Scamming the Young
I am incredibly excited to introduce Zarina to the Mrs Mummypenny audience. We met by chance on Instagram. We chatted. Zarina sent me a copy of her third, yes third book to read and review. She is only just 22. She has such incredible talent. Get her book here – Anne -From Amazon here.
Its a beautiful read, a story of heart break and, well life for a teenager. It reminds me of the Judy Blume books I was addicted to as a teenager. But with grit and added sadness. Beautifully written Zarina is a talent.
And such a talent that I had to ask to ask her to write a few pieces for my website. Here is her first on scams that target young people. This is SHOCKING. Please share with your children or younger people you know to STOP the scams.
Over to Zarina
Being a young person in modern Britain (especially in London and the Southeast) is a financial nightmare. Zero-hour contract jobs, student debt and greedy landlords squeezing every corner of our wallets. With the rise of university tuition and obscene rent prices, is it any wonder mental illness among our youths are shooting up? Here are some various ways in which young people get taken advantage of financially.
So let’s start with an obvious one; university, and everything that comes with it: the fees, the loan, the bucketload of debt. Since the 2010 general election, students have to pay back a minimum of 27K to their universities upon graduating and earning a minimum of 21K per year. On the one hand, the actual amount that students have to repay per month is not a lot, but the premise of university being saved for the ‘financially apt’ brings back a sense of elitism that originated with the creation of advanced academic institutions.
Higher education is supposed to be about advancing one’s learning and personal growth to sustain themselves in their chosen career and adult life. An argument against university being free is that more people would attend, but as a good friend once told me; more people attending university would equate to a more intelligent society, and a more prosperous one at that. So it makes no sense to ‘reserve’ this for the top 6% income bracket – everyone else getting smarter wouldn’t be at a detriment to the rich.
Why should a degree be reserved for the wealthy? Education is supposed to be about the quality of one’s brain, not the quantity of their wallet. Not to mention those born into wealthier families can afford to have private tutors and parents that could supply them with the best textbooks and fanciest laptops. Oxford and Cambridge, two of the most prestigious universities in the country, don’t even allow you to get a job while studying there so you’re forced to live off whatever peanuts of the maintenance loan you can. Which brings me to another issue of the dreadful student rent.
Oh, those pesky landlords. This brings to mind ‘The Landlady’ by Roald Dahl, a story studied in year nine English. Unfortunately, the prices of student housing are much scarier than the thought of being poisoned and stuffed by a taxidermist. Minimum amount in the London and Southeast region is £500 per month, often not including bills and Wi-Fi. Remember those tuition fees I mentioned earlier? Students also have to pay back a maintenance loan which they need just to afford the extortionate fees landlords charge for the rent.
Ironically, it’s probably cheaper to rent a house if you’re not a student (with the exception of having to pay council tax). Standard university halls can cost anywhere between £135 and £210 per week.
And it’s not like your house is a lavish mansion. My student house was lovely, but not without fault. One cold November night when I was sick, my world came crashing down at four in the morning. Okay, not literally, but remnants of the chimney did. There were bits of rock, dust, sticks, even a dead pigeon. I spent about two hours cleaning up the mess and covering my face with cloth to stop myself getting more unwell. Happily, when it came to asking for my deposit back, the home-owners decided not to factor this is and instead snagged a chunk of deposit money due to a tiny burn on the carpet from a lightbulb falling from my bed. (Sorry, did I say that was a happy occurrence for me or them?)
Unpaid work trials
And let’s not forget those wonderful unpaid work trials. If you’re lucky enough to find time to search for a part-time job, be warned; hundreds of other applicants are probably throwing CVs at employers desperately trying to get work so they can afford to pay the ludicrous rent barely covered by a temporarily loaned amount of money. But then be prepared to spend between one-and-three hours doing an unpaid trial shift just so the employers can get some free labour before shaking their heads in exasperation and finding any excuse not to give you the job. Then watch them repeat the process with seven other applicants until they decide they should probably choose somebody’s name out of a hat.
Still, there are always zero-hour-contract jobs which we all know and love. I once turned up at half six in the morning to do a stewarding job at Notting Hill Carnival, only to be sent home with about ten other workers because the clients had too many stewards. (This was after queuing up for two hours in the rain). Not only that, we didn’t even get travel expenses so lost eight quid plus five hours of sleep.
The fun thing about zero-hour-contract work is that you can never actually get fired, they just won’t give you any shifts! After weeping to an earlier employer that I was scared I would get fired due to having panic attacks at work, they assured me my job was most certainly not on the line as they legally ‘weren’t allowed’ to fire me. They said they would find me a position suitable for my condition – luckily for me that translated to ‘we just won’t offer her any shifts.’ Event’s Stewarding may sound like a great way for a twenty-something to make some money while studying, but be warned; long hours, an aching body and piss-poor-pay aren’t worth it. Stay at home and get addicted to matched betting instead.
Getting Your First Job
Still, fear not; if you’ve managed to wade through wads of debt, low-paying jobs and sleepless nights, alas! Once you’ve walked out of university proudly clutching your degree, be prepared to waltz into a position that has nothing to do with what you studied. Someone I know studied Interior Design and is now working at River Island (at least they have a proper contract that doesn’t penalize them for being sick). Another person studied Environmental Engineering and is now proudly sorting out the bookies at William Hill. Post-student life sure is great!
So if you wonder why Millenials are so sad and mopey and lie in their room cutting their arms listening to Metallica, just remember that most of us are broke fools who were lied to by our schools that university was the promised land, not a scam that would set us up for oodles of debt and an unrelated, unfulfilling job.