The survey also finds that young women are much more likely to doom spend than their mothers and older sisters. Throw in the financial precarity dogging millennials and Gen Z – the New York Federal Reserve noted Tuesday (Feb 6) that a rise in credit card and auto loan delinquencies was especially pronounced among younger borrowers – and you have a recipe for misery.
“The economy sucks, there’s global warming, there’s constant political and social unrest globally,” one 24-year-old told Bloomberg News, justifying her purchase of the occasional “little luxury”, like the vintage Chanel bag she picked up for US$2,500. (While inflation has been painful, it would be a real stretch to say the United States economy objectively sucks.)
“It’s just easier to spend money on things that will bring you immediate fulfillment,” she continued, especially when saving doesn’t seem to bring life’s major expenditures – a home, children – any closer.
She’s right that the rising cost of living has hit younger people, along with all lower-earning people, especially hard. But at the risk of sounding like a scold, a little luxury is a latte, not a four-figure bag.
FEELING LEFT BEHIND IF WE DON’T BUY NEW THINGS
Consumer economies thrive by stoking our fears that we’ll be left behind if we don’t buy the new, new thing.
“Our susceptibility to status symbols comes from our deep need to be accepted, but it is also a way of protecting ourselves,” writes psychology professor Bruce Hood in Possessed: Why We Want More Than We Need. Luxury goods may change how people perceive us – or, just as important, how we see ourselves.