• Hi Guest: Welcome to TRIBE, the online home of TRIBE MAGAZINE. If you'd like to post here, or reply to existing posts on TRIBE, you first have to register. Join us!

Peter Pans, Adultescents... Still living in your parents' basement?

alexd

Administrator
Staff member
Generation who refuse to grow up: No mortgage. No marriage. No children. No career plan.

By MARIANNE POWER

The other day I had lunch with my father, who was in London on business. He took me to his favourite pub and somewhere between the tomato soup and the mains he started a conversation that he has, until now — miraculously — avoided.

He glanced nervously at the waiter and sank his glass of wine before launching in, asking me what my plans are for life: Did I see myself settling down and starting a family? Am I saving up to buy a house? What is going to be the next step in my career?

There was a pause as I looked at him blankly and shrugged, before muttering that immortal phrase, loved by teenagers across the land: ‘I dunno.’
Except I’m not a teenager. I am 34.

When he was my age, my father was putting my six-year-old sister and eight-year-old me through prep school, and had another three-year-old daughter at home. He had been running a business for ten years, owned a house and had a pension.

In short, all the usual trappings and responsibilities of a middle-class man of that generation.

I, on the other hand, live in a rented flat with my youngest sister and have few savings to speak of. I certainly don’t have a pension.
As for the idea of marriage and children, well, it’s exactly that: just an idea — it’s no closer to being a reality than it was when I was 23.

My ‘life plan’ as my father so sweetly called it, goes as far as this weekend.
‘Don’t you think you should start thinking about these things?’ he asked. ‘You do know you’re not 20 any more, don’t you?’
I’m not sure that I do.

While I am a fully paid up member of adult society in many ways — I pay taxes, cast my vote and give money to charity — in other ways, I am in hopeless denial about my age.

Though I had always assumed that, by now, I would have found the love of my life and settled down, by choice or by fate (I still don’t know which) that hasn’t happened.

As a result, I behave in much the same way I did ten years ago, spending my money today rather than putting it aside for the future. Always grabbing one more night out with friends before the invites dry up.
The thought of saving up the deposit for a flat is so daunting that I choose to throw money away on rent, instead.
I haven’t yet had to grow up so, well, I haven’t.

Reckless, irresponsible and immature? Yes. But at least I can take comfort in the fact I am not alone.

Last week, I read that there is even a name for people such as me. We are the ‘Peter Pan generation’; a sizeable group of 25 to 40-year-olds who exist in a state of extended adolescence, avoiding the trappings of responsibility — marriage, mortgage, children — for as long as possible.

‘Our society is full of lost boys and girls hanging out at the edge of adulthood,’ says Professor Frank Furedi, a sociologist who has been studying this phenomenon, at the University of Kent.

‘Another word sometimes used to describe these people is “adultescent” — generally defined as someone who refuses to settle down and make commitments, and who would rather go on partying into middle age.’
These people, he says, might live with their parents until they are in their 30s, choose to put off getting married as long as they can — or even remain single well into adulthood, continuing the life they had in their early 20s.
You only need to look at the statistics to observe this intriguing trend.
Back in 1970, men typically got married at 24 and women at 22. Currently, the average age at which people marry is 32 for men and 30 for women.

Why are the lives of my generation so utterly different from those of our parents?

A recent report shows that the number of women getting married in their late 30s and 40s has almost doubled in the past decade.
Meanwhile, the average age for starting a family today is 28 for women, up from 24 in 1970 . And, thanks to IVF and fertility treatment, more and more women are delaying starting families until they are 40.
What’s more, many more of us are deciding not to marry at all. Figures released by the Office for National Statistics at the end of last year show that more than half of women under 50 have never been married — double the figure recorded 30 years ago.

As for taking on the commitment of buying a house, in the Eighties the typical first-time buyer was 29. Today they are 38. And, according to a report by LV Insurers, by 2025, the average age of a first-time home-buyer is forecast to be 41.

