Wales

Social care: 'Why we can't afford to save for old age'

Money Image copyright PA

With student loans, difficulty getting on the housing ladder and precarious employment, can millennials really be expected to save for social care?

Last week a Welsh Government report suggested over half of Wales' population was not putting money aside for care in their old age.

That is despite 72% of those asked saying people of working age should be.

Meanwhile, in Boris Johnson's first speech as prime minister he pledged to "fix the crisis".

And Wales' Health Minister Vaughan Gething said the Welsh Government had prioritised social care, adding: "There can sometimes be an assumption that social care is funded on the same basis as healthcare... this is not the case as local authorities can make a charge for the social care and support they provide."

So have millennials given their future social care a second thought?

Mike Parry, 35, from Cimla, Neath Port Talbot

Image copyright Family photo

Mike is a self-employed carpenter and earns between £45,000 and £50,000 a year. He is married with a four-year-old and is the sole earner in his household.

He said he worried about money "constantly" as a consequence of being self employed and not having a pension is something that "haunts me everyday".

"I feel I've never been in a position to start [a pension] with getting a house, getting married, having kids. I tell myself once this settles down I will think of it.

"My best bet is gaining another house as a nest egg for my retirement - easier said than done but you need a plan of some sort."

And has he thought about paying for future social care? "Not one single bit."

Most of his income goes on life's essentials: "Fuel comes in at around £600 a month for two vehicles which is a lot, everyday spending, tit bits and our four-year-old, not really holidays or flash cars."

Money worries are simply part of life: "I was worried before having money, worried whilst having money and I'm sure I will worry about money after my ability to work stops."

Gwennan Rees, 26, from Vale of Glamorgan

Image copyright Gwennan Rees

Gwennan Rees blogs as Twenty-Something-Meltdown but her day job is as an administrator for a training company, earning the minimum wage.

She likes to be organised when it comes to money: "I try and save a portion of my wage every month.

"I break my salary into multiple savings accounts and then money to spend that month and try not to dip into the savings.

"I also have 'save the change' enabled on my accounts so every purchase I make rounds up to the nearest pound and pops it in my savings account. Its a really easy way to save money without thinking about it and it amounts to a lot surprisingly quickly."

She has a student loan she is "nowhere near repaying" and planning for her future has taken a backseat: "At the moment I'm planning our wedding so most of my spare money is going on that.

"Aside from glamorous expenses like bills, food and the car I tend to spend the bulk of my money on trips away, good food and friends and family."

She pays a workplace pension but when asked if she has considered saving for social care: "I really haven't... paying into a pension now seems like a good fix for now without delving too deeply into the rest of my life and plans.

"At the moment there's no way my salary would allow me to make big contributions to my future so saving what I can save now is the best option."

Does this worry her? "When I really think about it. It's only when my family talk about it or I think about family members retiring in the next few years that I think about my own.

"I also feel like in the current political, social and economic climate who knows what the world will be like by the time I'm old enough to retire."

Jamie Ranford, 35, from Port Talbot

Image copyright Family photo

Jamie is a branch manager for a national builders merchants and earns between £31,000 and £40,000 a year, depending on bonuses.

He is content with his earnings: "I am happy with what I earn at present but would like to think it is not the height of my earning potential."

Jamie said he lived month to month and was not a big spender or saver, adding: "I definitely don't go over and above my monthly income."

He saves a small amount each month, including saving for Christmas, and spends disposable income on "the odd piece of clothing or an evening meal out with family".

He has paid into a pension since he was 18 but when asked if he has thought about saving for future social care he said: "Honestly no. Although I do think about it for my mother at the moment and would like to house her myself for as long as possible if it came to it."

But he is not too concerned about his future: "I feel relatively relaxed about my situation as I have no debt other than a mortgage, I know I've been contributing to a decent pension and I'm also focused on saving as I grow older...

"I do worry that if something went catastrophically wrong such as losing my job I would probably have to give up my home, but I have next to nothing else on any form of finance so feel slightly comforted by that."

More on this story