Fears For The Future: Half of British Youth Believe They Will Never Earn Enough to Support a Family

Lucy Popham

Amid the looming recession, 16-25-year-olds fear they will not have a likely disposable income, and perceptions of mental health and well-being have reached a fourteen-year low, according to a Prince’s Trust study. Impact’s Lucy Popham discusses.

According to the Prince’s Trust NatWest Youth Index 2023, 16-25-year-olds are the most unhappy with their money and mental health, reaching a record low in the fourteen-year history of research. The survey was conducted in the United Kingdom between 22nd November and 7th December 2022, and it reaches a record low for the age group in the categories of mental health and well-being. The Prince’s Trust youth index polling started in 2008 during the global financial crisis, but this report shows that young people in 2023 are less satisfied and confident with money than they were then. The diminishing levels of happiness and confidence are accredited to the cost-of-living crisis and the upcoming recession. Young people are losing hope in the future and their ability to achieve their potential.

Economic uncertainty and the number of young people thinking they will fail in life are drastically increasing; 35% of young people say worrying about money causes stress and depression

The upcoming recession is the greatest concern for young people as they fear financial instability, meaning that their life goals and career aspirations are diminished. The looming financial crisis is generating a great deal of fear for the future amongst 16–25-year-olds with 45% of young people don’t think they will have enough to support a family. This figure rises to 53% within poorer backgrounds according to the Prince’s Trust survey. Those from these backgrounds are affected the most – particularly, those who receive free school meals or are unemployed. Concerns of never earning enough to support a family are permeating the minds of the youth.

Young people regard having a job offers financial security, improved well-being, and a happier life. It is no surprise that, post-pandemic, the upcoming financial crisis is disheartening for 16–25-year-olds. The young age group have less disposable income than in previous years, and the recession will only worsen the issue. Young people are unhopeful about the possibility of providing for a family when it is challenging enough to provide for themselves. Economic uncertainty and the number of young people thinking they will fail in life are drastically increasing; 35% of young people say worrying about money causes stress and depression. Young people perceive financial stability and well-being to go hand in hand.  Since the pandemic, the well-being of 16–25-year-olds has not recovered which impacts the future well-being of the age group. When polled in the survey about young people’s life goals 64% said economic security was at the top of the list, followed by good mental health and having a family. This appears a near-impossible achievement when just under half of young people have lost faith in the future and confidence levels are disintegrating.

The Prince’s Trust mission is to hopefully guide [young people] into the right career paths, allowing them to achieve their goals for the future

Although the future appears bleak for many young people, despite the challenges some 70% of young people feel determined to achieve their goals in life. Despite being unsure how possible this might be, this demonstrates some hope amongst 16–25-year-olds as they are still determined to achieve their goals. The Prince’s Trust ‘Class of Covid’ Campaign is in place to support young people in regaining confidence in their potential and skills for the future. This will provide opportunities for those young people feeling disheartened about the future. The Prince’s Trust mission is to hopefully guide them into the right career paths, allowing them to achieve their goals for the future.

NatWest and the Prince’s Trust have been in partnership for over 20 years, helping thousands of young people to start their own businesses and to also develop essential skills. NatWest and Prince’s Trust also help the volunteers’ staff in reaching out to vulnerable and other groups of 16–25-year-olds who feel unhopeful and dissatisfied with the likely outcome of their future. This will hopefully improve the well-being of the youth today and likely improve their aspirations for the future.

Lucy Popham

Featured image courtesy of Jessica Rockowitz on Unsplash. Image license found here. No changes were made to this image.

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