began.

Seven years on, the challenge of getting a secure, permanent graduate job and beginning to tackle the mountain of loan debt must seem overwhelming, and getting on the property ladder laughably unlikely. …

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