Oh Good, It’s Another Laughably Unrealistic Millennial “Budget Breakdown” to Make Us All Feel Terrible About Ourselves

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When it comes to editorial trends we can’t wait to see die, second maybe only to the unending check-ins with how Trump voters are feeling today is the “how millennials should be spending their money” articles. It feels like every week or so, we get a new “by age 30 you should have saved ____” piece, usually written by someone far outside the millennial age range, and basing their reasoning on standards that just don’t exist anymore. The only good thing about any of these articles is watching people dunk on them as hard as possible.

Today’s example: This entry in CNBC’s ongoing “Millennial Money” series of budget breakdowns from people who are “excellent with money.”

Looking at that graph, you might wonder how a person can possibly get internet for $20 and a house cleaner for $30. Well, part of being “excellent with money” apparently involves living with four roommates. “I like my rent to be at a number where it doesn’t actually matter to me each month,” says Trevor Klee, this 25-year-old financial wizard says. Which, I mean, same, but it’s not exactly a useful piece of advice for most of us.

Other fun, highly relatable things about Trevor: He gives away in charitable donations nearly as much as he spends in rent; he’s on his family’s phone plan; and most notably, despite graduating from Princeton, he has (based on this graph) no student loans–or, apparently, any debt at all.

Things got even more ridiculous, though, when writer Miles Klee made this announcement:

And proceded to spill all sorts of familial tea.

These kinds of articles are laughable, but they do also perpetuate a damaging idea of wealth responsibility. Like so many other budget breakdown series we’ve seen, it posits immense privilege as a natural part of what it means to be “excellent with money,” enforcing our skewed perception that treats a lack of such privilege as irresponsibility.

(image: Disney)

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Vivian Kane
Vivian Kane (she/her) is the Senior News Editor at The Mary Sue, where she's been writing about politics and entertainment (and all the ways in which the two overlap) since the dark days of late 2016. Born in San Francisco and radicalized in Los Angeles, she now lives in Kansas City, Missouri, where she gets to put her MFA to use covering the local theatre scene. She is the co-owner of The Pitch, Kansas City’s alt news and culture magazine, alongside her husband, Brock Wilbur, with whom she also shares many cats.