Finance

Why Money and manners should matter to millennials

Money manners

Money and manners go hand in hand

Money and manners often go hand in hand. This past weekend we had a visit from my 19 year old nephew and his friend. They were attending a weekend concert that featured artists that I had never heard of, but it sounded like fun.   I’ll preface this piece with an eye toward understanding that young people are just starting out, but in this instance, their background is from significant means and privilege.

Don’t cheap out

I totally understand now, why apps like like “Venmo” have experienced rapid growth. Venmo allows people to make micro-payments to each other, or easily split a check, if one person isn’t carrying cash, etc.  I see how that might be popular because it seems like “cheaping out” is really popular with younger people today. I have real empathy for people who can’t afford certain things, or if someone needs a little supplemental assistance once in a while.  However, I get incensed when I feel people sit on their wallet, or cry poor mouth, because they think they are “being clever” or thrifty.  That’s NOT being thrifty, that’s being a leech.

This weekend, when we had to grab an Uber, I put it on my account. I didn’t hear either of them offering me any remuneration for it.  When I recommended Mexican food for lunch, they both said they were light on cash, so I offered to make it my treat.  Not a major deal, and I was happy to do it, but we continued on like that for 48 hours.

Scale back your taste for premium brands

When you’re the guest of someone else, go out of your way to minimize your cost impact.  My wife made a nice Italian dinner on the first night of their stay and I bought the bread. The following morning, we all woke up and my wife was wondering if we might get away with just cereal, but she offered bacon and eggs too. Guess which option was requested, without any hesitation? The much more costly and labor intensive bacon and eggs, almost dismissively.

The second morning, they slept in. Understandable after the late night concert. I manned the breakfast duty this morning, and we ate in mini-shifts.  When I offered our guest a yogurt, he requested the premium priced “Oikos” version instead of the generic brand, which was in much more abundance.

People, by their very nature, often want the higher end products, but when you are a guest, on the dole, take your tastes down a notch and apply your thrift to your own desires.  THAT is actually when your thrift should really kick in. It’s a reciprocal thing.

After that second breakfast, our two guests continued to sleep in a bit, and languished the bulk of the afternoon away.  I was surprised that they wouldn’t want to get out and explore the city a bit more.  It felt like they were trying to “run out the clock” for the next feeding hour.   That didn’t happen this time.  I would have offered them a PB&J, but our interaction was so minimal that I decided to just pass.  While they wrapped up to move onto their next destination, I pointed them toward the local Pizza place.

If ANY of the above, sounds like you, or someone you might know, you should really work on some basics of manners and courtesy.

Offer more than a “Thank you”

A lot of these interactions and observations might simply be a normal evolution of growing up that way. However, to older generations or others who might have a different “money perspective”, they often come off as being “entitled”.  A simple “Thank you” is nice, but a note, card, or small token gift is always a nice touch.  My wife requested that my nephew send a text when he arrived at his next destination safely.  I’m still waiting on that text.

I say that people like that, don’t get invited back. (yes, even if they ARE relatives)
So, you might win the battle by saving a few cents today, but lose the important war of relationships.

I’m actually most concerned that young people might be learning thrift without an understanding of charity, equity and reciprocation.

Money management and thrift are good, but not at the expense of others, and not at the real cost of damaging relationships.