To a Mr Bitter from Titirangi

I was merrily eating my lunch yesterday at work and flicking through the paper. I landed on the letters page – which is always good for a bit of a giggle – and lo! a submission entitled Recession victims!

According to this writer, the members of the “debt embracing, profligate generation X and Y still have their jobs by and large, so their income is intact. With interest rates dropping as a result of the recession, their financial situation has improved significantly.”

Wahey! Wow. Something I might expect to see from the mouth of an American, but here?

I think this person is just a LITTLE out of touch. It’s Gen Yers who are (among others, although not exclusively) being laid off. Last in, first out. Unemployment is climbing, and those with less experience and fewer qualifications are more likely to be let go, and to find it much harder to secure any kind of new job.

By no means is the income of my household intact. And sure, interest rates are dropping, but this only affects savers and mortgage holders. My savings rate has dropped like a rock and is hovering somewhere around inflation level. But you know what? Credit interest rates are exactly where they were before the recession began, if not higher. Prime does not seem to affect unsecured credit, for whatever reason. I don’t know if this is a Downunder phenomenon, and quite frankly I don’t care to find out. I just know that’s the way it is.

So please, KL Matthews, don’t tell me that my financial situation has improved significantly. And don’t deign to tell me that I will benefit from the recession. I’m going to find it harder to get a job after graduation, probably be taken on at a lower pay than I might have otherwise, and with fewer benefits.

My partner may be the next spending three years out of the workforce, which we hope will pay off in the long term. If the recession hadn’t happened, odds are he would still be gainfully employed and at a decent living wage. But in the meantime, our “financial situation” has plummeted to depths I could never have imagined last year.

Unfortunately, like many who started out with nothing, he does have debt. Debt that he was making progress on, and which has now been halted. Not huge amounts by any means. An amount that I compare to MANY other PF blogger and think well, gosh, that really is nothing. Why am I so stressed? Well, I’m stressed because even at a low level, it’s simply not serviceable for a laid-off person. I’m stressed, especially now, because we do not have a functioning car, among other myriad worries. (Great op-ed here about how the recession is hurting low socio-economic areas, btw, and some proposed solutions. I definitely don’t agree with them all but they’re fascinating! Especially about ensuring quality used cars so people can get around. I can’t stress enough how bad public transport is here. How many times have I talked about the bus service? And with the Govt. investing in the Waterview tunnel and a freaking “nationlong cycleway“, that’s not gonna be improving anytime soon. ). How long will it take to recover and get back on top? Neither of us knows. We’re both living in a state of constant uncertainty. I wouldn’t wish it on anyone, not even you, Mr Bitter. Please remove the lemon from your mouth – you’re not the only one unhappy with the way things are, trust me.

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