Millennials: Ditch the facade, find true wealth, experts reveal solutions.

January 25, 2024
1 min read


  • A recent survey from Wells Fargo found that affluent millennials are more likely to exaggerate their finances to appear financially successful.
  • Despite inflation and a high cost of living, affluent millennials still feel pressured to spend and maintain a wealthy image.
  • Experts suggest reframing thinking and prioritizing financial stability over appearances.

High inflation has prompted even well-to-do Americans to rethink their spending habits. But one group — affluent millennials — are more likely to lie or exaggerate their finances to appear financially successful, according to a recent survey from Wells Fargo. That goes for 34% of affluent millennials versus just 20% of Gen X or 4% of baby boomers. More than half of affluent Americans have cut back on luxury purchases post pandemic. Moreover, most say they wait until items are marked down before they buy them.

Yet affluent millennials — with $250,000 to more than $1 million in investable assets — are going to great lengths to appear wealthy. Wells Fargo found 29% of affluent millennials admit they sometimes buy items they cannot afford to impress others. Meanwhile, 41% of affluent millennials admit to funding their lifestyles with credit cards or loans, versus just 28% of Gen Xers and 6% of baby boomers.

Despite the displays of rich lifestyles that appear on social media, two-thirds of individuals surveyed are reluctant to talk about money, according to experts. Women in particularly are more hesitant to discuss financial topics, except for earnings. Meanwhile, men are most reluctant to talk about their earnings, though they are willing to address most other financial topics, including investments, balance sheets, and debt. Silence around money can encourage illusions about how much money other people really have.

To build true wealth, experts suggest reframing thinking and prioritizing financial stability over appearances. It is important to assess cash flow, emergency savings, and retirement savings before considering discretionary purchases. Only after ensuring financial stability is it appropriate to consider splurging. The key to growing net worth is not spending money unnecessarily. Wealthy individuals are often frugal and prioritize saving over conspicuous consumption.

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