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Are Millennials Spending Too Much Money On Coffee?

An anonymous reader quotes the Atlantic:
Suze Orman wants young people to stop “peeing” away millions of dollars on coffee. Last month, the personal-finance celebrity ignited a controversy on social media when a video she starred in for CNBC targeted a familiar villain: kids these days and their silly $5 lattes. Because brewing coffee at home is less expensive, Orman argued, purchasing it elsewhere is tantamount to flushing money away, which makes it a worthy symbol of Millennials’ squandered resources…

In the face of coffee shaming, young people usually point to things like student loans and housing prices as the true source of the generation’s instability, not their $100-a-month cold-brew habits… Orman and her compatriots now receive widespread pushback when denigrating coffee aficionados, a change that reflects the shifting intergenerational tensions that are frequently a feature of the post-Great Recession personal-finance genre. The industry posits that many of the sweeping generational trends affecting Americans’ personal stability — student-loan debt, housing insecurity, the precarity of the gig economy — are actually the fault of modernity’s encouragement of undisciplined individual largesse. In reality, those phenomena are largely the province of Baby Boomers, whose policies set future generations on a much tougher road than their own. With every passing year, it becomes harder to sell the idea that the problems are simply with each American as a person, instead of with the system they live in. “There’s a reason for this blame-the-victim talk” in personal-finance advice, the journalist Helaine Olen wrote recently. “It lets society off the hook. Instead of getting angry at the economics of our second gilded age, many end up furious with themselves.”

That misdirection is useful for people in power, including self-help gurus who want to sell books… [W]hen it comes to money, says Laura Vanderkam, the author of All the Money in the World: What the Happiest People Know About Getting and Spending, there are usually only a couple of things that actually make a difference in how stable people are. It’s the big stuff: how much you make, how much you pay for housing, whether or not you pay for a car.


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