Living in Greece

A practical guide to moving, living, working & traveling in Greece, plus musing and misadventures from an American in Athens

Young workers in Greece can’t afford independence

From the Kathimerini

The difficulty in finding a job and working in poorly paid positions are among the main reasons preventing 25- to 30-year-olds from leaving home, according to the results of a study published November 18.

The Athens University survey showed that two in three respondents, or 68 percent, in the above age group were staying at home for purely financial reasons.

Roughly one in four wage earners in Greece earn a monthly salary of only 500 to 700 euros.

Greece also has one of the highest unemployment rates in the European Union, with persons under the age of 30 affected in particular.

Despite dropping in August to 7.6 percent from 8.6 percent the previous month, Greece’s jobless rate was the second highest in the eurozone.

Related posts

Who is jobless in Greece?
Minimum salaries of EU countries
Examples of jobs and salaries in Athens

* I rarely regurgitate news from another source, but this survey confirms the material presented on this site and the motivation behind G700: Generation 700 euros. Check out their site if you haven’t already.
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15 Comments »

  Stathis wrote @ November 20th, 2007 at 12:01

As Kathimerini said there is another side to this. The so called hlidanergi generation or twixters in English….

  graffic wrote @ November 20th, 2007 at 15:16

In Spain we call those guys: “mileuristas” (OneThousandEurists, people that live with 1000 thousand euros or less).

Also it was published in Spain that 50% of young “independent” workers need help with their expenses. They use their parents for food, buy clothes or pay the rent.

I live alone and, as everybody, I have to pay rent, water and electricity. This means around 400 euros per month. And on winter you pay for the petrol or more electricity. Do you want internet? 30-60 euros more. Of course add the food, but in the flea market and laiki you can save a lot and get really nice products :)

If you’re new also, you have to pay some extra things, like one month extra for the house, or some money for the petrol. And do not forget about basic furniture: a bed and a table with a chair to eat, and things like: fridge, kitchen….

So, if people get 700 hundred euros… I don’t know how they can “live by themselves”. At least they have to share a flat and go to eat with their parents, or ask them for clothes.

Yes, I know that there is people living with less money, but that’s another problem.

graffic

  rositta wrote @ November 20th, 2007 at 16:55

From a strictly personal perspective, I have two nieces in Athens who earn more than the average wage yet neither of them wishes to live alone even though they can afford to do so. Why? Well, their mother cooks for them, does the laundry and cleans their room, leaving them lots of time to go and party. I can see that 600 E a month doesn’t allow for living away from home and what’s missing is some small, cheap, affordable housing for young people if they wish to strike out on their own. But I think most dont really want to, the family thing is too ingrained. By the way, my nieces are in their thirties! :)

  Kat wrote @ November 20th, 2007 at 19:39

S – I’m glad you brought up that term, it’s one I forgot about since reading that TIME article long ago. But I’ll be honest. When I was younger, we were less polite and just called them leechers.

G – Hey, interesting. So every country has a term, but at least Spain has 300 more euros. I suppose that’s not a consolation for some since rent is a bit higher; I saw that while I was in BCN, but at least food prices were lower than GR.

You also bring up things I’ve mentioned before. Even if someone earns 1000 euros, it’s still sometimes not enough if living alone because after rent, electric, petrol, kinochrista, food, transportation (public) and incidentals (maybe a cab once or twice, pharmacy, etc), there’s not much left. And if you’re a lone non-EU citizen, there’s things like bureaucracy fees (permit renewals, doc fees) and sometimes insurance if an employer doesn’t offer IKA. Not much left after that.

R – Another good point. There’s the other side, people who could move out but know they have it good and don’t leave or prefer to use the money for shopping, clubbing, coffee out, designer products. A few of my friends purchase a car (monthly payment, gas, insurance, taxes, tolls, washing), then say they can’t move out — it’s an either/or not both for many with rent and car. So if they move out, they get another job, but then they’re never home and don’t have time to cook, clean, pay bills or shop for basics, so then they figure it’s best to go back home.

I’d like to add another category as well. Those who want to move out, but don’t have the knowledge or skills to take care of themselves. Some men know the basics if they’ve been to the army — doing dishes, mopping, taking out trash, vacuuming. A lot of people, not just men but women too, don’t know how to cook anything and figure they just order takeout (expensive) or keep going home for meals (still dependent). Some are helpless individuals, which is the result coddling…so how do they transition to independence? I can’t tell you how many men I’ve trained, and hopefully their current girlfriends or wives are benefitting from my hard work. But there’s a few (men and women) who simply don’t want to learn, find it “boring” or “stupid.” I’ve even heard some men state they have to find a girl that cooks because he won’t marry her otherwise. How romantic!!!

