Apparently the recession has forced half a million adults between the ages of 35 and 44 to return to live with parents in 2009 due to debt, unemployment, property prices and rising numbers of relationships breaking up.
The bank Abbey, which carried out the research, says there are also around 440,000 between the ages of 25 to 34 who have been forced to return home.
The findings aren’t that surprising – being made redundant can have a huge knock-on effect on a person’s self-esteem and subsequently cause relationship problems. But living with your parents when single must make dating more difficult.
Most women look for financial stability in a potential partner, and men tend to look for independence. A first date admitting that they have had to move home due to money problems and/ or redundancy would be a big cross in many people’s eyes, especially those in their mid to late thirties who are most likely looking for a long-term relationship.
Let’s hope the economy bounces back in 2010 or there will be even more relationship break-ups – those of parents whose money runs out after their children move back home!
A government sponsored report from the Economic and Social Research Council released this week suggests that although there are tentative signs of recovery in the economy, unemployment levels are likely to continue rising. It goes on to suggest that this will lead to a record number of divorces over the next two years.
However, I was surprised to learn that the UK divorce rate is currently at its lowest since 1981. And there is growing evidence that as the recession bites, with people losing their jobs, their homes and having to give up extravagant lifestyles, people are getting “back to basics” and investing more in personal relationships and in building a home.
A survey by NOISE (New Outlooks in Science & Engineering) last year found that just 4% of teenage girls interviewed want to be engineers in future (no huge surprise there!) but 12% dream of being housewives. There seems to be a resurgence of popularity in the 1950’s way of life, with women learning how to bake the perfect apple pie from Nigella Lawson and how to clean and tidy our homes properly from Anthea Turner and those two ‘How Clean is Your House?’ women on TV.
My generation of women (I’m in my early 30s) were sold the “having it all” idea – going to university, enjoying a successful career, making decent amounts of money, and having a happy marriage and children to boot. But we’ve found out that in reality, opportunities aren’t always perfect – IVF is at its highest rate ever, and lots of women in their late thirties/ early forties are finding out, after much expense and heartbreak, that they aren’t able to have it all.
Might we see an increase in marriage levels and a decline in divorce as people get nostalgic for all things domestic and put a greater emphasis on building a strong base at home rather than trying to be Miss Career Woman with the latest designer handbag?
According to the Office of National Statistics, marriage rates are at their lowest since records began in 1862. The Labour government has stripped away many of the tax benefits of marriage and the average age at which people marry for the first time has risen – 30 for women, 32 for men. Perhaps by promoting marriage and “back to basics” (with or without reports of Tory MPs sh*gging their secretaries), the Conservatives will help turn this around.
Like many 30-something women I was under the impression that wonderful recent scientific advances meant that egg freezing was now a realistic option for women who are looking to buy time on their biological clock due to wanting to focus on their career or not having met the right man yet. So I was alarmed to read in the current issue of Marie Claire that since the first baby was born from a frozen egg in the UK in 2002, there have been only FOUR babies born from frozen eggs, despite around 400 being defrosted.
It made me think of an article I read in July written by a 41-year old woman who deeply regretted her decision to prioritise a career in advertising over starting a family when she was younger and, having been told she will never be able to conceive as her fertility is now so low, urges 30-something women to freeze their eggs – http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-1199491/Seduced-stories-stars-giving-birth-later-IVF-myths-career-obsessed-Lucy-believed-children-love-wait.html.
Apparently the medical procedures used in egg freezing have many risks and debilitating side effects and once eggs are thawed the chances of a baby being born are only around SIX out of every 100. Plus the whole process costs around £5000, plus £150 a year to store the eggs, and then another £2000 per cycle for IVF treatment when you decide you want to use them. So you’re looking at at least £7000 for a 6% chance of it being successful.
The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists is now, thankfully, warning women that fertility rapidly declines after the age of 35. But the harsh fact is that a lot of 30-something women are going to leave it too late to have children and then find out that there is no magical fertility insurance plan.