Monday, January 17, 2011

Back to the nest

When your children leave home to go to university, or to find work elsewhere or to get married it is sad but at the same time, as parents, you get your lives back. Suddenly a house that was feeling overcrowded has space again, you can watch your own programmes on TV and please yourselves about what you do. Most of all though the household bills become manageable again as you consume less food, use less electricity etc. etc.

It doesn’t take long to get used to the children not being there, your renewed freedom soon makes up for missing their company. You look forward to them visiting but you don’t really want them to return on a permanent basis.

Leaving home is also good for the children because they learn to cope on their own, become independent and responsible for their own lives. It is the natural order of things throughout the whole of the animal kingdom.

That is the way that it used to be for most families before the economic crisis hit us. Sad to say that no longer can children afford to live away from their parents. Without a stable income it is impossible for them to rent accommodation let alone buy it. It isn’t that they don’t want to stand on their own two feet, they simply cannot find the means to do it.

So it is in Alicante province where another 21,000 young people have had to return to their parents homes in just one year. Students who have finished their courses at university and can’t find work, those that have lost their jobs in the service sector and in construction are all having to return to the nest. Youth unemployment is high and the prospects of an improvement are low.

Even those who do find employment are unable to buy themselves an apartment to live in. Although prices have plummeted, the average young worker would have to allocate nearly 50% of their wages to a mortgage if they chose to live alone in a modest size apartment of just 40 square metres. Even though the price of housing has dropped by just over 12% in one year, the average price of accommodation in the province is 154,00 Euros.

The upshot of this is that there are increasing numbers of homes in the province with children (actually young adults) in their 30s still living with parents and, in my opinion, that is not good. In my case, I left home to go to college when I was 19 and never returned to live permanently with my parents. At 23, Pam and I were married, living in a rented flat. By the age of 26, we were buying our own three bedroom semi. It is something that neither of us nor our parents ever regretted. In the years they had spent bringing us up, they’d done their bit and that was enough.

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