Half of young people can’t afford an unexpected bill or expense without reverting to borrowing or going to the bank of mum and dad.

London, UK, 16 May 2017:  Experian today reveals that one in two households, with occupants aged 35 or under, could not afford an ad hoc bill or expense of just £250, without reverting to credit or financial help from their family.

The new report, compiled over five years reveals the widening financial gap between generations. It identifies an emerging group of people, defined by four key characteristics: they’re young, they earn relatively good money, they rent rather than own their homes and they have virtually no savings (YERNS).

Representing nearly a third of all UK households (29.3%) – or 7.3 million Britons – the ‘YERNS’ are far more likely to use credit cards, take unsecured personal loans, and fall behind when paying bills.

Four in every five (79%) of these YERNS households have outstanding debt, and around two million households within this group have no savings whatsoever.

With an average age of 35, the YERNS group contrasts directly with the older ‘MORS’ generation (Mature, Owning, Risk-averse, Savers). This cautious, more content generation has an average age of 69 and is far more likely to have substantial savings, with almost half of this group (46%) with £20,000 or more ‘in the bank’.

MORS are also far less likely to owe money, with two thirds (64.5%) being completely free from debt of any sort. Whereas more than a third of YERNS (35.2%) have credit cards, and nearly one in ten (6.2%) have had to take a loan from friends or family members. This includes expenses for rent, car costs and holidays.

When looking at average household income across the country , YERNS households bring in more than MORS (£37,081 vs £29,051 respectively). However, the discrepancy between income and outgoings makes it far harder for the younger generation to build up savings. 

Richard Jenkings, Experian comments:Living in an overdraft has become second nature for many people 35 and under. The result is many young families and individuals are living beyond their means and so when unplanned costs occur, it can tip them over the edge.”

“This younger demographic are also the least confident in managing their money, as fewer than 150,000 YERNS believe they manage their finances well. Many now believe they will never own their own home and are instead spending their money on rent and smaller more frequent luxuries.”

“With interest rates at an all-time low and credit card debt - especially among YERNS - at an all-time high, this generation is especially vulnerable to increases in inflation and any potential rise in interest rates.”

Other insights include:



16.2% (1.2 million households) are renting from a local housing association or authority

1.49% (67,564.41 households) are renting from a local housing association or authority

35.2% have credit cards

17.5% have credit cards

12.9% have unsecured personal loans

4.6% have unsecured personal loans

19.8% have a student loan

1.9% have a student loan

 Top tips for the YERNS generation:

  1. Don’t forget to budget: It’s a balancing act – ensuring you have more money coming in than going out will help you stay on top of your finances and help you avoid either running out of money or going into an unplanned overdraft at the end of the month.
  2. Think before you borrow: Companies can be keen to build relationships with new customers, especially students and young people – so may use special offers to attract your attention. While these can be useful, try to focus on getting what you need at the lowest cost. With a bank account, for example, an interest-free overdraft may be more valuable than online vouchers.
  3. Signing on the dotted line: Once you sign a credit agreement (like a mobile phone contract or a bank account), you are making a commitment to repay the money. Because of this, if you don’t repay money you owe according to the terms of the agreement, it could affect how a lender will view you in the future.
  4. Your name, your responsibility: Remember, if it’s just your name on a credit agreement you will be liable for the debt and your credit rating could be affected. Keep this is mind if you are splitting the cost with others in a shared house for example, in case you fall behind with a payment.
  5. Don’t miss out: When you start to manage credit, it’s important you pay back everything you’ve agreed to pay each month. Missed payments stay on your credit report for six years and can affect how a lender views you when you apply for credit in the future. It’s often a good idea to set up direct debits to pay regular bills to limit the chance of missed payments.
  6. Check your credit report: Before you take out any new credit agreement, check your credit report with all three credit reference agencies. Ensure everything is accurate and up to date and reflects your current circumstances. If you spot anything you believe to be inaccurate, contact the relevant lender and ask them to investigate the entry.



Notes to the editor: 

*Experian research has found that out of the UK population (18+) of 50.435 million, 7.3 million households fall into the YERNS (young, earning, renting, non-savers) category.

*Experian research found that out of the UK population (18+) of 50.435 million, 4.5 million households fall into the MORS (mature, owners, risk-adverse, savers) category.

Methodology: Experian has combined the insight available from Financial Strategy Segments and extensive research from YouGov on the financial behaviour and attitudes of the UK population. Financial Strategy Segments is built using a wide range of publicly available data, including demographics, lifestyle, social, economic, behavioural, product consumption, service and channel preferences, for over 49 million UK adults, with over 500 variables. A 220,000-strong YouGov panel has been added to this which gives answers to over 100,000 questions covering finance, lifestyle and attitudes.

About Experian: Experian is the world’s leading global information services company. During life’s big moments – from buying a home or a car, to sending a child to college, to growing a business by connecting with new customers – we empower consumers and our clients to manage their data with confidence. We help individuals to take financial control and access financial services, businesses to make smarter decisions and thrive, lenders to lend more responsibly, and organisations to prevent identity fraud and crime.

We have 17,000 people operating across 37 countries and every day we’re investing in new technologies, talented people and innovation to help all our clients maximise every opportunity.  We are listed on the London Stock Exchange (EXPN) and are a constituent of the FTSE 100 Index. Learn more at www.experianplc.com or visit our global content hub at our global news blog for the latest news and insights from the company.



Priya Sahib

Mobile: +44 (0)78 1649 1152 | Email: priya.sahib@experian.com

Julianne Parry

Mobile: +44 (0) 7880 315197 Email: julianne.parry@marlinpr.com