Lifestyle on a loan
called the ‘instalment generation’. This new class of job
holders spends voraciously, often by taking loans, says Ritusmita
The young and
an unabated spending spree: Do they go together these days?
Perhaps, looking at these instances.
easy: The young do not mind buying on credit —
Photo by Vinay Malik
Shantanu wanted a break. She is a busy airhostess and he an ad
executive and both with on-the-edge work schedules. Their last
break was their honeymoon three years ago and now they believed
they had earned a well-deserved holiday. The only problem was
that despite their plush jobs, they had no money as they had
just bought a flat and their second car. But then it was not
really a matter of concern as there was more than one financial
agency willing to lend a buck to this hi-fi working couple in
Poorvi Jain wanted that dress badly, as looking good at the
happening party next day was a must for her. Her parents were
out of town but, what the heck, she always had the credit card
to fall back on.
Ritu knew that
she was indulging herself too much in her shopping spree and the
next few months of debt would be hard on her budget. But she
could not check the temptation. After all she was not required
to pay now.
Gone are the
days when being in debt was a bad word and a concept that the
middle class dreaded. It’s the in-thing now and the instalment
generation seems to be living merrily doling out monthly
instalment payments for the several ‘essential’ luxuries
that they need.
Save and then
spend seems to be an outdated concept right now. Even youngsters
from small town India are big spenders these days whatever be
their means of finance. And if you thought ‘shop till you drop’
was related only for women, think again. Surveys show that men
today are equally great spenders on personal items. Be it
wheels, boom boxes, laptop or latest mobiles and even clothes,
men are neck and neck with women when it comes to shopping. From
cell phones to branded footwear, they are must-haves for them.
generation is not hesitant about buying with loan money. A
recent survey across the metros done by a publication group
points out that not only for major purchases like houses or
vehicles but people in urban India also take loans to meet
personal expenses like vacations, jewellery, household items and
even clothes. For instance, six per cent of those surveyed said
that they would finance a vacation on loan or buy clothes and
eight per cent agreed to take a loan to buy a consumer durable.
old Gyanendra Prasad, "Our generation couldn’t even dream
of it. We abhorred the concept of credit and due to financial
compulsions even if we took one, our only aim was to pay it as
fast as we could. But that’s not the case now. I see my son
and daughter purchase almost everything on credit. It shocks and
puzzles me. There’s a total change of moral values."
wife, homemaker and entrepreneur Shukla: "This generation
loves to live a fast life. So, no amount of cash is enough for
their sustenance. Therefore, compulsorily they need to
But his son
Naresh counters, "It has nothing to do with moral values.
In fact, there’s nothing wrong in taking a loan if you can pay
it back. I have a good job and am confident of paying back a
loan. So why shouldn’t I take one?"
Munshi, a software executive working in Kolkata: "You need
to live life when you are young. We are earning well. This is
the prime time of our life and so we like to enjoy and spend
even though on credit. We have everything that we want and are
working to get them. Our generation doesn’t believe in
abstinence and sacrifice."
Young India is
bombarded with choices today. The choice of brands to wear, cars
to drive, places to study in, holidays and a huge job market
throwing up careers that the previous generations only dreamt
of. A reason why they are confident spenders. The same survey
shows that 32 per cent youth differ with their parents in money
matters. It also points out that every second youth in urban
India owns a personal cell phone. They are just about getting
used to good things in life be it branded goods or conveniences.
psychologist Paramita Deb, "Young people today are
confident and epicurean in belief. They live life confidently
and for the moment. They are sure of their earning potential and
hence confidently function on credit unlike their previous
needs are often based on a false sense of social prestige or
result from the desire to keep up with peers. "The social
pressure often forces a man to overspend and the monthly EMI
becomes too much of a strain. We deal with several cases of
nervous breakdown on a routine basis."
centre executive Sonali Sharma: "I have been feeling so
dejected for the last few months. My monthly pay packet seems to
be spent even before I see it. Everything is distributed to pay
the EMIs. Working is no fun at all as I do not even look forward
to my pay."
But then there is always the
next thing to buy; the next dream that young urban India looks
forward to. — TWF