22 Vision: austerity We'll never have it so good. Blame who you like - governments, bonus-stuffed bankers or an ever-greedy society - but our immediate future is financial depression. No you can't have a new loan, because we gave too many to people we forgot couldn't pay them. No you can't step onto the property ladder, because that's still only for those who stepped aboard several years ago. No you can't have another job because too many other people want too few, not unless you scale down your goals and expectations. And no you can't have a decent pension when the (delayed) time comes, because current reserves can barely afford to fund those who've already retired. We should expect a decade with less financial security, lower aspirations and reduced support by the state. There'll be pressure to cut services left, right and centre, which'll be fine until some service you rely on is scaled back, made chargeable or deleted altogether. You won't really need that 3D plasma TV, and your life won't end if you don't go on four foreign holidays this year, secretly you already know that. But there'll be no protection from the erosion of social provision, not unless you already boast a privileged cushion of wealth. The next decade is blue, and the next decade is in the red. If you haven't started saving yet, you're probably too late.