Young adults fail to cut ties with home says new Co-operative report

May 06, 2013
  • 80% rely on parents for help with basic tasks, such as cleaning, transport and DIY
  • On average they earn £7,187 less than expected
  • This is a new ‘debt-eration’ with 77% of 18-30 year olds not fazed by debt

The under 30s are finding it almost impossible to break free emotionally and financially from their parents according to a new report published today (6 May) by The Co-operative.

Download report (PDF 6MB) 

The Co-operative Life in Modern Britain report front coverAs the first in a series of reports by The Co-operative Group, looking at the issues that are affect the British population at various life stages, a “lost generation” of 18-30 year olds has been identified who are struggling to become independent against the UK’s challenging economic backdrop.

More than eight out of 10 (84%) young adults in the UK admit to having received financial support from their parents since “coming of age”. Young adults in the 18-30 age range have asked their parents for financial help for a range of things from food shopping costs (43%) to holidays (36%) to debt payments (16%) and house purchases (8%).

But it’s not just financial support from the ”Bank of Mum and Dad”, with a high proportion of young adults (80%) still relying heavily on their parents for help with basic tasks and decision making. The most common areas for support including transportation (40%), chores such as cleaning and ironing (34%) and help with finding a job (27%).

The research highlights that money is an issue for young adults, with nearly a third (31%) not feeling financially independent. The report has identified the 18-30 “debt-eration” with nearly two thirds (60%) of 18-30 year olds admitting to having debt of some sort. The findings of the study reveal that for this generation debt is the new normality, with 77% of this age group simply not fazed by it.

Yet, despite parents and guardians helping their offspring repay debt, nearly a third of young adults are hiding their debt from their parents, amounting to an average burden of £3,579 of secret debt.

The main sources of debt for this age group are; student loans (63%), credit cards (31%), personal loans (23%), overdrafts (19%) and money borrowed from parents (18%).

Within the new “debt-eration”, it is clear from the research that their earning expectations do not live up to reality. Over two fifths (41%) earn less than they thought they would in  relation to their age and education level and, on average,  people aged 18-30 take home £7,187 less than they thought they would.

Also, according to the findings over a tenth (16%) of 18-30 year olds do not feel that they have a job which matches their qualifications level yet. However despite the current employment climate, over a third (39%) found it easy to obtain their first job.

Overall on broader issues, the report has uncovered that two fifths (40%) are dissatisfied with their lives so far. The main stress for this ambitious age group (40%) is a feeling that they should have achieved more in their lives, to date. Other significant stresses include: not having enough money to buy luxuries (38%), weight concerns (33%) and lack of sleep (32%).

Martyn Wates, Deputy Group Chief Executive at The Co-operative Group, said: “The findings of our study into 18 to 30 year olds living in Britain today offers a unique insight into their view of the world and their prospects for the future.

“It should not be forgotten that it is these young adults who are ultimately going to shape the future of Britain for years to come, so they need support and encouragement to thrive which, in turn, will only be positive for the future of the country.

“Whilst it is positive to see that young people believe that they will one day earn a healthy salary, the survey has signposted that the earnings of 18-30 year olds do not currently live up to expectations which highlights that, for now at least, this ambitious group may have to re-evaluate their ideals.”

Donna Dawson, psychologist ,said: “Gone is the stronger economy that surrounded this age-group while growing up, leaving them with a gap between what they are earning and what they think they should be earning – and this perceived ‘gap’ can lead to feelings of disillusionment and helplessness. And if their parents also gave them more and expected less of them while growing up, it becomes more difficult for this age-group to self-motivate and to do things for themselves.

“In order to help this generation to cope better, parents should encourage independence, initiative and self-sufficiency. This in turn will generate the self-confidence needed to tackle work and money issues, as well as help them to develop a more realistic outlook during an uncertain economy.”

Additional Information:

*Research conducted by ICM in March 2013 questioning 1,500 British adults aged 18-30