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Generation Rent: The Young Ones

Students have long been the biggest demographic of renters in Ireland, traditionally leaving home to attend college for third level education. The problem now facing students and parents is the growing cost of student living, including escalating rents and a lack of adequate housing.

Sponsored by Zurich.

The reality of young adults attending third level education is that it is becoming almost too costly for families to sustain. The publication of the Daft.ie rental price report for the first quarter of the year was a shock to the system for many, showing rents across the country now 10% higher than their Celtic Tiger peak with the average national rent now €1,131. In Dublin, the increase is even higher by 13.9% on average, and rent is around €1,690 in the capital.

Recent research carried out by Zurich into the Cost of Education has further highlighted how increases in the cost of renting accommodation is putting pressure on students and parents. Accommodation now accounts for the single biggest cost for parents with 40% of Irish children living away from home during their college years. Where the average cost of covering a student living at home was €4,340 a year, this figure rose to €6,968 for those living in student accommodation and €8,206 for those renting.

The Zurich Cost of Education Survey also highlighted the full range of costs that students incur whether living in rented accommodation or at home from the average €3,000 registration fee to €258 spent annually on transport.

Commenting on the findings, Jonathan Daly, Head of Retail Distribution & Propositions, Zurich Life Assurance said, “While every parent wants the very best for their children, sending them to third level education has become a significant burden on families and risks becoming a deterrent for prospective students in the future. Spiralling rental costs and other rising day-to-day expenses such as travel and food have contributed to the expensive living costs of students in Ireland.

“The best way for families to help avoid putting their households under severe financial pressure, or pushing them into debt, is to ensure early planning around their children’s education, adopting measures such as early life savings schemes which can help families through life’s earlier big events.”

Each year Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT) release a guide to the cost of living for students in Ireland, and unsurprisingly, attaining and then paying for a rented property is proving to be a considerable burden on students. DIT does however provide some sound advice and guidance on how to limit the stress of finding and paying rent during the academic year.

“We strongly encourage students and their families to look at staying with a host family for the first year. There are a lot of rooms available in this category,” Head of Campus Life in DIT, Dr Brian Gormley says. “Surveys show that students who stay in “digs” are more satisfied with their living accommodation than students in on-campus accommodation”. And given that a person renting a room can earn up to €14,000 in rent before paying tax on the rental income, could it be a win-win situation for all involved.

While parents may unfortunately have no control over the fluctuating rental prices, they can at least prepare themselves for the cost of education and the cost of living that comes with it. When committing to a savings goal, getting organised is half the battle. When starting to save, firstly you should decide what you are aiming for and what your saving goals are? Whatever you’re saving for, using a Personal Annual Budget Spreadsheet is a great place to start, and will help you plan your finances and make regular savings for the year ahead.

The key to successful saving is putting away regular manageable amounts. Decide what your goal is, look at a timeline for this, and work out from that how much you need to save each month to achieve this. Zurich has a useful budget and savings calculator to help you get to grips with your monthly incomings and outgoings and see where your biggest savings can be made.

To give your savings a kick start, Zurich’s Regular Savings Plans are currently offering a €100 contribution to your savings when you start a saving policy* (T&Cs apply).

To find out more visit Zurich Life or talk to a financial broker.

Zurich Life Assurance plc is regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland

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