Life’s looking grim in 2030
We won’t need a tourism industry in 20 years’ time. And forget about annual leave, school holidays and sibling rivalry too.
Because, at least according to a series of predictions this week, by 2030 Australia will be a jumble of stressed individuals who’ve spent 10 years scrimping and saving for a house deposit and will be too broke and possibly too frightened to contemplate bringing more than one child into the world. Instead the choice will be to hold on for dear life to careers and term deposit accounts that have been fought for long and hard.
Take real estate, for example.
On Monday afternoon I caught myself forwarding friends the first paragraph of an advertisement from last Saturday’s Domain, just for fun.
“If you’re looking for a large house and garden in the inner west where all the hard work has been done, then this is the property for you,” it read before listing the starting price: $2.2 million.
“Oh come now,” remarked one friend, “We all have a spare 2.2 mil just laying around. What?”
“Roflmaocopter,” scoffed another.
But that’s about as funny as it gets.
News.com.au reported this week that today’s “young couples” can expect to save from anywhere between five and 10 years for a house deposit before they can even consider buying a house in cities like Sydney, Melbourne and Perth.
“It now takes longer to save for a house that it does to complete some university degrees,” said Bankwest retail CEO Vittoria Shortt. A reality made even more sobering when you consider that once you’ve finally secured the deposit, you’ve only got the cost of the average Australian house (approximatley $468,000) to pay for.
And what if you’re thinking about raising a family? With such a mixed bag of messages from previous generations and all the inter-government squabbling we’ve been subjected to, are any of us really brave enough to attempt it?
Institute of Family Studies director Alan Hayes told the ABC that while the birth rate continues to rise, despite society’s pressures, there are more families with both parents working than ever before.
And despite seeing a positive future for Australian families in the long term, he said it’s also “very difficult to predict what families will look like in 10 or 20 years, given the pace of change that’s occurred already.”
But a report in Monday’s Sydney Morning Herald told a different story.
According to researchers at the University of Melbourne, despite being “encouraged to excel academically” while they attended high school, approximately 60 per cent of tertiary educated women from Generation X have blamed the “lack of family friendly policies” for their decision not to return to the workforce after having children.
Not only that, the study has found our collective health is suffering too.
When compared with a group of Canadian Gen X’ers, the Australian group (both men and women) were found to have “longer working hours” and “less job security”, leaving them “less able to establish long-term partnerships” and “have children as early.”
Add that to the problems of our rapidly ageing population and the unknown effects of climate change and 2030 is starting to look pretty grim.
Unless, of course, you’re one of those lucky few with a spare $2.2 million lying around the place. In that case, the future’s yours.
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