  EllasDevil wrote @ November 20th, 2007 at 20:13

I never realized what a good life I had when I lived at home… till I went ahead and moved out. So many bills that I’d not even given a thought to until they found their way into my mailbox with my name on them! Yuk.

I have a friend who recently moved out, had to find a second job and still goes to her parents house after work each day to eat. Although to be fair… it’s so she can blow her cash on shopping.

  graffic wrote @ November 20th, 2007 at 20:55

I’d like to add that if you move out to your place. That’s your little shine or dungeon (as you want to call it). You take care of it, and it’s as good as the time you spend on it. Then you have a place to put your music, colours in the walls, cook what you want and have “privacy” even if you want to walk around naked.

The freedom of being in your place is something really really nice… I love it, and even if some times you face problems, really It’s the best :) Greetings from my ground floor apartment, while I have my tea and I play my music (Note: I don’t go around naked… I happen to like my pyjamas :P )

  EllasDevil wrote @ November 20th, 2007 at 22:39

I, on the other hand, do walk around naked… usually in the time between getting dry after the shower and before getting dressed for work.

What will the neighbors think(!)

  António wrote @ November 21st, 2007 at 14:11

700 euros? You lucky bastards! ;)

Greetings from Portugal

  Kat wrote @ November 21st, 2007 at 19:52

ED and G – There is much pride in having a place of your own, and of course it comes at a price sometimes! Great learning experience too.

How did we get from being underpaid and unable to afford independence to walking around naked?! lah lah lah lah lah. More cheeky monkeys!

A – And it seems every country has salary average, what is it in Portugal and should I assume it is insufficient? I’ve only been to Portugal once some 11 years ago after New Year’s (beautiful country and very kind people, btw) and am sorry to say I don’t know very much, since Greek bureaucracy and drama consumes most of my time here. haha ;)

  Thomas wrote @ November 24th, 2007 at 17:06

I’ve heard that although salaries in Portugal are lower, they have a higher standard of living than here in Greece, because things are cheaper. I was there this summer, but I didn’t get a chance to compare. You don’t really get a sense of it when you’re a tourist.

  yiannos wrote @ November 25th, 2007 at 23:17

what bothers me about the dependence Greeks have on their families is that it isn’t going to last; if they are dependent, and hopeless on their own(which most young Greeks are IMO), what’s going to happen when their parents are no longer around to provide assistance? what are they going to be able to offer their kids? truth be told, the Greeks here rely too much on their parents too, but not as much as the ‘natives’.

i read an article about how Greek men do close to zero in the household, in terms of cooking and cleaning, but i also hear that many young women are useless in that department too. how do they keep their houses clean then? ;-)

To all the Greek men out there: learn how to cook for yourself. remember; the best chefs in the world are men! hahahah (sorry kat!)

as for the euro 700 being average, i don’t understand; if only 1 in 4 makes between 500-700, how can the average be 700? i honestly think the real average wage in Greece is around 1000 to be honest with you. there is a lot of tax dodging going on.

  Kat wrote @ November 26th, 2007 at 00:02

T – I also thought the standard of living was much better in Portugal when I was there for 10 days, but as you said, it’s difficult to know for sure unless you actually live there. There was more value for money, better service, friendlier people.

Y – I think the majority of kids worldwide are less independent in this generation than past ones, regardless of nationality and location. Too spoiled (given cell phones and cars before turning 18) or something.

I read an article also about how birthrates in certain countries are low because women see that men don’t help out with diddly, so there’s little or no incentive to have children (or more than one) since the cost of living demands that both need to keep working. So why should a woman take more burden on herself? I think many people here have housekeepers; many grown men I know still have their mothers come over and do their laundry, clean house and cook food for them. We dropped clean laundry and food off with my fiance’s brother again tonight after visiting mom, for example.

Say what you like about men being better cooks, but who did they learn from, hmmmm? ;) Personally, I would never cook for a living because it would take the joy out of it. Maybe men cook for a living because they don’t at home.