So why has all this come about? Why are the lives of my generation so utterly different from those of our parents?
Well, you could blame the economy. Taking that first step of becoming an adult — buying a house — is harder than ever. Every day we see new headlines about adults having to move back home with their parents to save the sizeable deposits now needed to buy a property.

Three million 20-to-34-year-olds now live with their parents. A third are men and 18 per cent are women. And that three million total is an increase of 20 per cent between 1997 and 2011, according to the Office for National Statistics.

Even those who don’t live with their parents are more likely to be financially reliant on them. According to a report earlier this year, more than 13 million parents paid out £34billion in loans and gifts to offspring who are well into their 40s.

My parents are not in a position to help me financially, and I find the task of saving for a deposit to buy a flat so onerous, and the reality of what and where I could afford to buy so depressing, that I’ve made the (very childish) decision to not even think about it.

'People are scared of thinking of themselves as adults. They cannot see anything good that comes with being an adult; all our cultural values are with youth.'

Which may hint at the real problem. Professor Furedi, who is in his 60s, says we cannot blame the economy — or property prices — for what he calls the ‘infantalisation’ of today’s adults.

‘If you read the newspapers, all you hear is that young people’s lives have never been as horrible as today — which basically requires historical amnesia, because that is not the case. Recession and economic depressions have happened across the past century but, in my generation, the important thing was that you struck out on your own — even if you faced serious economic hardships and you were broke all the time. Now people make excuses,’ he says.

He believes there are much bigger psychological factors at play — and that the root of our refusal to grow up is fear.
‘People are scared of thinking of themselves as adults. They cannot see anything good that comes with being an adult; all our cultural values are with youth and the further we move away from that, the more anxious we become,’ he says.

He believes that the trend for adults to read books aimed at children and teenagers (such as Harry Potter, Hunger Games and Twilight), the popularity of cartoons such as the Simpsons, and the rise of adults playing computer games, are symptoms of this desire to escape adulthood.
‘People convince themselves that their immature behaviour is an attempt to become carefree, but it’s born out of fear.
‘We now have a culture in which people are frightened of what the future might hold and are terrified of taking risks.’
This can apply to leaving home — or even falling in love. ‘People now avoid or postpone thinking about making a commitment to others for fear they will get hurt,’ he adds.

So am I scared of being a fully-functioning adult? Scared of financial and romantic commitments?

Maybe, although I think it’s more the case that I have convinced myself that I don’t need to grow up — or settle down — just yet.
While my parents’ generation went straight from education to working and starting a family, all in their early 20s, we have a window of opportunity that means we can play around for a bit longer.

Contraception and changing societal attitudes mean that we don’t have to think about getting married and having babies straight away — and our career opportunities are myriad.
When my mother was coming of age, she had three choices: she could become a teacher, a nurse or a secretary. Her three daughters’ lives, however, are very different.
We went to university and were told there was nothing in the world we couldn’t do. We rose the career ladder, travelled the world and had a freedom she could only imagine.
We were — and still are — spoilt for choice. And many people would argue that this is not a good thing.

Just over ten years ago, a groundbreaking book by Alexandra Robbins and Abby Wilner coined the term ‘quarterlife crisis’ to describe the anxieties of a generation of 20-somethings who had the world at their feet, but no idea which direction to step in.
We were, according to the authors, ‘suffocated by choice, responsibility and self-doubt’.

The decisions on whether to marry or not marry, start a family or not, travel or stay put, stick in your existing job or find a new one can make us overwhelmed, anxious and depressed.

Another more recent report, from Greenwich University researcher Oliver Robinson, found that the ‘demanding nature’ of 20 and 30-somethings means we ‘are not happy with a mediocre, ploddy, conventional life’ — in other words, the kind we think our parents have.
But we’re not that happy with our freedom either.
Actually, the decisions on whether to marry or not marry, start a family or not, travel or stay put, stick in your existing job or find a new one can make us overwhelmed, anxious and depressed.

