Generation rent prove the folly of just collecting stuff

Dave O'Connell

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

We’ve always known that nothing lasts forever; that everything is transient; that you never truly possess what you might think you own – but the next generation has taken this to a higher plane.

They own little or nothing – and more than that, they have no desire to do so.

Economics alone force them to rent houses and flats – but that’s just one enforced reality.

Because they effectively rent music via Spotify or Apple Music; they rent movies and television via Netflix; they rent cars or bicycles on city schemes – and sometimes they even rent their dresses and suits.

Generation rent is making the best of its lot – but what happens to the people who own nothing and live for today when they get a little further down the line?

It’s one thing not owning your own home when you’re earning enough to pay the rent but most of us take out a mortgage so that, one day, we own our home and when we retire we no longer have to pay to live there.

If you’re a tenant into retirement, how do you continue to meet your rent on a derisory pension?

It’s fine not owning a car, because it’s healthier perhaps to walk – and once you retire, you’re entitled to free travel, so as the knees begin seize you can always take the bus.

It may even be fine not to actually buy music – as in, CDs or records – because they only amount to a whole heap of clutter in a small home (presuming you have a home at all).

But one of the joys of walking into someone else’s world is to see what they have on their shelves in terms of books and music – and from that nose around their living room, you get a sense of the person themselves.

If it’s all on Spotify, you can of course try to hack into their playlist – but it’s not quite the same thing.

The UK recently revealed that subscription services such as Spotify accounted for 62 per cent of that nation’s music revenues last year for the first time.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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