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Young, female and bankrupt: Lure of a celebrity lifestyle leads to rise in women going bust!!


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Young, female and bankrupt: Lure of a celebrity lifestyle leads to rise in women going bust


By Olinka Koster

Last updated at 8:42 AM on 17th June 2009




Young women desperate to copy the opulent lifestyles of footballers' wives and girlfriends are responsible for a surge in female bankruptcies.

The majority of bankrupts under 24 are now women as they succumb to the temptation for excessive spending sprees, research shows.

A survey found women were 'far more likely' to spend irresponsibly than men as they try to emulate celebrities such as Victoria Beckham.






Trappings of wealth: Women are becoming bankrupt as they emulate the shopping habits of celebrities such as Victoria Beckham (left) and Paris Hilton




Last year 55 per cent of young bankrupts were female, up from 48 per cent five years ago.

In total, 1,560 women under 24 were declared bankrupt compared to 1,250 men in the same age group.

The research, based on data from The Insolvency Service, found that young women were keener than young men to demonstrate their independence by renting or owning their own flat.




In contrast, young men are often happy to stay living with their parents.

According to official figures, 29 per cent of 20 to 34-year-olds now live with their parents, compared to just 18 per cent of women of the same age group.

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It means more young women have taken out mortgages they cannot afford, which eat up a large proportion of their monthly salaries.

This makes them more vulnerable to interest rate changes and more likely to go bankrupt if they lose their job or overspend on other purchases.


Much of the problem was brought on by the 'boom years' which saw massive inflation in the cost of items that were considered affordable luxuries, such as handbags, while it became easy to get credit cards and loans.

Many young women have become trapped in debt because they feel they need to keep up with their peers by buying designer clothes and displaying other 'trappings of success', the study said.

Anthony Cork, of accountancy firm Wilkins Kennedy which compiled the research, said: 'Five years ago it tended to be young men who got out of their financial depth, but now it is far more likely to be young women who spend irresponsibly.

'That gap between the genders seems to be growing. Over the last decade, the pressure on young women to follow the lavish lifestyle of female celebrities has grown immensely.

'In all seriousness we are told that Paris Hilton and Victoria Beckham are role models to be followed.

'The growing availability of credit has meant that for the status-conscious, who want to exhibit the trappings of success, designer clothes and jewellery seem misleadingly achievable.'

The researchers said young men did not appear to feel the social pressure to 'spend conspicuously' or set up on their own to the same extent that women do.

As a result, they are able to build up a bigger cushion of savings. The extra pressures on women are exacerbated by the gender pay gap, although this is relatively small among under-24s.

Last year, around 67,500 people in all age groups went personally bankrupt in England and Wales, an increase of 89 per cent over the past five years.

Overall, those over the age of 45 are the most likely to go bankrupt, as falling house prices and rising unemployment reduces their ability to manage debt, according to Wilkins Kennedy.

Nearly 40 per cent of those declared bankrupt last year were over 45, with bankruptcy in this age group more than doubling in the past five years, from 10,594 in 2004 to 23,767 last year.

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