Our country's financial norms are changing under our noses. Shaped by a tenuous expectation of the future, a culture aspiring to have and share experiences, a lack of trust in the system, and a fear of missing out, emerging generations have an unprecedented perspective on fiscal responsibility: it's just not important.
For those of us in the middle of our lives, our parents looked at our financial habits with confused curiosity, as we jumped from job to job, traded security for personal satisfaction, and over-extended our credit to get what we wanted. Meaning? Happiness? Work isn't about meaning. To these older generations, work is a means to an end: to support a family and build towards a stable and predictable retirement.
Now, it's our turn to look at the Kids Today with the same curiosity and confusion. No savings? Traveling the world on a whim? Living in parents houses? Broadcasting pictures of expensive meals and nights at the club? There's no planning, investments, or long-term outlook, and what's more, they don't seem to care!
We inherited financial norms and a financial system, and then changed those structures to support our own lifestyles and expectations. Now, we accept those structures as immutable, and judge others based on how well they navigate and use those structures. Save. Invest. Plan. Diversify. But those structures are increasingly meaningless to future generations, because they have fundamentally different priorities. What about living in the moment? What about experiences?
What does a financial system look like that’s built just for them?
It's the end of credit cards - everyone's a lender! Shoes for a few bucks, Uber for a dollar, and a burger for pennies. Don't sweat the future payments - that's something to deal with later. You're hungry now!
Why buy it yourself, when you can buy it together? Get those new kicks or great meal without the guilt. It's your money, but their decision - poll your friends and let the group make the call.
Alexa, if you're so smart, stop asking us questions - just do it for us! Alexa knows what you want better than you do, and since she knows what your friends are up to, you can one-up them with the latest and greatest.
Everyone's killing it at Coachella, and now you can, too - even if you can't afford it. First class travel, front row seats, and the best selfies you can take. And all at a low rate of 5.99%!
Relive your experiences when you look at your integrated InstaStatement, and feel great about your purchases. And, at the end of each month, share your haul with friends with a slideshow of everything you bought.
When your balance is hitting rock bottom, don't just watch it dwindle away - blow it all at once! Ask your friends for great ideas, and - Yolo! - go out with a bang. For extra points, play it like a Showcase Showdown and ask your friends to get it as close to $0.00 as possible!
Your face isn't just beautiful, it's valuable, too. Our retail partners have created great discounts just for you; share your purchases on insta and save a buck or two.
If you are older - in your 40s or 50s - you probably looked at these ideas as satire.
But if you are younger - in your teens - you probably looked at these ideas and thought, "What's the big deal? Of course money should work this way." And that disconnect is the point. Our parents looked negatively at our frenetically changing of jobs and need for meaning, our lack of loyalty to our employers, and our reliance on credit, and we in turn look negatively at upcoming generations, their lack of planning, and their irresponsible financial decisions.
These glimpses of the future are dystopic only from one direction. This may not be the future we want. But if it's the future they expect, should we build it for them?