Of course, there is one decision that a woman — even of the Peter Pan variety — cannot put off for ever, and that is whether to have a child.
For years, I was too busy working and having fun to even think about it — and now, even at 34, I have no idea if I want to be a mother. No maternal urges have kicked in yet and, besides, there is not exactly a line of suitors waiting at my door.

Either way, I fool myself into thinking that I don’t have to decide just yet and cling to any headline about women having their children at 41 and 42 as proof that, yes, there is plenty of time.
But is there? The obvious truth is that fertility plummets in your 30s and I am worried that I will wake up one day and regret that I missed the boat on babies altogether.

I talk about these issues with my fellow eternally young friends, but I’ve noticed, recently, that we are fewer in number than we once were.
For while I have a handful of friends who, like me, are still busy living for the now, there are many more who have, almost without me noticing, found ways to buy the house and start a family.

They are very happy in their new phase of their life, while I am still clinging on to the old one.
In fact, I’m starting to think that there is a very real danger that, before long, I’ll be the last guest at the party, dancing alone, long after the music stops. And I don’t want that.

It reminds me of another less than flattering soubriquet for women such as me — TWIT (Teenage Women in their Thirties).
Apparently, we’re propping up bars across the country, hoping the dim light disguises our wrinkles and that our Topshop outfits help us to blend in with the 20-somethings around us. And that’s a very sad thought. Perhaps it is time to finally grow up.
Maybe after the summer...


Read more: Generation who refuse to grow up: No mortgage. No marriage. No children. No career plan. Like so many 30-somethings, Marianne Power admits she's one of them... | Mail Online
 

kuba

TRIBE Member
She looks closer to about 40 than 20.

If you are depressed, OK, I get it. But to be scared of growing up is an indication of laziness, stupidity, and perhaps retarded parenting.

Get over it, you're not 20, get a life.
 
tribe cannabis accessories silver grinders

djfear

TRIBE Member
I moved into my very first condo (the ones that AlexD loves so much :p) at the end of 32. I started making decent coin only at about 27, and before that it was more like coasting and figuring out what the fuck to do. Still don't have a wife or kids & I'm 33.

Is it hard? Hell yeah! Unless mommy or daddy helps, or you come from money, or if you're super diligent and working your ass off the moment you go to post secondary, you'll end up with a 30-40k loan (or potentially way more) once you're finished with post secondary, and then you need to save like 60k for a downpayment. So that's like 90k before you can actually start paying a mortgage for 25 freakin' years. You either live at home with the parents or you pay rent while you sloooowwwlllyyy accumulate enough of a down payment.

The classic formula of doing it yourself and going by the rules is simply too difficult for most people these days, especially when it's expected that you'll have double incomes.

I've been lucky insofar that I've been able to have enough fun (gone to Asia at least 4 times since 2007 amongst other places), but you definitely have to sacrifice a few things in order to achieve some goals. Just gotta live life at 100mph...
 

kyfe

TRIBE Member
nice post Djfear and congrats on the condo.

While at the time I thought it was torture that my parents wouldn't help me out with things like a car, school or a house, I realize now that it was the better way to manage things.

My first car was a 68 VW beetle that I bought using my Canada savings bonds from when i was a kid. I paid for school by myself so instead of going away to university I went to a nearby college and stayed back during the summer while my friends went out west for two years and partied it up. I managed to finish my education without incurring any debt which is a big feat these days.
I've always put away at least $100 a month when i was young so I had enough for a down payment on a house when the time came.

I guess what I'm getting at is that it's worth going through the struggle yourself and learning to deal with managing your money at a young age. Parents that allow their kids to coast into their 30's are not doing them any favors.
 

lucky1

TRIBE Member
This is another spin on analyzing the Millennial’s, or gen Y’s or whatever you want to call.

