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  • Robert Farago

Money-Obsessed Millennials?

Or corrupt bank spinning surveys

“Money-obsessed millennials think it’s important to ‘look or appear’ financially successful more than previous generations,” announces. This…

“despite many of them struggling with high housing costs, student loan payments, and compounding credit card debt.”

What a load of bollocks. Not that millennials – currently aged 24 to 42 – aren’t in debt or, more to the point, don’t want to flaunt fake financial fulfillment. Of course they are. Of course they do.

Those are the years when it’s important to “look or appear financially successful.” To climb the career ladder. Find a mate. Start a family. Secure investors for your start-up. Get a decent table at a decent restaurant.

The Post reckons that millennials’ tendency to out-kick their financial coverage reflects a “fake it until you make it” philosophy. And? It’s called marketing.

Millennials’ Money Management - Same As It Ever Was?

As for the supposedly damning comparison with millennials’ elders – “just 35% of Gen Xers, 14% of baby boomers, and 7% of the silent generation feel the same about flaunting their wealth” – d’uh.

These demographic groups don’t need to flaunt their financial success because they’ve achieved it.

Or not.

Either way, the economy was stronger back in their day and they’ve come to terms with their financial status (to provide for their family, retirement, etc.) and they’ve learned the lessons of financial profligacy.

Never mind where they are today. Did Gen X, Boomers and Death’s Door demos spend money to “look or appear financially successful” back in their day? Again, d’uh.

This mainstream media millennial misegos is based on a Wells Fargo press release, based on an October 2023 survey by a women's equality group called The Female Quotient (as above).

Or is it? Our Secret Numbers: Women, Men, and the Taboo Nature of Financial Health doesn’t contain the data cited by any of the “news” reports.

I’ve placed a call to Wells Fargo’s media mavens for the relevant data. Nada.Meanwhile, the MSM says the “millennials are posers” headline was drawn from a survey of 1000 millennials who make at least $250k a year.

Just so we’re clear, the U.S. Census Bureau pegs the average millennial’s salary at $47,034. Making this survey a bad landing at the wrong airport, even before we ask its promoters to…

Define Terms

What does “looking or appearing financially successful” look like? Over-the-top LMBL posts on social media? Rocking a fake Birkin? Lying about living off ramen?

I’m thinking Wells Fargo’s anti-millennial agitprop is simply saying the demographic is living beyond its means. Shouldering large amounts of debt to live the American dream.

Who isn’t? At the same time, who is Wells Fargo to criticize? The bank banks billions from millennials’ debt payments. Which reminds me…

Wells Fargo - Mind the Credibility Gap

Why in the world would anyone trust a survey commissioned by Wells Fargo?

In December 2022, the shelled out $2b in refunds and $1.7b in penalties for improper mortgage lending practices.

In February of the same year, the Securities and Exchange Commission fined Wells Fargo Advisors $7m for laundering $12.5m.

A Busy Year

In March 2023, the SEC whacked Wells with a $67.8m fine for “inadequate oversight of sanctions risk transactions” between 2010 and 2015, citing $587m in illegal transactions.

Earlier that summer, Wells coughed-up a $125m SEC fine for employees conducting business using personal text messages (via What’s App and Signal) in violation of federal record keeping requirements.

Keep your hands off of my stack

In conclusion, nothing to see here.

Other than the fact that a smart millennial who wants to be financially flush – rather than pretend – could do worse than get involved in mortgage scams and money laundering.

Like 58-year-old Wells Fargo CEO Charles W. Scharf, who pulled down $29m last year, after four equally remunerative years at the helm. I wonder what his lifestyle looked like back when he was 24.


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