rites of passage
“The only friends I know with their own places have had their parents pay the deposit,” he says. “My father’s finally said he’ll help us with that, but as my work’s precarious I’m not sure we’ll be awarded a mortgage.”
Meanwhile, his partner is desperate to have a baby. “She’s 36 and broody and panicking about reports of fertility declining with age. But I say to her: ‘How can we have a baby; we haven’t even got room for a gerbil?’”
“My parents’ generation were all living in big houses by the time they were 40, but now they’re holding on to all the money and making it impossible for our generation to afford any of that. We’re just making do.”
So what will be the psychological effect of being denied these rites of passage? According to the National Health Service, prescriptions for antidepressants have risen by more than 40 per cent over the past four years, the result – mental health charities believe – almost entirely of economic pressures.
Steven Sylvester, a coaching psychologist and member of the British Psychological Society, has several clients who are finding it hard to reconcile the difference between their professional status and humble living arrangements.
“I have clients who are doing life-saving surgery but living in tiny rented flats,” he says. “If our system isn’t giving us what our parents had, it shakes our confidence to the core.”
“People in their twenties and thirties can’t see any light at the end of the tunnel. We need to make the transition from young adult to fully functioning member of society, but if you can’t buy a house before 40 then that transition is delayed.”
Some people have been so lucky and bought their houses and can relax, while others are standing outside the gates totally disempowered.
“It sounds juvenile to say the situation isn’t fair. But it isn’t, it just isn’t.”