KEY IDEA: The idea that Millennials are broke because they spend so much time on social media and buy things to keep up with friends is insulting and downright stupid.
Millennials spend more time on social media than older generations: People ages 25-34 spend 141 minutes per day on it, versus 105 for the 35-44 set. Indeed, nearly half of millennials (49%) say that their spending habits have been influenced by the photos and experiences their friends share on social media, compared with only about one-third of Americans in general, according to a data survey of more than 1,000 Americans by financial firm Charles Schwab.
A 2018 survey from Allianz Life shows that more than half of millennials (57%, versus just 28% of Gen Xers and 7% of boomers) say they’ve spent money they hadn’t planned to because of something they saw on social media.
This is partly because millennials say they feel pressure to keep up with their friends’ spending — and of those, nearly half say that social media posts of friends’ vacations and lifestyles contribute to that pressure, according to 2017 data from TD Ameritrade. Social media also makes 61% of millennials (versus just 35% of Gen Xers and 12% of boomers) feel inadequate about their own life and what they have, with 88% comparing themselves to others on social media (compared to just 71% of Gen Xers and 54% of boomers who say the same), according to the Allianz data. And the Varo data found that three-quarters of millennials feel social media portrays an unrealistically positive view of people’s lives — and as a result, 41% have made a purchase to feel better about their own lives.
That is complete bullshit.
Millennials are broke because in cities like Boston, New York, and San Francisco a six-figure salary may not be enough to live and save money. Then there is student loan debt. Homeownership rates for people ages 24 to 32 dropped nearly 9 percentage points between 2005 and 2014 — effectively driving down homeownership rates overall. In January, the Fed estimated 20 percent of that decline is attributable to student loan debt.
Americans owe over $1.56 trillion in student loan debt, spread out among about 45 million borrowers. That’s about $521 billion more than the total U.S. credit card debt.
The generation hardest hit by student loan debt is millennials. Student debt “now comprises 69 percent of the debt side of their balance sheets” for an average 25- to 30-year-old American, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York — and it may already have strangled their chances for success in the prime earning years of their lives, according to new research. This is certainly adding insult to injury given that slightly more than half of those surveyed by Bentley University blamed higher education for millennials’ lack of preparedness for their first job and slightly less than half extended that complaint to millennials’ entire career.
A colleague of mine recently turned down a job in NYC that paid six-figures. She told me “when I looked at how much money I would have left after taxes, rent and my college loan it wasn’t enough to live”.
So let’s blame social media for making Millennials buy stuff they don’t need just to keep up with their peers. P L E A S E