The millennial generation has long complained of financial pressures not faced by their predecessors. With the cost of living rising but salaries stagnating, young professionals are subject to increasing financial strain, but what are the biggest expenses to worry about?
Using data from Revolut (via The Guardian), the Office for National Statistics (ONS, via Money Advice Service) and the BBC, we highlight the five key areas burning holes in the pockets of millennials and Generation Z.
The biggest financial outlay for most young professionals will be accommodation. With it being harder than ever to get on the property ladder, around 60% of 25-34-year olds and nearly 90% of 16-24-year olds are renting.
As for costs, London represents the most expensive city in Europe for monthly rent at an average of £2,159 for a city apartment. UK-wide, a typical one-bed apartment costs around £600 a month, meaning £7,200 in total rental costs over the year. Many renters will share, in which case rent can drop to £250 a month (£3,000 a year) in an average three-bed house.
According to Revolut, the UK sits third in Europe for the most expensive groceries, with the average monthly bill for 25-40-year olds coming in at £206, only behind Switzerland (£225) and Luxembourg (£247). Meanwhile, the ONS suggests yearly food spend sits at £2,896.
Big figures, but perhaps not surprising considering our propensity for morning coffee shop visits, fast food lunches, regular takeaways and a tendency to shop at premium supermarket chains.
Whether you’re running a car or using public transport, daily commuting costs add up to a significant figure, with the UK once again leading the continent for most expensive travel at £135 a month.
Rail fares are comfortably the highest in Europe, for example commuters travelling daily between Luton and London St Pancras will spend £387 on a monthly pass.
Meanwhile, with potential finance, maintenance and insurance costs to consider, the ONS suggests the annual cost of running a car sits at around £1,700.
Utility costs are an unfortunate reality of life, and a notable one at that. The ONS puts the average yearly household cost of gas, electric and water at just under £1,500 combined. Although this will likely be lower for younger people living in smaller accommodation, most should expect to pay over £1,000 a year for their essential services.
Outside of the basics, non-essential bills such as phone and broadband account for £900 a year which, considering younger people are more likely to have the latest phones and therefore bigger contracts, seems an accurate figure for the millennial demographic.
While the above costs represent the four largest expenditures for young and old alike, they don’t account for the full picture of younger professional spending. Elements like social, fitness, travel and student loan costs will all add to an individual’s annual spending to differing degrees.
What is clear is that particularly UK-based young professionals face a significant challenge in staying financially organised. According to Revolut at least, while the UK sits near the top of many charts of key expenditure for 25-40-year olds, it only lands 11th in net monthly income for the same age bracket.
With that in mind, it’s fair to say the UK’s young professionals are feeling the strain more than most, as pay trails behind the cost of living.