Cheer up Millennials, you’re no longer drawing the ire of EVERY news outlet looking to churn out a clickbait-y headline. Forbes, of all places, has your back (with a very clickbait-y headline, but still, one thing at a time). Yesterday, the venerable financial paper published an account questioning the correctness of the surfeit of articles haranguing Millennials for “spend[ing] more on coffee than on saving.”
The majority if not all of these pieces are written from the same SurveyMonkey survey, which was commissioned by Acorns, an investing app that definitely has no vested interested in convincing people they need to be saving more. The survey looks at the spending habits of 1,900 people age 18 to 35 and concludes that almost half of those questioned spend more on coffee than on investing. Sprinkle a few claims about “irresponsibility” and “special snowflakes” and BOOM! You’ve got yourself an article.
But let’s be real here, anyone that includes people aged 18 to 23–college age folks fresh out of their parents’ houses who spend a good portion of their income on not being sober (as well they should)—as part of an argument for how the newest generation to the working class is not smart with their money is obviously looking for a very particular answer. Hi, I’m Gerry. Gerry Mander. I hear your numbers don’t tell the story you want. I’m here to fix that.
Instead of relying upon the SurveyMonkey survey, Forbes took a look at the Consumer Expenditure survey (CE), which is the “federal government’s main data source on how Americans spend and what they spend their money on.” Looking at responses for those aged 25 to 34 (and after a little bit of math), the article comes to the number $1,880. That’s the average amount saved by Millennials according to CE.
So the question becomes, “do Millennials spend on average more than $1,880 on coffee per year?” It would mean that the average Millennial household is using 61% of its annual $3,097 spent on away-from-home food on coffee. Put another way, every Millennial would have to spend $5.15 on coffee every day in order for those numbers to work out.
And according to Forbes, other studies have actually told a different story entirely:
So the sky isn’t actually falling on/because of the Millennials. I’m sure they’ll get it all together in just enough time to bloviate on how exactly the iGeneration is doing it wrong.
Zac Cadwalader is the news editor at Sprudge Media Network.
*image via Lost in E Minor