Stay-at-home Child

Fiona Wright has told the story of an older millennial who has already experienced the plight of Australia’s property market on young adults. Unfortunately, the situation hasn’t gotten much better almost a decade on, and as a 19-year-old university student still living at home with my parents, the dream of moving out, let alone owning my own home seems grimmer every year. The 2017 Federal Budget was released on May 9 and a number of measures were introduced that will affect millennials in years to come. With even the Opposition Leader, Bill Shorten calling the budget ‘a war on young people’, I can’t help but feel targeted and helpless for my future.

I am currently undertaking my Communications and Business degree at Western Sydney University, working casually as a service operator and team leader at Kmart and receiving limited benefits from the government under the Youth Allowance scheme. With the limited funds and time I have, I can’t imagine ever leaving my family home and, while I appreciate the effort the government has exerted in their housing affordability scheme, my fellow millennials and I are skeptical of the actual practicality of the initiative.

Renting is already close to impossible on my income, as well as the prejudice I face as a young adult from landlords, it makes me wonder if I will ever be able to afford my own home. With older generations calling me lazy and entitled, I question their mindset. Many of these older skeptics owned their own home within their 20’s, obtained a free university degree or didn’t even bother to attend any tertiary institutions, and somehow maintained a healthy social life. Saying they were harder workers than young adults nowadays is questionable considering the amount of pressure put on millennials in the 21st century. Studies specifically show how the mental health of millennials has decreased over the last few decades and this can be attributed to the increased stress levels from higher education, the declining number of jobs, increasing house and rent prices and just the general higher cost of living.

I look at my older brother, who at 23-years-old has already backpacked through Europe, road-tripped the eastern coast of Australia, met the love of his life, obtained a full-time job and moved out to a small but comfortable flat towards the city with his partner. They have already traveled back to Europe once in the past two years and will once again return in less than a month. However, to obtain this and continue living out of home, they have had to cut many luxuries and have basically isolated themselves to work, home and the gym, with the occasional night out to dinner or drinks with a few close mates. It seems as though the only two choices we have as millennials are to enjoy our youth but remain under our parents roof or move out, gaining our independence but not being able to do anything with it.

I have a similar dream to my brothers of travelling and backpacking the world whilst being able to return to my own home, like most millennials among me, but the dream of having both is becoming a more and more distant idea as we move through the generations.

And thus, I am periled by the idea of being 30-years-old, living at home with my parents, struggling to find a long-lasting job and trying to pay off my university fees that have accumulated over the years. AKA, every millennials worst nightmare.

Triple J’s Hack host, Tom Tilley, provokes Treasurer Scott Morrison to put himself in the shoes of a 21-year-old Australian, and the discussion that follows truly emphasises the utter disregard of our older generations for Australia’s future: us millennials.

Minutes 8:55–20:35 encompass the Treasurers radio appearance and housing affordability discussion:

So what kind of future do I, as a millennial university student, have to look forward to? The government is doing a great job at sustaining the future of older generations, but younger generations continue to suffer and question our livelihood.

While the governments housing incentive will allow first home buyers to save up to $30,000 tax-free for a deposit, this doesn’t really solve the problem as millennials have less disposable income to put into savings in the first place, I know I wouldn’t be able to spare much from my income. Along with the fact that deposits, especially in Sydney and Melbourne and outer suburbs, would be closer to $120,000. There would also be the rest of the mortgage that would have to be paid off, if we are even able to obtain a loan, that is.

Surely the government would want to support the future and our basic needs, right?

So here I am. A millennial girl, standing in front of Australia, asking it to take a chance on my future. Asking my fellow millennials to take a stand too. The only way we will be able to make a change for our future is to take action, not by sitting on our parents couch, moping for the rest of our lives.