Millennials and Coffee

Don’t get me wrong, I have spent plenty of time in a Starbucks over the years. I know how to pronounce all the sizes, even if I am stubborn and insist on ordering my coffee by asking for a large. I’m just not the kind of person who buys things on a daily basis, so it makes sense that I’ve never had a Starbucks reward card (or app) or felt like any single Starbucks was my “local” coffee shop. I know plenty of people my age who do buy coffee most days there, and while I don’t want to spend so much money on coffee, it’s a luxury and people get to choose what they spend their money on, so whatever.

A little while ago I remember reading an article about how a survey said Millennials spend more money on coffee than retirement savings and I was appalled. I looked for a little more about that story and found it to be stupidly misleading. Good click bait for sure, but dumb and untrue. It was a study by Acorns that, first of all, said that only 41% of millennials think they spend more on coffee. So… 59% said they spent more on retirement. Also, more than half of the Millennials surveyed fell in the “young millennials” category of 18-23 years old. So any article worrying about who’s saving and when needs to recognize that we’re talking about kids here, not adults, not people who can legally drink alcohol, but kids (we’re talking about practice, not a game). If I couldn’t legally buy drinks, you bet the percentage of my income going to coffee would skyrocket!

Another problem with this survey, the way it has been used in the news, and the attitudes that are constantly pushed about Millennials, is the fact that Millennials are actually saving more and better than previous generations did. See this article comparing growths in savings rates, or this article noting how much younger Millennials started socking away money for retirement compared to other generations, or this article noting how budget and savings conscious our ‘depression’ era generation is. There is plenty of real data out there that indicates that Millennials are far more fiscally engaged and fiscally literate than click bait would have us think.

So if an expensive frothy concoction is what you want, go ahead and indulge.


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