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Youth opinion: Inflation’s impact on Squamish teens

As prices increase, what can be purchased by teens within a certain price range decreases.

Inflation has its impact on everyone — not just older adults, but also youth.

Inflation is caused by consumer spending leading businesses and sectors to raise their prices, and it has impacted youth in many different ways.

One of the most significant is spending power. As prices increase, what can be purchased by teens within a certain price range decreases.

Those who are still in school cannot work full-time and usually make near minimum wage or are on an allowance of some kind from their family; both of these provide little room for free spending.  

Young people still in school with part-time jobs will have to spend more on things such as clothes or food, and the youth who have just started their careers might struggle to meet basic needs like housing, groceries, transportation, or tuition costs.

While inflation seems to be easing somewhat — as of this writing, inflation in Canada is at 4.3%, a healthy rate is 2%, according to the Bank of Canada — items are still expensive, and there can be a certain pressure to buy certain things — the newest phone, branded clothing, nice cars, the newest technology, and much more.

This can make spending very tempting and hard to put a stop to. Though it may not seem like it at first, even small purchases gradually add up to large amounts, which can be hard to keep up with depending on your job, hours, and wage.

There’s also the issue of keeping a balance between work and school. It can be stressful when you have to work the night before an important exam. I decided to take a break from working recently to focus more on my studies, even though that means I won’t be earning any money to save or spend for the time being.

Inflation can also make saving money for the future much more difficult, with less room in youths’ budgets to save for a home or university.

In today’s market, especially just starting, it seems impossible to buy a home without going into some sort of debt which could lead to many youths moving to more remote and affordable places to purchase their first home.

Rent in Squamish is also out of control, and it is hard to find even a decent room to rent for a fair price now, and they are also very hard to find, which can be unnerving.

Inflation impacts everyone in some way or form, but this is usually associated with older adults — who are also affected — though it is important to note that it is not just them going through it but youth as well.

All of this can cause lasting effects on youth through a lack of financial stability and any prospects for the future.

Kiana Alai is a local teen and a member of the Squamish Youth Council.

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