You’ve heard the sensationalist headlines mostly written by Baby Boomers claiming that we Millenials (a generation that includes people now in their 30s but I feel like the term is swung around for all young people) are a lazy, overprivileged bunch who spend all our money on reckless things like avocado toast and then have the audacity to complain about not being able to afford the real stuff.
As actual young people know, shock horror, the people making these claims have no idea what they’re talking about. The occasional brunch treat does not reckless spending make. Here’s what we’re actually spending our hard-earned moolah on.
Experience Over Possession
We’re a bunch of people who have caught the travel bug, but it’s not just that. We would so much rather have a one in a lifetime experience, or pay for education than own a fancy TV or car, according to Macquarie strategists.
“Millennials are driving the idea of ‘peak stuff’, with over 75% preferring to spend money on a desirable experience, education or a ‘shared’ good rather than a material possession,” these strategists told Sydney Morning Herald, “Doing something different and searching for unique, often personalised experiences.”
If, like me, when people bring up owning homes you just zone right on out because there is just absolutely no way you’re going to be able to afford that, turns out you’re not the only one.
Independent group, Gratten Institute, analysed the 2016 Census to discover that home ownership is on the decline not just for young ‘uns, but for everyone under the age of 55. In 1986, 58% of people aged 25 to 34 owned homes. At the time of census is was down to 45%, most of that drop happening in the last 10 years.
Speaking to the ABC, Brendan Coates, a fellow at the Grattan Institute explained, “What these numbers show is that there’s clearly a problem linked to housing affordability. It shows we have a really big problem in ensuring the younger generations can afford to purchase a home.”
Or I should say, not insurance. With the rise of the ‘share economy’ in which less people are bothering to buy possessions like cars, and homes (because yay, experiences!). And if you’re renting or ‘sharing’, there’s not really much of a need for car and home insurance, is there?
As for private health insurance, turns out many young people have decided to abandon it. Just from last year to now, an extra 37,000 people have opted out of private health insurance. Why is this? According to the ABC, it’s all about the rising prices. In 2014 Hospital insurance hit its highest point and as a result, the number of people paying for cover dropped significantly.
Aaaand here we are, the old avocado. Well, it’s not this green squishy veg that’s doing us in, it’s that we’re dealing with the some of the highest grocery prices in the world.
You know that Eat Well For Less program on Channel 9? Finance expert Ross Greenwood jumped on it to discuss the mildly depressing state of our food.
“Living in Australia, it’s not cheap. When it comes to groceries, we pay some of the most expensive prices on the planet,” explained Greenwood, “A recent study showed that groceries in Sydney are more expensive for the same groceries as those in New York, London and Hong Kong…What’s incredible is that we pay the most for apples, tomatoes, and mince, which are all things we produce right here in Australia.”
So yup, whether you’re eating out or cooking at home, you’re spending a dumb amount on food simply because you have no choice.