My friends and I are 30’s somethings and I don’t really align myself with the millennial generation. Can’t say I know too many people who lived at home until they were in their 30's. Most of my social group have been on their own and independent since their early 20's.

Career prospects are not the best so that limits one’s ability to purchase houses, have kids etc. I don’t think that my friends are “scared” to take on commitments it is just really expensive. Those of us who have purchased homes have pinched pennies and saved, and have made sacrifices such as not owning cars, not going on nice trips, less money for entertainment like nice dinners etc, and taken on large mortgages. Just sayin…
 

R4V4G3D_SKU11S

TRIBE Member
Parents that allow their kids to coast into their 30's are not doing them any favors.
Word. Teaching kids about $ early on will pay dividends for them by giving them options as they get older.

Those of us who have purchased homes have pinched pennies and saved, and have made sacrifices such as not owning cars, not going on nice trips, less money for entertainment like nice dinners etc
Double word.
 
tribe cannabis accessories silver grinders

Fillmore

TRIBE Member
Interesting read. I can really picture my younger brother here. He has had about 10 jobs and lived in 10 different apartments in the past 5 years. He consistently asks my parents to borrow money for first and last and to cover him until his pay comes in. He turns 30 this coming Saturday.

Thankfully I met my spouse at a young age so we have been able to building a future together with the purchase of cars and condos and keeping debt to a minimum. All without help from our parents.

Thankfully we have also agreed that there is no interest between us to have children.
 

derek

TRIBE Member
at 18 my options were:

1) Stay in school (College) and living a home was fine (paid my on tuition)
2) Work and pay rent (but not stay at home forever)
3) Leave

i chose option 1 and once i graduated i was left with 2 and 3 so I stayed at home one more year and paid rent (it was a good deal though certainly not market rate), and then flew the coop. fours years after which i bought my first home (not easy, i didn't travel for years, had a humble wardrobe, but luckily working fulltime and dj'ing on the side gave me enough income for some enjoyment).

mind you i'm talking 15 - 20 years ago where job propects for graduates were better.
 

le bricoleur

TRIBE Member
Those of us who have purchased homes have pinched pennies and saved, and have made sacrifices such as not owning cars, not going on nice trips, less money for entertainment like nice dinners etc, and taken on large mortgages.
As did our parents. That's what responsible, forward-thinking adults do. You can either live fast now or live comfortably later.
 
tribe cannabis accessories silver grinders

Hawk Eye

TRIBE Member
Just bc you aren't married or with children doesn't' mean that you haven't grown up and not an adult. Some people have different priorities in life. Others are also lucky enough to have met the love of their lives while they are in their 20s or at a younger age.

I've been having trouble saving for a condo bc i've kept getting laid off from one job after another due to the economic downturn. Most people i know that have condos have them bc mommy and daddy helped out with their down payment. :).. and the ones that I do know that have condos without their help, dont have any money to do anything bc they have to pay a mortgage!
 

kyfe

TRIBE Member
Just bc you aren't married or with children doesn't' mean that you haven't grown up and not an adult. Some people have different priorities in life. Others are also lucky enough to have met the love of their lives while they are in their 20s or at a younger age.

I've been having trouble saving for a condo bc i've kept getting laid off from one job after another due to the economic downturn. Most people i know that have condos have them bc mommy and daddy helped out with their down payment. :).. and the ones that I do know that have condos without their help, dont have any money to do anything bc they have to pay a mortgage!
I don't think anyone is saying you need to get married and have kids to be considered grown up.

As for the trouble buying a condo part, while I'm sorry to hear about your job as it is a definite reality you need to move past that and making excuses why you're not achieving your goals and why others are. No matter your situation it's still possible the only think your issues impact is time as in it may take you longer but that's about it. Maybe moving in with the rents is an option? If so maybe that's a sacrifice you need to make until you find stable employment.
 

