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Yet more unhelpful advice for millennials: Barclays has joined the admonishing chorus by announcing that millennial couples need to stop spending an average £3,500 on annual cruises or £5,946 a year on eating out twice a week.
First, it’s unlikely that many millennials go on cruises, a distinctly octogenarian activity. Secondly, if we drill down into the cost of eating out calculated, we get to £29 a head per meal, which is pretty high given that the average curry or Pad Thai costs maybe £10.
In any case, the problem with such advice is that it completely misses the issue.
It is reminiscent of the advice of the property developer who suggested that if only millennials stopped eating avocado on toast, they would be able to afford a property.
The BBC calculated that a deposit on a London property would equal 24,499 avocado toasts.
Even if we each saved the £3,500 allegedly spent on cruises, this sum is dwarfed by the rising cost of getting on the housing ladder (house prices in England increased by 5.2 per cent in 2017), while we’re paying more than half our income on rent and bills, and settling ever-increasing student debt.
To actually better millennial retirement prospects, the UK needs to address its housing crisis, lower the cost of higher education, counteract the rising cost of living and create better tax incentives for millennials to save and invest.
Until then, systemic intergenerational inequality will persist, regardless of whether we eat out in restaurants or not.
This column was originally published as part of Marina’s Imaginary Musings, Money Observer, April issue 2018