Under 35? You face at least 3 tough challenges in the 2017 economy

It's a new year, but Canadians in their 20s and 30s continue to face the same daunting financial problems: precarious employment, rising house prices and a struggle to save for a secure retirement.

Precarious work, high home prices and questions of whether retirement will ever be a reality

Precarious work and sky-high home prices have some young Canadians on edge, as they struggle to get a start on their financial lives. CBC News asked people from across the country how they're doing financially, and what they're hoping for in the years ahead. (CBC)

Good economic news can be hard to come by for Canadians in their 20s and 30s. Headlines warn of rising home prices and first-time buyers priced out of the market. Then there's the rise of precarious and part-time employment — so-called "job churn" that has people moving from one unstable job to the next.

And for young people looking toward the future, there's the possibility they may never be able to earn a secure retirement.

We spoke to Canadians born in the '80s and '90s from coast to coast recently about their economic concerns. And those three themes emerged again and again.

In the videos below, you can see just how daunting the data on all three fronts really is.

Secure full-time jobs ever harder to come by

Compared to the mid-'70s, this generation of young Canadians has seen a drop in full-time permanent employment, according to a recent study by Statistics Canada.

Overall, when headlines have boasted of new jobs created in Canada in the past year, most have been part-time.

But the shift to more precarious work may be a future that younger workers need to get used to.

Dia Apostolakis told CBC News she did "two free internships, one from nine-to-five, then going from five-to-nine, then going home at night." 

Federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau drew attention in the fall with comments about employment trends.

"We know that job churn is going to happen. More people are going to move from jobs more rapidly. Many of the jobs will be short-term," Morneau said.

Calgarian Samantha Louise Emery says that's definitely true in her case, as she's currently working two jobs — one full time and one part-time — to make ends meet.

"I'm just working all the time," she says.

The video below shows that Emery is not alone in her concerns over precarious employment.

Young Canadians talk about the increasing difficulty of getting a full time, long-term job 3:57

The mirage of home ownership

The struggle to find permanent work makes saving for a home more difficult. A survey by the Bank of Montreal found that almost one-third of the people surveyed don't think they would ever be able to afford a home.

For many, one of the most daunting expenses is the down payment. Of the people BMO surveyed, 65 per cent said that they would have to rely on parents or other family members for help with as much as 10 per cent of the purchase price.

But a slight majority of millennials already own homes, and many still plan to buy. Today's ultra-low mortgage rates have kept high home prices within reach for some.

While she'd love to get into the market, Apostolakis says she has put those plans on the back burner for now. "Home ownership for me," she says, "[is] at least 10 years [away]."

She's not the only one of her generation to worry about ever buying a home, as the video below shows.

Young Canadians talk about the challenges of trying to get into the housing market 4:33

Will you ever be able to retire — or will you work till you drop?

Retirement is another major financial concern hanging over younger workers. It may be decades away for most, but saving for years of unemployment takes that kind of time.

And saving for the so-called golden years is increasingly being put on the shoulders of workers.

Data from Statistics Canada shows that the percentage of Canadians with registered pension plans has steadily declined since the '70s.

That financial responsibility can be disheartening for some young workers.

"I was paying into RRSPs before, automatically off my paycheques, but I decided to stop that because I needed the extra money for my bills and everything," said Samantha Emery from Calgary.

According to TD Bank, more than half of millennials it surveyed would like to retire by the time they turn 60, but only a quarter think that's a realistic possibility. Most expect to have to work in their 60s or their 70s.

But first, they need to be able to save — something just half of those surveyed said they could afford to do.

Michael Turner, 23, said retirement is a major concern of his, because in his field, "your company doesn't necessarily take care of you," with generous benefits and pension plans.

"So I've been purposefully considering how I'm going to plan my retirement fund," he added.

Watch the video below to see what he and other millenials think about the concept of their own retirement.

While it may be decades away, we hear how some young Canadians feel about retirement 4:27

About the Author

Jacqueline Hansen

Senior Business Reporter

Jacqueline Hansen is a Senior Business Reporter for CBC News. Based in Toronto, she's been covering business and other news beats since 2010.

With files from Renée Filippone

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