Dear Baby Boomers: Netflix Isn’t the Reason Millennials Can’t Afford a Home

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Here at Nightcap HQ, we have a special alarm bell that rings every time a millennial-shaming baby boomer study comes out. (I’m kidding, of course, but we do have the internet and a flair for unfair generational disparities.)

Here’s the problem: a study in the UK this week found that half of the British public thinks young people can’t afford to buy a house because they spend too much on coffee, Netflix and travel.

It’s the avocado toast debacle yet again. In case anyone forgot: In 2017, an Australian millionaire said millennials couldn’t afford to buy homes because they were losing “$40 a day on smashed avocados and coffees and she wasn’t working.

Of course, generational misconceptions are nothing new. The idea that young people don’t work as hard dates back to ancient Greece, according to researchers from the Policy Institute and the Institute of Gerontology at King’s College London.

“Young people today love luxury; they have bad manners, despise authority; they disrespect elders and enjoy gossip instead of activity. This sentiment, often attributed to Socrates, is over a thousand years old, but 51% of the British public agree with it, researchers have found.

Naturally, the internet had opinions about the researchers’ findings.

  • “It’s true. Millennials only have $19.99/month to pay off the mortgage on a million-dollar house that baby boomers bought for chewing gum and a few packages. matches,” tweeted @StephenPunwasi.
  • “You would have to cancel Netflix for 2,300 years to save enough to pay the average price of a house in the United States,” tweeted @femmisgeek

Even the researchers themselves have expressed frustration with the narrative.

“The suggestion that the huge challenges young people face in buying their own homes can be solved by skipping fancy cafes and Netflix completely misses the point – but half the public still believes it,” Bobby said. Duffy, director of the King’s Policy Institute. London College.

Of course, Millennials’ inability to afford a home has nothing to do with our Netflix subscriptions (which, ironically, some of us still steal from our Boomer parents, thank you very much) or our daily coffee at 7 $ (I’ll die renting before I ditch my cold brew, motherfuckers).

Allow me to – *cracks knuckles* — briefly reviews some of the real barriers to homeownership for people born between 1981 and 1996.

  1. We can’t afford it. The median home value in 1980 was $47,200, or $167,000 in today’s dollars. The median price for a single-family home in the first quarter of 2022 was more than two and a half times higher, at $428,700.
  2. We have entered financial and economic hell. Class of 2007, anyone?
  3. Crushing student debt. The college degree that all of our mentors promised would be the key to success has become an albatross for millions of graduates who can’t get their heads above water.
  4. Tighter lending standards. During the fallout from the 2008 recession, banks limited their credit underwriting standards and made 20% down payments the norm. For a median value home today, that’s an $86,000 down payment. LOLLLLLL.

NUMBER OF DAYS: 18%

Crypto exchange Coinbase is laying off 18% of its employees – about 1,000 positions – as the company’s market value plummeted during the recent crypto crisis.

“We appear to be entering a recession after an economic boom lasting more than 10 years,” CEO Brian Armstrong wrote on Tuesday. “A recession could lead to another crypto winter and could last for an extended period.”

Bitcoin reached an all-time high of $69,000 in November 2021. Since then, the world’s most valuable cryptocurrency has lost two-thirds of its value, falling below $23,000 on Tuesday. It has lost about 25% of its value since Friday.

ETYMOLOGY CORNER

Bear. Bulls. Two big scary mammals that serve as Wall Street’s shorthand for the general mood of the stock market. Bear = just about everyone sells. Bull = almost everyone buys.

This week, US stocks fell into a “bear” market, falling more than 20% from their most recent high in early January. This rout marked the end of the “bull” market that began in the spring of 2020.

But how did these muscle beasts acquire their status as default metaphors for stock market sentiment?

There are a few etymological theories behind the terms. One dates from the 18th century and involves poets, proverbs and a gang of English scalawags who defraud investors. Another story (almost certainly fictional) refers to how the two animals attack.

Let’s start with the bear.

  • The term, according to Merriam-Webster, derives from “bear skin” which was used in the 18th century as a metaphor for the speculative buying of stocks known today as short selling (i.e. say bet that a stock will go down).
  • It comes from a proverb warning not to “sell a bear’s skin before you have caught the bear”.
  • Bearskin has been shortened to bear, and here we are.
  • The term caught on after the South Sea Bubble of 1720 (and even later, after the crash of 1929 that led to the Great Depression). The scandal is complex, but the gist of it is that a group of British crooks drove up the price of a company that never made a profit and caused a financial collapse.

Where is the bull?

One would have to ask the (long-dead) poet Alexander Pope why he chose the bull as the bear’s counterpart in this verse which alludes to his participation in the South Seas stock market scandal:

Come fill the goblet of the South Seas;

The gods of our stock will watch over:

Happy Europe accepts Taurus,

And Jove happily repels the bear.

It’s entirely possible we got the term “bull” because Pope wanted something cool that rhymes with “full.”

Another theory…

There’s not a whole lot of evidence to back this one up, but it’s worked its way into Wall Street lore over the years, and it can be a helpful image to remember what the two terms mean.

The idea is that a bear attacks by swiping its paws down on its prey (down swipe = stocks go down). A bull, on the other hand, pushes its horns upwards to gore the poor souls that cross its path (push upwards = stocks go up).

There is a bit of horrible history linking bulls and bears this way. Between the 1200s and 1600s in England, people would watch bull and bear bait contests and bet on the results.

In this context, it is not difficult to understand why modern trading is sometimes called a blood sport.

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