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The ‘work hard and you’ll get a good job’ mantra is no longer true – so what do I tell my kids?

When I was a child, back in the relatively halcyon days of the 1990s, I had my fair share of angst – friendship problems, homework, sibling rivalry and appalling fashion sense. But one thing remained clear and stable: the advice I was given on how to achieve the best possible life. In those pre-digital days, this was imparted by a few trusted adults: teachers, relatives and parents. And it rarely wavered from “get a good education, choose a good career and climb the ladder”. There was an implicit understanding that if you jumped through the accepted hoops between childhood and adulthood then success and happiness would be your reward.

These days things are less clearcut. The path to perceived success is muddied, and the route to financial stability and potential happiness less clear. House prices have soared and it’s more difficult than ever for first-time buyers to make it on to the property ladder. The current financial crisis has led to an increase in job insecurity; and with the pension age looking set to rise over the years, a comfortable retirement is far from guaranteed.

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