On Sunday millionaire real estate tycoon Tim Gurner shamed millennials for buying “smashed avocados” and “$4 fancy coffees”.
“We are coming into a new reality where … a lot of people won’t own a house in their lifetime. That is just the reality,” Gurner said in an interview with “60 Minutes Australia” on Sunday. “We’re at a point now where the expectations of younger people are very, very high.” Gurner went on to say,”When you’re spending $40 a day on smashed avocados and coffees and not working…” as proof that millennials won’t be able to purchase a home.
Gurner is under the microscope with his comments since he was given $34,000 from his grandfather to purchase his first investment property at 19. It is safe to say that Gurner doesn’t understand the life of the middle-class in the United States since he has been wealthy his whole life. However, does that make his comments any less true?
According to recent case studies, 6 out of 10 Americans do not have $500 in savings. That is 60% of our country that is lacking in any sort of financial safety net for unexpected expenses – let alone large purchases like homes. Here is how the majority of Americans handle a surprise bill:
- 41% of adults reported having enough in their savings account to cover a large surprise bill.
- A little more than 20% said they would put it on a credit card.
- 20% would cut their spending.
- 11% would turn to friends and family for financial assistance.
However, the study did find that 47% of millennials aging from 18-29 have enough savings to handle a $500 unexpected bill on their own.
What does all of this mean? Millennials get a bad reputation for being a ‘lazier’ generation in the eyes of the Gen Xers and Baby Boomers. But didn’t we all hear the same from our parent’s generation?
Gurner is correct in saying that if you are not able to save money than you should not be dropping money on frivolous items like smashed avocados. But what you see is not always what you get. Just because you walk by a coffee shop full of man-buns, magnificent beards, skateboards, and Macbooks on your way to your 9 – 5 day job doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re more responsible. Millennials are challenging the status quo and demanding a work-life balance. With the stereotype of having inflated egos it can work in their favor. Young adults have more self-respect than to work the miserable crappy jobs that most of us have slugged our way through. Sure it builds character and gives a sense of accomplishment. But what if you didn’t have to go through that and worked in jobs that were uplifting and energizing. What else could you be doing to better the world with all that extra energy? I believe millennials have watched the mistakes of GenX and Baby Boomers and have hopefully learned the lesson that savings and low debt is the ideal financial situation.
Overall Americans need to learn how to save like our grandparents did.
Also published on Medium.