I highly disagree with the average being 1000 based on my 10 years here, and the thousands I’ve met regardless of nationality who disclose their salary with me out of disgust, not because I asked. My fiance disagrees with you also. There are exceptions, sure. But it’s not the rule. Think about how many might only earn a bit more, say between 750-800 and weren’t counted in the 1 in 4; and if an employee starts at a low rate, how does (s)he get an employer to raise it by 100-200 a month…it just doesn’t happen. A new survey might come out soon to reveal the average is more like 800, but I assure you that it’s still not keeping with the rate of inflation, which everyone knows isn’t within the EU’s requirement of 3 percent though the govt may claim that.

  yiannos wrote @ November 26th, 2007 at 01:39

“I read an article also about how birthrates in certain countries are low because women see that men don’t help out with diddly, so there’s little or no incentive to have children (or more than one) since the cost of living demands that both need to keep working. So why should a woman take more burden on herself?”

with all due respect, i suspect that’s a load of B.S used to justify their position on the issue. if it’s one thing i don’t like about modern society(which applies more to the country i live in, and the one you used to live in, than Greece) is how the discourse on gender is so one-sided; whenever a woman feels she is disadvantaged in some way, or can’t be arsed doing something, it then becomes convenient to blame men for their lack of motivation or will; it’s socially acceptable behaviour. blaming men is a national pastime. i seriously do not buy for one second that women have less children because men don’t help out around the house. i’d say that both men and women have less children because of materialism.

no offense, and i’m not putting you in the same basket, or all women in the same basket, for that matter, but it’s annoying how the dialogue is always framed in such one-dimensional terms nowadays. i long for the day when balance is finally achieved on gender issues, when feminists are called out on their B.S, and when the trickle down effect from the ivory tower is no longer operational.

“Say what you like about men being better cooks, but who did they learn from, hmmmm? ;)”

haha. true true. But i’m a better cook than my mother and grandmother combined ;-)

“I highly disagree with the average being 1000 based on my 10 years here, and the thousands I’ve met regardless of nationality who disclose their salary with me out of disgust, not because I asked. My fiance disagrees with you also. There are exceptions, sure. But it’s not the rule.”

ok. i’ll take your word for it. what i should have said was, due to ‘outside assistance’, there is often a minor discrepancy between what they earn, on paper, and what they spend.

  Kat wrote @ November 26th, 2007 at 07:08

Sorry, but in my lifetime I’ve seen men help with very little and it usually passes to the next generation. I see it all around me here, in the country I used to live and the 33 others I’ve been to. Again, there are exceptions, but it’s not the rule. If the man is making tons of money so the woman doesn’t need to work, fine, he’s exempt. But in cases where the woman earns just as much or more than the man, I think it’s highly unfair. I’m an example of that, but my fiance does help…now. Also, my fiance wants 3 kids, and I’m only willing to have one. Why? Because I can already see who will be expected to do more or give up her career; it’s not at all about materialism.

I can’t comment either way on your cooking or verify your claim, but a comparison can only be made under the same conditions. Men always think they’re better at everything, don’t they? ;) LOL! My fiance thinks he’s a fab cook with the two things he makes every other month. Plus I have to fawn over how great it is even if it’s not because he otherwise won’t cook again. I’m responsible for the other 353 days of cooking; it’s difficult to be artistic and passionate about food when I only have 12 days off a year and am not being paid big bucks to perform a thankless job I’ve been doing for 25 years.

And yes, I agree that what people claim on paper is different than what’s in their pocket or what they spend. It’s probably easy for someone working at a taverna or cafe to never claim tips or someone taking bribes, but it would take the cooperation of the employer/accountant to lie on official statements for strictly salaried employees. Tax evasion is a subject for a different post.

P.S. I’m not blaming men for anything; I think that’s clear. I’m saying men and women both have boundaries and need to be honest and define them based on what they’re willing to do (or not). There are many reasons for low birthrate — economy, unemployment, standard of living, cost of living, unbalanced population, emigration.

  yiannos wrote @ November 27th, 2007 at 09:57

“And yes, I agree that what people claim on paper is different than what’s in their pocket or what they spend. It’s probably easy for someone working at a taverna or cafe to never claim tips or someone taking bribes, but it would take the cooperation of the employer/accountant to lie on official statements for strictly salaried employees. Tax evasion is a subject for a different post.”

i should get one of my uncles to post on here. according to him, Greeks are the richest people because they hide money, don’t have to buy their own properties(for the most part), and that frees up cash to do practically whatever they want. we are suckers for living in our host countries ;-)

“P.S. I’m not blaming men for anything; I think that’s clear. I’m saying men and women both have boundaries and need to be honest and define them based on what they’re willing to do (or not). There are many reasons for low birthrate — economy, unemployment, standard of living, cost of living, unbalanced population, emigration.”

i can accept that ;-)

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