I've always believed London to be the city of opportunity.
In fact, this point stands true the world over. So much so, that I will never forget when I first told my American friend that I was moving to the UK (please don't judge):
'Oh, you're moving to London?'
'No, Lisa, I am moving to Leeds - which is in the north of England.'
'I always thought London was just another word for England?'
(Again please don't judge we all have flaws, maybe Lisa's is geography)
My point is, however, that the world over knows London - they know it as a thriving capital city where one goes to be successful and accomplish great things. Or so you would think.
This week our rent increased by an additional 10% to what we currently pay. Of course, this is the norm - no one lives in a rent controlled apartment in London, yet still a huge expense to add to the list of expenses one must pay out when living in a huge city.
Now let me go through a few things - I don't deal well under pressure. My family and close friends would agree. In fact, I pity anyone who comes near me when a stressful situation is involved - and this was a highly stressful situation.
My rent going up opened up the gates to a whole new list of concerns- is London the right place for me? How will I ever be able to afford to invest in property? As a near 28 year old, does my salary reflect my knowledge and expertise in my current role?
All of the questions were answered in my head. No.
This year, a few of my friends are buying property - a huge achievement and one which I can say I am nowhere near achieving.
With a deposit averaging at £60k for first time buyers in London I don't stand much of a chance. Two-thirds of first time buyers have the bank of 'Mum and Dad' to thank - a luxury which I do not have.
Now my lifelong dream is not to buy a house - in fact, I could happily rent until I settle down. But how will I ever be able to settle down when my salary nowhere near reflects the cost of living in the capital city. When nearly two-thirds of my salary is being thrown into a property that will never be mine, how will I ever be able to save for the inevitable 'settling down'?
Of course, there is always the option of moving back up north. Which my mom firmly believes is a ridiculous idea. 'The jobs are down south, the opportunity is down south - what will you do up here?' She has a fair point, though in no way has the past three years validated it. London is a great city and honestly - I can't see myself anywhere else. It's beautiful, vibrant, exciting and full of things to do.
London is definitely the city of opportunities - I just wish it would start giving the 20-something generation a little bit of it.