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Youth and Wealth

by Emily (follow)
finance wealth #debt #money #youth (1)     

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I'm watching documentaries - a usual Sunday afternoon. Today though, instead of David Attenborough commenting quietly on the grazing habits of a desert rodent, I'm listening to the voices of everyday Britons explaining the appeal of payday loans. The programme is called 'The Truth About Payday Loans: Young, British and Broke' and it explores the culture of using payday loans not as a stop-gap for rental or bill payment, but as a means of financing the shopping and partying lifestyle of broke students. The problem, of course, is what happens when it's time to pay it back.

With university and rental fees skyrocketing, what is it that is driving tens of thousands of young people to dig their grave of debt even deeper? And is it really ethical for payday lenders to continue to allow people already in debt to take even more money?

"I'm a student now, I can go out when I want, do what I want... everyone's single and fun." Leeds University student Orla laughs. She's been known to step into another room during a night out, make a phone call, and then use the instant money on more drinks. Famously bankrupt, narrator Miquita Oliver can understand why students like Orla are drawn to the loans - "it lets you live a bit differently, even if it's just for an evening."

Is it escapism then? Certainly I can identify with the strong disillusionment other young people experience, when the ideal of 'having it all' falls apart in the face of reality. Perhaps it is a symptom of our younger generation, faced with a future of looking after an ageing population and struggling against ever-growing real estate prices and diminished job markets. Who, in the face of this future, wouldn't want a quick fix and a stiff drink?

In contrast with the barflies is 21-year-old Dean, who explains "I just had to sell my phone for a fiver for food... I've got no money at all... that's why we just come here today, to get money for gas and electric, a bit of food."

The question we are led helplessly toward is what, if anything, can be done.

I can't help but think that whatever we can do will be too little, too late.

#finance #wealth #debt #money #youth
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