Today marks ten years since the beginning of the financial crisis. Of course it took a little while to trickle down the chain, but it had an impact on everyone in some way; no matter your pay grade. It led to 10 years of austerity, penny pinching and belt tightening. And according to many sources; our increasing dependency, as a nation, on credit shows we haven’t learned anything and have actually left ourselves in a position where this could happen again.
To be honest, I wasn’t really affected by the recession. And if I’d kept plodding along like I was, I may never have been. But in 2010 I decided to change jobs. It was a long process full of rejection. No one was hiring and those that were had an over saturation of applicants. I struck lucky and got the position I have now, but soon regretted my decision. My new job had very limited opening hours and no chance of overtime or promotion. I was greatly limiting my earning potential but I’d done it, there was no going back.
Again, this probably wouldn’t haven’t been such a problem if I hadn’t been irresponsible with my credit cards. I could sit here and explain that I was young and had received bad advice from friends as to how to pay them off. It was still my responsibility. Looking back, yes, it was bad advice and actually led to my debt greatly increasing, I should have done what I thought was right. But I also shouldn’t have let it get that bad; that’s entirely on me.
Today, I’m still paying off that debt through a consolidation loan (it got to the point that this the only practical way to move forward). The job market where I live is still stagnant. The only earnings increases really come from increases to the minimum wage or increases in our personal allowances. Artificially increasing disposable does help the economy to some extent, but with high earning industries such as the oil and gas sector taking a nose dive these improvements may not last long.
I know this may make some grim reading, especially to those who may only know the post recession world. Long gone are the days you could pop to the shop with a pound, buy bread, milk and the paper and still come back with change (12p for a loaf of bread!). I want to send you off with some hope. What the economy needs is stability. Economists and bankers constantly go on about growth targets and we always fail to meet them, which makes people feel insecure and scared for their financial future. We need stability to grow confidence in our economy, and that is what austerity was meant to achieve. It was meant to wean us off this credit culture and teach us to live with in our means, perhaps even begin to save a little.
And this the message I want to send you away with, even if it took me so long to learn it myself.