Unsurprisingly, I don’t read the Financial Times. Still, it was hard to miss the Twitter furor surrounding last week’s article entitled Why Millennials go on holiday instead of saving for a pension. There’s no surprise it caught my eye – I’m a ‘Millennial’ and I’d much rather spend money on a holiday than on a pension. What’s more, I’m not afraid to admit it.
I’m fortunate to live in the South East of England, a part of the country that is now renowned for its hard-to-buy property due to its ever rising house prices. I live with my partner in a rented property, putting aside money each month in the hope that one day; we’ll have our own house. The average deposit for a house is huge but with the right determination, we’re pretty positive we’ll get there soon, or at least before we’re forty.
Still, being a twenty-something with no kids and a disposable income has its perks and aside from high rent, extortionate rail fares (my other half works in the city) and the other expenses we have to budget for, our real passion is travel.
We never did the gap year thing, heading off for intoxicating adventures to Thailand or South America. Instead, we carefully work out our holiday allowance and plan our trips at least a year in advance. After all, when you’re sat in an office chair all day, there’s nothing that perks you up more than the promise of another adventure just around the corner. We’re fortunate, but I’d like to think we work hard too.
I can’t speak on behalf of every ‘Millennial’ (I hate that word) but at this moment in time, holidays are important to me. In years to come, I’ll have other priorities. Hopefully, I’ll have a mortgage to worry about or a family car to pay for – my love for holidays is likely to be replaced with school runs and stamp duty. Ultimately, I’m lucky to have the freedom to spend my money on what I need, wherever my priorities lie.
The saddest thing about this article is not the implausible advice that aged 25 we should all save £800 a month to enable a comfortable retirement, it’s the inference that our money is not our own. If you fancy spending your hard-earned cash on cigarettes and KFC Bargain Buckets, that’s up to you. Just like it will also be up to you to decide how to spend your retirement.
Maybe it’s about time we all stopped judging each other for how and what we spend, and did whatever we wanted? It’s easy as youngsters to be told that we should save up for our future right now when our parents spent most of their cash on skinny jeans and shandy in their youth. I might not feel like I have enough for a comfortable retirement at the moment but I’ve got something that can’t be bought and that’s a collection of great memories. Safe to say, I won’t be succumbing to pressure just yet – saving for my pension can quite happily go on the back-burner.