Baby Boomers… Generation X… Millennials… All labels given to the different generations that make up our society. But apart from the obvious age gaps, are these groups of people really very different? And will the life of the typical Millennial take a different route to the average Baby Boomer? Well according to research by some well-respected bodies, the answer is most definitely “yes” – in three fundamental ways.
Millennials delay starting families
The most recent data from the Office for National Statistics shows that in England and Wales in 2016, 54% of new mums and 68% of new fathers were aged 30 or over – with the average age of new mums and dads increasing by almost four years over the last four decades. The reasons for this change in behaviour are fairly clear – a growing number of women are looking to progress their careers before taking time out to have children. Plus increased financial pressures are delaying the point at which couples feel sufficiently well-off to start a family.
Delayed or denied access to the property ladder
According to government figures, the annual number of people taking their initial step onto the property ladder has fallen dramatically over the past 20 years - from 922,000 in 1995/96, to just 654,000 in 2015/16. While the average age of first-time buyers is continually creeping up. And again, it’s not hard to see why. Property prices have rocketed over the past two decades, and wages have failed to follow suit – which makes affordability a major issue for many people. And because rents have kept pace with house prices, tenants are finding it increasingly difficult, or in many cases utterly impossible, to save up for a deposit.
Larger, lengthier mortgages
Many Baby Boomers were able to buy their first home in their twenties, up-size in their thirties and become mortgage free in their fifties. But the future facing most Millennials is very different. Not only will they step onto the property ladder later in life, but many will take out a home loan that lasts longer than the traditional 25-year term. Data from the Council of Mortgage Lenders shows that nearly 60% of first-time buyers now take out a loan lasting more than 25 years. And as many will be repaying debts right up to, or even beyond retirement, this will have a major impact on the cash they can invest in their pension pots.