Hawk Eye

TRIBE Member
owning a condo actually isn't part of my goal.. I have other goals so I guess those are more or a priority.. i have a friend who owns a condo (like i said in my original post) and he can never go out bc he has to pay for a mortgage (that's what he told me).. so he stays inside all of the time.
 

kuba

TRIBE Member
In my line of work I meet MANY first-time buyers and I can tell you that the majority of my clients do not rely on mom and dad. Matter of fact the clients I have in their late 20s early 30s have all saved money one way or another with a small boost for closing costs. Yes there are a few (small in #s) who get a large chunk of money but that's because the money is there to be given and it's not a burden on the parents in the first place.

I hope to god your dream isn't to "own a condo" because that's a nightmare scenario. Owning property should be something you strive & save for only if you can make it work but not as an end-goal because there could be many other great things that come in between that you may not see.

I look back at my life as a single-parent kid whose dad worked 10-12 hours a day without seeing me, taking the bus to school from grade four for an hour each way from the ghetto to a rich kids school to now where I'm at and shit yes I had to take risks and chances I would not have done if I had help from my dad. On the other hand had I listened to him I would've NEVER owned a home because each home I liked he hated.

Fillmore, - 'nuff respect on finding a partner with a similar life goal as you, I wonder how many unfortunate couples don't have that talk or realize its not what they wanted until it was too late.

I lately am finding it difficult to balance the "live now" vs "live comfortably later" mantra. I have a couple friends who literally do NOTHING. No trips, hardly ever dinners out, nothing. Their life seems boring and yes maybe when they're 50 they'll have a better life than me but I like to toe the line: live now and live for later.

Fuck! It is a hard balance for sure!
 

derek

TRIBE Member
you don't have to own property, some are actually more financially successful not owning but they're usually experts at budgeting or rake in really good salary.

i was in the house rich / cash poor category when i first bough. took me about 5 years to break free.

no mom and dad here either. saved for a down payment and used some of my rrsp (i'd been working about 4-5 year FT when i bought so had some savings)
 
tribe cannabis goldsmith - gold cannabis accessories

Hawk Eye

TRIBE Member
I lately am finding it difficult to balance the "live now" vs "live comfortably later" mantra. I have a couple friends who literally do NOTHING. No trips, hardly ever dinners out, nothing. Their life seems boring and yes maybe when they're 50 they'll have a better life than me but I like to toe the line: live now and live for later.

Fuck! It is a hard balance for sure!
I hear you on that! I have some friends who are like that also.. my one friend told me that trips stress him out. At least he seems happy.. but i have to be doing something.. have athletic goals and always trying to better myself.

I've started saving for something so hopefully in the future I can actually buy and have a place to myself. I love my roommate as she's one of my bff's but man i miss living by myself! Especially in this heat wave! Pants off haha (if I lived alone lol )
 

videotronic

TRIBE Member
I look back at my life as a single-parent kid whose dad worked 10-12 hours a day without seeing me, taking the bus to school from grade four for an hour each way from the ghetto to a rich kids school to now where I'm at and
[YOUTUBE]RubBzkZzpUA[/YOUTUBE]

??
 

erika

TRIBE Member
I lately am finding it difficult to balance the "live now" vs "live comfortably later" mantra. I have a couple friends who literally do NOTHING. No trips, hardly ever dinners out, nothing. Their life seems boring and yes maybe when they're 50 they'll have a better life than me but I like to toe the line: live now and live for later.

Fuck! It is a hard balance for sure!
Make sure you do balance that; several years ago I met a woman, single mother of two, whose husband had been hit by a car and died. This totally changed her outlook on that very issue, putting in more 80% in favour of live now...
 

kyfe

TRIBE Member
Make sure you do balance that; several years ago I met a woman, single mother of two, whose husband had been hit by a car and died. This totally changed her outlook on that very issue, putting in more 80% in favour of live now...
hopefully she filed a lawsuit and made the proper FLA claims for her children
 
tribe cannabis accessories silver grinders
Top