An Australian millionaire and real estate mogul has advice for millennials struggling to purchase a home: stop buying avocado toast.
Tim Gurner, a luxury property developer in Melbourne responsible for over $3.8bn in projects, is facing heat for comments he made on 60 Minutes in Australia, implying that young people can’t afford to buy property because they’re wasting money on fancy toast and overpriced coffee.
“When I was trying to buy my first home, I wasn’t buying smashed avocado for $19 and four coffees at $4 each,” he said. “We’re at a point now where the expectations of younger people are very, very high.”
He added: “We are coming into a new reality where … a lot of people won’t own a house in their lifetime. That is just the reality.”
It’s no secret that we’ve become an instant-gratification culture. Surveys show that even Baby Boomers have saved very little; a recent NIRS (National Institute on Retirement Security) study showed that “two-thirds of households age 55-64 have savings equal to less than their annual income. A third have no savings at all.”
For millennials, the consumer appetite stands to have sharper consequences.
First, they simply have less money to spend than their grandparents; this is the result of both declining incomes and, for many, crushing debt. Second, as author Simon Sinek has pointed out, delayed gratification is a concept unknown to many millennials.
You want to buy something, you go on Amazon, it arrives the next day. You want to watch a movie, log on to watch a movie—you don’t check movie times. You want to watch a TV show, binge…
You don’t have to learn the social coping mechanisms… Everything you want, instant gratification, EXCEPT job satisfaction and strength of relationships. There ain’t no app for that.
And so I keep meeting these wonderful, fantastic, idealistic, hard-working, smart kids that just graduated school, they’re in their entry-level job, and I sit down with them and I go “How’s it going?” And they go, “I think I’m going to quit.” And I’m like “Why?” They’re like, “I’m not making an impact.” I’m like, “You’ve been here 8 months.”
I believe that Gurner is correct that many millennials have high expectations. Many of them, I fear, will never realize those expectations because they never were taught an age-old virtue: prudence.
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