The FT has responded to the outcry over its piece about how ‘millennials’ should save £800 a month
They’ve promised a new monthly column called ‘Millennial Money’
Last week an article in the Financial Times claimed that “millennials” should be diverting £800 every month into our pensions. The story was titled: “Why millennials go on holiday instead of saving for a pension”.
In the original piece, Rebecca Taylor, director at the Chartered Institute for Securities and Investment, calculated that 25-year-olds would need to save £800 a month on average, for 40 years, to secure a £30,000 per year income in retirement.
It was the neat £800 buzzfigure that really set everyone off. Twitter and Facebook were incredulous for a day.
The FT was a bit huffy about it, and now, the newspaper has published a response to the response.
“The response has been phenomenal,” write Aime Williams and Lilah Raptopoulos, “sparking fierce debate among readers and generating thousands of comments, tweets, Reddit threads and even follow-up articles raging at the FT’s portrayal of millennials as Uber-loving holiday-taking thrill seekers.
“It probably generated more Twitter sass and cat memes than any piece in the history of the FT”.
That’s what happens when you play with the digital natives.
When someone starts telling me I should be more financially responsible pic.twitter.com/7E6N9zrSIo
— Emily Reynolds (@rey_z) February 16, 2016
— The Kate Crusader (@ergoKate) February 16, 2016
Me, when anyone even mentions pensions: pic.twitter.com/eVFaLTogzx
— Alice Tew (@BuckinghamAlice) February 16, 2016
Please can we institute a safe space in which no one is allowed to talk about the Bad Thing from the FT
— Eleanor Margolis (@EleanorMargolis) February 16, 2016
Most accused the FT of being “patronising” and “out-of-touch”, for rather missing the idea that much of our money is going on rent, which doesn’t leave much space for considering the future.
The paper defends itself by leaning on process, which is hilariously, reassuringly FT. “Even small, regular payments will help. Those early payments you make when you are young will attract compound interest over time, and contribute most strongly towards the growth of the pot as a whole.
“And while the £800 target was a shock to many readers (regardless of their age) a substantial proportion of your pension contributions could come from your employer, and will be boosted further by tax relief.”
Tax relief does not help anyone to sleep at night. Nonetheless, there is a sizeable chunk on how exactly to get tax relief in a series of scenarios involving young people.
There’s also the small issue of owning of own home. The FT published some angry responses.
“I would love nothing more than to own my own home, but this is absolutely impossible since I pay more in student loans every month than the average mortgage payment in my area.” — Ara vonPaar
“It strikes me that we’re faced with the illusion of choice . . . Why not save to get on the housing ladder rather than spend 50% of my earnings on rent? They aren’t real choices in my eyes.” — embarrassed pedant
The salient point to take from the whole affair? We should expect more from them.
“For our part, the FT will continue to highlight the financial pressures facing the younger generation and we will be launching a new monthly column in FT Money called Millennial Money next week.” They’re cashing in.