There are many of life’s little luxuries I could live without, but coffee is not one of them. That’s why I was dismayed to read yet another article shaming me for spending my money on skinny lattes and espressos.
This morning, as I trawled through my Twitter feed with bleary, pre-caffeinated eyes, I saw the “news” that millennials are “spending more on coffee than on saving for retirement”.
An article based on a report by SurveyMonkey, and carried out by the investing app Acorns, is hardly representative of population.
Irrespective of the article’s shaky foundations, I’m galled that people have so much to say about how I choose to spend my money. I’m also troubled that, yet again, young people are being blamed for the bleak financial outlook they currently face.
So many studies and polls say or . And articles like this reinforce the argument that millennials are financially irresponsible and only have themselves to blame when they can’t afford to invest in a pension or buy a house.
Assuming this is because they’re spending money on coffee is shortsighted. It’s just not that simple.
Living in a city means that most of my salary goes on rent, utilities and transport. Most of the time I barely break even after pay day. I’m not alone in this.
A recent study by the Resolution Foundation revealed that millennials in the UK will spend 53,000 ($65,654) on rent by the time they are 30 compared to the 9,000 ($11,150) our parents spent on rent in their twenties.
On those occasions when I’ve a bit of money left over, I’ll live a little, buying coffees, glasses of wine, the occasional meal or a new item of clothing.
Millennials are continually being accused of wasting money on supposedly frivolous things. In October, an Australian man named Bernard Salt wrote that he had had enough of seeing young people ordering “smashed avocado with crumbled feta on five-grain toasted bread at $22 (13.45) a pop and more. Twenty-two dollars several times a week could go towards a deposit on a house,” wrote Salt.
According to my calculation, if millennials were to abstain from their avocado toast three times a week, they’d save around $3,432 per year (2,098). Which isn’t all that much, in reality.
A cursory Google search will tell you that today than previous generations and housing affordability is a major problem faced by young people. Owning property has traditionally been a marker of status and security; two qualities that can feel out of young people’s reach.
As a millennial living in London, I am close to giving up on the idea of ever owning a home. Recent reports suggest that first-time buyers in London need an average deposit of 91,409 ($113,230) to buy a house in the capital. To me, that figure is so large, it’s improbable I’ll ever be able to save enough for a deposit. It begs the question: is there any point in even trying?
While my expenses are big, I know that my situation is arguably better than that of my U.S. counterparts, who also have healthcare costs and astronomical student loans to contend with.
I spend 1.80 ($2.22) three times a week on skinny lattes. That amounts to 280.80 ($347.74) per year. That definitely won’t make much of a dent in the 91,409 ($113,230) I’ll need to get on the property ladder. The amount is negligible in the bigger scheme of things.
I don’t need to apologise for my spending. For now, I’ll just keep on drinking my coffee and minding my own business.