If you want to get ahead, get old.

That’s the message from a new survey showing over-65 Brits who own their homes are worth a staggering £861 billion.

And, says Key Retirement’s Pensioner Property Equity Index, these home-owning pensioners have earned more than £7,000 each from their property in the past six months.

Statistics like these seem a stark contrast to the reality of the beleaguered under-35s.

They’re the generation grappling with student debt, sky-high rent and house prices and zero job security.

Look at the figures to see how things have changed in the past 25 years.

In 1991, two thirds of 25- to 34-year-olds owned their own homes but that’s fallen now to just under half.

One of the biggest announcements in the recent Budget was hope for young buyers in the shape of a new help-to-buy ISA.

Under this scheme, for every £200 a first-time buyer saves in an ISA savings account, the government will bung in an extra £50.

At the risk of sounding like the slug on the cabbage of hope, it may not be quite as good if you live in Oxford.

No matter how hard you save, the government will put in no more than £3,000 in total.

And there’s more small print. You can’t save more than £200 a month (after making an initial deposit of up to £1,000).

That said, if you can scrape together £12,000, the extra free cash will take your ‘pot’ up to £15,000.

And if you’re buying with a friend or partner and both of you save separately, you could blag a joint amount of £6,000 from the government, taking your total ‘pot’ to £30,000.

But with average house prices in Oxford now £370,000, you don’t have to be Einstein to realise £15,000, or even £30,000 is not going to go very far.

Worse still, some bright sparks have pointed out that since you can only save very slowly (ie no more than £200 per month to qualify for this ISA), it will take you four years to save £12,000.

So by the time you have crawled your way to the finish line, house prices will have rocketed up even more, making your £15,000 or £30,000 worth an awful lot less than it is now.

Never mind, at least there was some good news this week, when we heard the rate of inflation fell to zero per cent last month.

Or is it good?

‘Of course it is’, crowed the government.

‘No it’s not’, chorused the opposition.

It’s like living in a Punch and Judy show and it gets trickier by the day, knowing who we should believe.

I blame statistics, in that they have quite a lot in common with S&M gear – they’ll stretch, or shrink, to fit the purpose and can be used to cover, smooth-over or highlight entirely the wrong thing.

So, where some say the lowest rate of inflation since records began is good because we all feel richer, others reckon it isn’t, as we’ll be waiting for prices to fall further before we buy anything, which could harm growth.

Meanwhile, amid all the Budget talk, we heard how pensioners have more freedom to sell cash in their pension pots, or sell their annuities.

Good for them.

But who would blame younger peeps for feeling envious?

Except let’s remember that there are plenty of OAPs who don’t own their own homes and far from being awash with cash, are worrying how to pay for food and heating on a state pension of £113 a week.

That’s why surveys and statistics can be dangerous – maybe they should come with a government health warning and a large pinch of salt.