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I’d love to buy a house some day, but there’s still just so many things holding me back from achieving the American Dream of home ownership right now. I thought that once I stopped buying $19 avocado toast for every meal I’d finally be able to reach my savings goals in order to put down a down payment and sign a mortgage. Yet here I am, still renting out an apartment like the peasant millennial I am. And I’m certainly not the only millennial who finds themselves in this quandary.
Could the reason for that be that there are other nuanced, macroeconomic factors for why I and many others in my generation haven’t purchased a home yet that can’t be explained by a simple generalization of generational spending habits? Or perhaps that, despite lazy stereotypes and misconceptions, millennials actually possess similar ambitions for home ownership that everyone else does but face difficult hurdles such as rising housing costs and student debt that far outpace wage growth?
No, of course not. You get out of here with your “analysis” and “data” that “proves” those things to be “true.” Instead, we need a new boogeyman to pin this scourge of supposed frivolous millennial spending and lack of saving on. And according to a study conducted by the real estate service company Zillow (Hmm, I wonder if they have a dog in this fight?) the real reason millennials aren’t buying homes is because we’d rather be blowing our money on extravagant bachelor/bachelorette parties instead.
It’s tough to save up for a home. It’s a whole lot tougher after poker, cigars and a few dozen jello shots.
You’re telling me. My efforts to save up for a home are constantly derailed by weekends that closely resemble the Pleasure Island scene from Pinocchio, except instead of swigging beer from German steins, my bros and I are all ordering 800 rounds of weak-ass Jell-O shots. But you tell me what’s more fun—the aggravation of home maintenance and upkeep or choking down a ton of shitty vodka-infused gelatin?
Millennials spend an average of $1,532 on a single bachelor party, according to a new Zillow analysis of wedding data from The Knot. Without travel and lodging, that number shrinks to $738.
Bachelorette parties cost less: $1,106 on average per millennial guest, or $472 without travel and lodging.
Attending just nine bachelor parties in a lifetime will set you back $13,788, the site estimates — about one-third of the down payment on a median-value U.S. home. Considering that Americans attend an average three weddings per year, it isn’t so far-fetched to start worrying that your spending habits on booze, flights and presents could keep you out of your dream home.
Emphasis added by me because holy shit that is a lot of money!
Articles like this crack me up because they take a common behavior or event that millennials like to partake in — in this case, bachelor/ette parties—and completely blow out of proportion how often they occur and how much money is spent on them. Yes, depending on where you go there are some bachelor/ette partiers where you’ll end up spending a pretty penny due to the cost of flights, hotels, party packages, etc. Flights to popular destinations like Las Vegas or New Orleans aren’t cheap (Especially in the winter) and a good hotel will run you a good amount of money, and that’s before taking into consideration the cost of dining, drinks, and making it rain at the strip club.
But to say people are spending north of a grand on average for every single bachelor/ette party is absurd. You might have a couple that are like that, but for the most part I would say a lot of groups are good at planning something that’s cost effective. A lot of these parties are taking place in nearby big cities that are easy for everyone to drive to instead of fly, or only last one day instead of a full weekend, and in some cases don’t necessarily involve going out anywhere and instead are held in a summer lake house or something similar. I know this is hard for some people to believe given some of the narratives out there, but millennials can be cost-conscious too. And if there are people actually spending this much on average for one of these parties, chances are they have the means to not only afford that, but tuck away a good amount of money into their savings after the fact too.
Also, going to an average of nine bachelor parties in your life implies you have nine friends inviting you to these things in the first place, which is totally unrealistic. Who the hell has nine friends? I could only dream of being so popular.
However, the biggest flaw in this article and other ones like it lies in the implication that any money that is spent on anything that isn’t home savings — whether it’s bachelor/ette parties, avocado toast, or whatever the hot new thing the inevitable next article says is preventing millennials from buying a home is—would have been entirely funneled into home savings. How do you know that? Sure, that $1,000+ you saved by skipping out on the party would be a pretty significant contribution to your savings, but it very easily could have gone to something else such as paying off debts, making a big purchase you needed, or just more partying spread out over several weekends. There’s no guarantee that money would have been directed towards home savings.
And the notion that “If you take the amount of money you spend in your life on a certain thing and save it instead it would be a lot!” is also faulty because you can apply that to virtually anything. All the money I’ve spent on beer in my life could have gone towards buying a car. If you took all the money you spent on video games and accessories you could put it in a savings account and accumulate interest at a whopping rate of 1%. Take all the money you’ve used to purchase escort services and you could probably save up to buy a wedding ring for a respectable woman you could have been dating this whole time instead. Those are all theoretically true, but the happiness and pleasure you derived from making all these purchases over a lifetime make spending money on them worth it. If all we did was put every dollar we earned into bare necessities and savings our existences would be miserable. So long as you exercise basic financial discretion and are sure to save what you can, you can still eat avocado toast and have fun at bachelor parties.
Anyway, I’m looking forward to the day we come full circle on this and people start bitching about how millennials are saving too much money on home ownership..