Gen Y and Gen Z are suffering heavily from the COVID-19 pandemic, with new research suggesting their key life milestones have been set back years – or possibly forever.

A home. A family. Steady employment, and a comfortable retirement. Those have been the dreams of many Australians living in the supposed ‘Land of the Fair Go’. But according to worrying new research, those dreams may be fading.

ME, the bank owned by industry super funds, surveyed 1,000 Gen Z and Gen Ys in September 2020 about their aspirations. What they found is disturbing. A whopping 82% of these young people believed it was easier for past generations to achieve their dreams.

The majority (65%) of young people said retiring at or before the age of 65 would be unlikely for them. Fifty-eight per cent said owning their dream home was also unlikely. And over half said they wouldn’t have enough superannuation to support their future selves (55%) and it was unlikely they would ever find their dream job, as opposed to a job that just pays the bills (53%).

COVID-19 appears to be worsening the situation, with 69% saying they were delaying major life goals as a result of the pandemic. Most (49%) felt they had been set back between one and three years.

Young women doing it toughest

ME’s research revealed a big gender divide. For example, 71% percent of young Australian women surveyed felt it was unlikely they could retire before 65, compared to 59% of men. Just over half (52%) of young women felt they wouldn’t be able to fully pay off their student debts, compared to only 37% of men.

Viv Micic, a 20-year-old aspiring actor living in Melbourne, confirmed to The Guardian that ME’s survey results matched the despair she and her peers are feeling.

“I applied for 20 jobs at the Cotton On group and I am really, really passionate about wanting to work at Typo. I love their stuff. But all of them come back as ‘Thank you for applying but no thanks’,” Vic told The Guardian.

“I definitely feel like, because the arts industry, especially in Melbourne, has been impacted so much by the pandemic, I will have to probably look overseas for acting because they’re probably going to end up, after the pandemic, cutting crew, cutting casts, trying to cut corners to make things possible.”

Stay hopeful, seek help 

ME spokesman Andrew Bartolo urged young Australians to stay optimistic and seek out support.

“This is the first recession many young Australians have experienced, and it will take some adjusting to,” Mr Bartolo said.

“The reality is that some goals like travelling overseas or saving for a house deposit have sadly been put on hold while we navigate 2020.

“The best thing young Aussies can do right now is not to lose hope, but reassess their goals, upskill the management of their personal finances and seek support when they need it.”

Members Equity Bank Limited ABN 56 070 887 679 AFSL and Australian Credit Licence 229500.

Date Published: 05/11/2020 Category: Member Benefits

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