Twenty years old and still uncovered: these young active people who are not getting out of it

Twenty years old and still in the open: these young working people who are not getting out of it, “I start the month in negative”, sums up Loubna (1), a Parisian from 27 years. Public relations officer of a cultural institution, with a salary of 770 € net, half of which is sucked up by its rent, the question is no longer whether it will be overdrawn, but by how much. “The end of the month is very stressful, between the calls and letters from my bank and the fear of seeing my bank card blocked, she describes. I had to ask my mother for help several times in the last few months. ”

Loubna is no exception: almost a French people out of two are uncovered at least once a year, according to a study by the comparator Parabanques published last October. The youngest, especially: 38% from 19 – 30 years are concerned, against 38% of over 66 years. The fault of wages and savings lower than those of their elders and, perhaps, the crisis, which has particularly affected young workers, with an increase in fixed-term contracts and partial unemployment more frequent than among older employees . Whether they are executives or not, the less than 29 years also saw their income drop in 2020, according to a study by the Association for the Employment of frames. Same thing for 19 – 25 years : between August 2019 and January 2020, their income fell from 5 to % compared to 2019, against a decrease from 0 to 5 % for the entire population, according to a note from the Economic Analysis Council (CAE) relayed by Le Figaro .

Complicated beginnings Loubna was directly affected. With the closure of cultural venues, she passed the pandemic on short-time working – with 66% of his salary, therefore, compensated by more social benefits than usual. What to cushion, in part at least, another economic shock, of personal origin this one: his romantic break-up. Finished, the rent, the shopping baskets and the bills divided by two . “I also pay for my pace of life, however Loubna admits. I chose to leave Touraine to come and live in Paris and I find it hard to deprive myself of what the city has to offer. ” Namely concerts, friends that we see more readily in restaurants than at home, new meetings, parties that we come back to in VTC … Precious moments of breathing but heavy on the budget. “I try to restrict myself but you quickly feel aloof.”

Alone, but also anxious, guilty, sometimes ashamed of having a job, a salary and yet the same financial worries as when she was a student. Like hesitant first steps in adult life. ” I like to return a square image, that of someone who works well, has responsible behavior and leads a good life, to all levels. Not getting there, especially in the eyes of my family who have supported me financially for a long time, is quite difficult, ”also confides Damien (1), a Parisian communications consultant from 25 years, employee for a year. He wins 13 € per month, payroll 400 € for his 30 square meters and refund 400 € student loan. Once all the invoices have been paid, he has a little more than 300 € to live. “In general, I end the month at 0, or with an overdraft of a few tens of euros,” he explains. At the moment, I am at – 288, because of some discrepancies. ” Which force him to adopt emergency strategies, such as withdrawing cash before the collection of his bills – even if it means accumulating unpaid bills.

The podcast to listen Work less to live better? Damien’s parents, tired of having to meet his expenses, suggested that he manage to earn more. Why, after all, not take a second job on the weekends? “I think about it, but I took a lot of responsibilities in the office, I already feel on my knees , I don’t dare to imagine if I had a second job, he hesitates. And then, I need moments of breathing for my personal balance. ”

Here is, perhaps, all the ambiguity of the relationship to money of this graduate, urban generation. , who aspires to a stimulating and meaningful job that does not stifle their private life. Having time to “enjoy life” is thus the second most important criterion in the eyes of 13 – 30 years for a successful life, we read in La Fracture (2), a sum of opinion surveys conducted among young people. However, they are not disinterested in money, but on 10 criteria for evaluating their professional satisfaction, compensation arrives at 10 th place. Only 51% of less than 30 years are satisfied, far behind their autonomy at work (98%), the content of their profession (70%) or the atmosphere at the office (83%).

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In France, money makes happiness What is certain is that a stimulating job and free time are not enough for happiness , in any case, not in France. “It is in France that the statistical association between happiness and money is the strongest. (…) Much more than elsewhere, income influences trust in others and in institutions, as well as the quality and density of social relations outside the family circle ”, note economists Daniel Cohen and Claudia Senik in The French and Money (3).

Dissatisfied with their wages but little inclined to work too much and, at the same time, anxious by their too meager income: this is the spiral in which some young workers are caught. Except that their way of life involves a budget, and therefore clear choices. “I’m looking for a job that matches my diplomas, with more responsibilities, and therefore a better salary,” Loubna explains. If necessary, I will retrain, and I will flourish outside of work. ” Damien, he grits his teeth while waiting to be increased, promoted or debauched . “I don’t want to leave my business just yet, but if the situation hasn’t changed in a year, I’ll ask myself more questions,” he breathes.

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Take back control But is winning more the solution? “Travel, decoration when they settle in as a couple, then the children who arrive … These almost thirty-something will soon have new expense items”, underlines the coach Fabienne Dupuij, founder of the Money School . Hence the importance, according to her, to appropriate her finances as soon as possible. A necessary step to perhaps tame frustration and develop a more adult relationship with money. “This involves going through your accounts regularly, without judgment or morality, keeping Excel tables and trying to understand, through your expenses, what need or deep desire you satisfy,” she continues. Ask yourself what matters most in your habits: having lunch outside every day or having a good dinner with friends a week? Rob the thrift stores to change your look regularly, or wear some beautiful more expensive pieces?

In video, 8 tips for creating breaths while working from home “What we measure is progressing, encourages Fabienne Dupuij. We start by forcing ourselves, we see that it works, we get a taste for it and it becomes a habit. We get out of “it takes” to think about what “I want”. ” Identify your needs …. and the means to earn enough money to meet them. Not always easy, for young workers who are still inexperienced, sometimes worried about a rapidly changing job market. When linear careers crumble, the different forms of work multiply, the number of freelancers increases and, ultimately, everyone seems entirely responsible for their own career, and therefore for their own life. A guarantee of freedom, perhaps, but also a sometimes heavy burden to bear.

(1) The first names have been changed

(2) La Fracture, by Stewart Chau and Frédéric Dabi, Les Arènes, 98 p., 19, 98 €. Available at .

(3) The French and Money , directed by Daniel Cohen and Claudia Senik, Albin Michel, 400 p., 21, 90 €. Available on .