Avocados are Responsible for Housing Unaffordability

I hope the title of this article caught your attention.  One similar was used in the National Post, on May 16, 2017, and is contributing to a tirade of discussion in regards to millennials and their ability to achieve homeownership.


The article was in response to a wealthy Australian businessman who, when interviewed on 60 Minutes, said that he didn't waste his money on $4 coffees and $19 avocado toast when he was trying to buy his first home.


Apparently avocado toast is actually a thing, AND it's really expensive.


His point, in case you missed it, was - those who waste money will delay or never 'get-into-the-housing market'.


What is your gut reaction to his comments?


Do you agree with him?


Do you agree with the fact that millennials waste money and that’s the reason they'll never acquire wealth or get into the housing market?


Whether you agree, or not, his comments are based on some MAJOR assumptions.  One, is that millennials WANT to get into the housing market. 


Maybe they don't. 


I believe many don't and they likely have well-founded reasons for their decisions.  There are very valid arguments for skipping a house purchase (renting instead) and building wealth in other ways.  Home ownership can be VERY costly.


In addition, he seems to assume that home ownership (and/or wealth) for that matter, results in happiness.


In my opinion, neither are necessarily true.


It is hard to listen to the condemnation of others when one is sitting comfortably at the top.  I'm sure there are countless stories of 'avocado' types who ate the toast and still managed to rise up. 


I would love to know if Mark Zuckerberg (founder of Facebook), Elon Musk (founder of Tesla), or Bill Gates (founder of Microsoft) ever worried about cutting out coffees and other small joys.  I'll bet that their real intention was on DOING, CREATING, and DREAMING - a focus on thinking big, over one of limitation and restriction. 


Take a moment to picture other successful people (celebrity or otherwise) - and consider how they live?  Are they living life by limiting themselves, or living life by pushing limits and forging ahead?


What struck me most about this article was the broad unfounded comments we make about the people we know nothing about. 


How, at a quick glance, could this businessman surmise that someone he sits beside or passes in a window, is irresponsible with money since he saw them eating avocado toast?


This made me realize how early in life we start forming concrete assumptions about the people around us.  


Recall I told you I was going to teach a Grade 7 Class Financial Literacy?


If not, here's a quick re-cap:


I spent the past three weeks teaching Grade 7 students financial literacy through Junior Achievement Canada.  The concept of money was very NEW to most of the class.  As I worked with a prescribed curriculum I didn't have too much variation in what I presented, but one thing I would've have liked to do with the students is to use a PowerPoint slide to depict a youngerish man sitting in a yellow Lamborghini.


I would love to ask the students if the man in the picture is wealthy?  And by this, I do mean financially.


I'll bet they would've said, "yes".  Yes, that they think he's wealthy.


And then I'd ask, "How do you know?"


And they'd say, "Because he's driving that fancy car."


And then I'd ask, "Are you sure it's his car?"


And then I'd go on to ask, "Are you sure HE paid for it?"


And, "Is there a chance it could it be someone else's car?"


And, "Does he own own anything else, like a house, or only that car?"


And, "Could he have borrowed the car?"


And finally, "Maybe he took a loan to buy the car, so in essence, the bank or car dealership really own the car."


In the same way children need a lesson in how stereotyping based on a limited snapshot is damaging - it seems we as adults occasionally need the same reminder. 


So, here goes my virtual rant to the Australian Businessman pictured on 60 Minutes:


I'd like to say that the economic times of today are not the same as they were when you were building wealth.  I'm sure there were things you 'wasted' money on, although they might not have been avocado toast.  Just because those looking to save don't do it 'your way' doesn’t make their way wrong and your way right.  And…. In one quick glance, you can't sum up the character and potential of an entire generation.  Mr. Businessman, perhaps millennials will have their avocado toast and eat it too!!!


Take today to know that the people milling all around us are completely mysterious and unknown.  Their behaviour and exterior appearance, while providing clues, can't let you in to their psyche.


Let's take the discussion fuelled by this businessman's comments as a reminder to be kinder to one another and to know that no matter how insightful we think we are, we really don't know each other unless we take the time to form meaningful relationships.


Have you ever made assumptions about someone only to be proven entirely wrong?  If so, what happened?