In May 2017, Australian millionaire Tim Gurner criticized millennials for spending too much money on expensive delicacies, such as smashed avocados and pricy coffees. His thoughts on the subject were roundly mocked, and rightly so. He clearly believes that material success in middle age requires substantial discomfort and sacrifice in your teens and early twenties. To him, this was the lynchpin of his own affluence, and the lesson must be universal.
But the question remains: Did Tim Gurner really never buy something for more than he should have? Would all of his struggles have been for naught if he had opted for the extra shot of espresso in his latte? That $0.60 really makes the difference between millionaire status and mediocrity, doesn’t it? This is all, of course, to say that Gurner’s stance is ridiculous and presents a solution for a problem that doesn’t really exist.
I know that I would have more money left over at the end of the month if I didn’t splurge on my occasional overpriced mixture of coffee and processed sugar. But what kind of life would I have if I didn’t indulge in the “nicer things”? It’s not as though I buy the most expensive bottle of whiskey in a bar or reserve every table in a restaurant so my friends and I can eat in peace. Most people I know wouldn’t do these things even if they had the money.
We should all be more aware of our disposable income, and strive to use it responsibly. (Or better yet, save it!) All of us could benefit from a greater level of financial literacy. Only a fool would say that he truly has nothing to learn. However, millennials are hardly the first generation that could use some discipline when it comes to saving and spending money. Many of our parents went into extreme levels of debt to afford the sort of lifestyle they felt they deserved as a result of their hard work. They took out loans for fancy cars and other luxuries, and helped to cause a worldwide economic crisis in the process
In fact, that same crisis helped to fuel the recession that left many of us in a position where a $4.50 coffee feels like a luxury. That combined with the skyrocketing cost of a university education and the need to take out student loans to even have a chance at an elite degree leaves us with nowhere to turn for that visceral rush of living slightly outside of our means. Instead of buying a house or an expensive car on a whim, we settle for coffees and avocado toast. In summary, if the Baby Boomers and Gen X would be willing to go back in time and prevent their irresponsible purchases from causing the Great Recession, we would gladly refuse to buy avocados for the rest of our natural-born lives.