THE VAST bulk of our 30-somethings are struggling to make ends meet, with 90pc revealing that coping with day-to-day living expenses is a key concern.
The Irish Independent/Today FM Behaviour and Attitudes survey of more than 1,000 people shows that many of our best and brightest are disillusioned with their lives. They spend an increasing amount of time arguing with their partners or spouses about money, and are facing financial difficulties.
And although one in four (24pc) had expected their lives to turn out very differently to what they are today, there is some hope – almost half (49pc) of the squeezed middle believe their greatest achievements lie ahead of them.
The survey, conducted last month, shows the impact that more than five years of austerity is having on people's everyday lives.
A series of draconian Budgets, coupled with cuts in income and rising living costs, means there's no possibility of saving money for a rainy day – 90pc said their main concern was meeting day-to-day expenses.
And the worries and stresses are not left outside the home – closing the front door doesn't shut out the problem, and constant worry is having an effect on people's relationships.
More than a third (35pc) of respondents said they were arguing "more and more" with their partner about money.
The findings are worrying because they show that regardless of income or geographical location, the vast bulk of those in their 30s are finding it difficult to cope.
When asked about "getting from one day to the next", 51pc identified this as a key concern.
Women are particularly feeling the pressure in this regard – some 54pc of women said this was a concern, compared with 48pc of men.
Unsurprisingly, people on lower incomes are feeling the pinch, with 62pc saying they were struggling to provide basic necessities, compared with 41pc of those in higher-income groups.
The Money Advice and Budgeting Service (MABS) reveals that many of its clients are those in receipt of a wage packet or salary cheque, and despite some earning more than €60,000 a year, they cannot balance their household budgets.
The survey reveals that many of those under most pressure live outside Dublin, despite the higher cost of living experienced by most living in the city.
Some 56pc of respondents said getting from one day to the next was a concern, compared with 41pc in Dublin.
The survey also identifies the key concerns and sources of worry for our 30-somethings in relation to their financial situation and careers.
It finds that pension provision is also a key issue for this group, with 89pc expressing concern about the amount of money they will have to live on when they are older or retired.
More men (92pc) than women (87pc) worry about this, and it is more of a concern outside Dublin (91pc) than in the capital (86pc).
Job and career prospects are also a source of worry, with 82pc expressing concern about their future career path – again, more men (84pc) than women (79pc) were worried, but there was more concern in Dublin (84pc) than outside (81pc).
On levels of overall contentment, just under half (49pc) said they were happy with how their lives were turning out.