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What does the rising cost of living mean for graduates?

After an unpredictable couple of years, the cost of living is continuing to rise. With wages struggling to keep up with the high rate of inflation, graduates entering the working world for the first time are being hit with the harsh reality of the cost of living crisis. Generally, graduates don’t have much spare cash after university anyway, therefore, it’s important to consider exactly how the current financial climate is impacting them.     

As part of their living costs, graduates will have to consider rent, as well as rising food and energy bills. Alongside this, there is an incoming National Insurance hike and the typical student loan repayments to contend with.

By following the familiar pattern of leaving student accommodation to a form of private residence, graduates will have a whole host of costs to cover. If they make this transition at the same time as starting a new job, they will be faced with the daunting prospect of funding a deposit and the first month of rent, before they ever receive their first pay check at their new job.

As a result, moving back to the family home is becoming more of a valid option for many graduates. While, this is certainly a way to reduce living expenses, it can potentially be a compromise on accessing new opportunities. This is because graduate jobs tend to be located in major cities that come with higher costs of living.  

For graduates choosing to live in major cities in search of better career opportunities, there is a need to budget more strictly. This means that after covering rent, bills and transport costs, there isn’t much spare money to be spent on social activities or luxury items. Therefore, those who choose this route may have to adapt their lifestyle and be more considerate of their spending habits.

Unfortunately, an increasing number of students and graduates are experiencing mental health issues. This hasn’t been helped by the consistent rate of financial uncertainty, which was heightened considerably by the pandemic. With rising financial pressures, people become increasingly stressed about whether they will be able to cover their monthly bills.

On the plus side, there is increasing awareness around the mental health conversation. Generally, people are more willing to talk about their mental state, something that is especially common with younger generations. Although, conversation won’t be able to solve the problem, it will help to alleviate some of the built up stress around the cost of living crisis. 

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