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Great Australian Dream slipping away for the young?

2020-11-13

A home. A family. Steady employment, and a comfortable retirement. Those have been the dreams of many Australians living in the supposed 'Land of the Fair Go'. But according to worrying new research, those dreams may be fading. 

ME, the bank owned by industry super funds, surveyed 1,000 Gen Z and Gen Y's in September 2020 about their aspirations. What they found is disturbing. A whopping 69% said achieving the Great Australian Dream is now impossible. 

The majority (65%) of young people said retiring at or before the age of 65 would be unlikely for them. Fifty-eight per cent said owning their dream home was also unlikely. Over half (55%) said they wouldn't have enough superannuation to support their future selves, and would never find their dream job (53%). 

COVID-19 appears to be worsening the situation, with 69% saying they were delaying major life goals as a result of the pandemic. 

Young women doing it toughest 

ME's research revealed a big gender divide. For example, 71% of young Australian women surveyed felt it was unlikely they could retire before 65, compared to 59% of men. Just over half (52%) of young women felt they wouldn't be able to fully pay of their student debts, compared to only 37% of men. 

Viv Micic, a 20-year-old aspiring actor living in Melbourne, confirmed to The Guardian  that ME's survey results matched the despair she and her peers are feeling. 

"I applied for 20 jobs at the Cotton On group and I am really, really passionate about wanting to work at Typo. I love their stuff. But all of them come back as 'Thank you for applying but no thanks'," Viv told  The Guardian. 

"I definitely feel like, because the arts industry, especially in Melbourne, has been impacted so much by the pandemic, I will probably have to look overseas for acting because they're probably going to end up, after the pandemic, cutting crew, cutting casts. trying to cut corners to make things possible."