Thursday, 6 August 2015

Stacking The Deck

As a parent, I want to see my children flourish. I want them to grow up in the knowledge they are loved, valued, and to have a healthy outlook and a degree of hope. Yet when I see how difficult it is for young people these days I wonder whether society is giving them a fair chance? I look at the price of housing, and from the get go I just cannot for the life of me see how a young person can get on the ladder. Minimum deposit of 25% required in some cases, and borrowing up to 3.4x their salary. And to this add student fees, and all the other costs of living. That looks like a challenge for a couple, let alone a single person just starting out. Talking of couples, it now seems to be the case that both have to work full time to cover the basic costs of living, so where does this leave time for relationship building, for child care, for building a strong and healthy family dynamic? It just looks to me as if we're stacking the odds against them, as if we're intent on trying to throw as many stumbling blocks in the way as we can. Even the best and most committed parents are going to struggle to give their kids a decent foundation when they are so busy trying to keep the wolves from the door. Joy and I bought our house 18 years ago, put down a big deposit, and as such have had a tiny mortgage for the entire duration of our marriage. This allowed us to survive on a single income, enabling Joy to be a stay at home mother and invest in our girls. How many of today's young people are ever going to have this option? How can you raise a family when there is so much external pressure just to keep the debts down? Heck, for that matter, how is it even possible to be a partner in a relationship that has so many challenges from the outset? I wish I had an answer, but I cannot create affordable housing or reduce student loans. If I could I would. This blog for me is borne of deep sadness, of frustration that we continue to stack the deck against the younger generation. It's almost as if we are setting them up to fail. And as we do this the real cost is to society itself, which continues to fragment and morph into something so far removed from traditional family as to render it unrecognisable. And I'm a big supporter of the traditional family because this gives us the best chance of giving our kids what I'd describe as roots and wings. Roots being a deep sense of inner security, wings being the confidence to fly the nest when the time is right. And at the end of the day I just want to see my kids have a realistic chance of having a rewarding and full life. The life I've been fortunate enough to enjoy. I just wish I could do more to make this possible, but it all seems so out of our hands.

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