Economy

This Millionaire Can Bug off With His Avocado Toast Advice

"When I was trying to buy my first home, I wasn't buying smashed avocado for $19 and four coffees at $4 each."

Tim Gurner

That's the advice 35-year-old real estate developer Tim Gurner gave young people on Australia's 60 Minutes program. Gurner is worth almost half a billion dollars and believes the only reason millennials aren't able to buy homes is because they are wasting their money.

"So you reckon that's real," the host asked Gurner after this avocado toast comment, "that young people actually end up just spending their money and whinge about the fact they can't afford to get into the property market?"

avocado toast

"Oh, there's no question it's real," Gurner replied. He added that those who can afford homes are able to do so because they "work very hard," while much of the millennial generation "is watching the Kardashians and thinking that's normal — thinking owning a Bentley is normal."

As Australia's 9 News pointed out, Gurner got his start in property investing "with the help of $34,000 borrowed from his grandfather."

Gurner's toast advice was not received on Twitter.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gurner's comments not only seem dismissive, but they ignore the real issue.

The reason millennials aren't buying houses isn't because they're spending too much money on avocados and coffee, nor are they not working hard enough. "Millennials are actually more likely to see themselves — proudly — as 'work martyrs' than older workers, and less likely to use all their vacation time," Harvard Business Review reported in August 2016, citing survey data.

Meanwhile, "Homeownership rates among Americans under age 35 are barely more than half the national number, at just 34.1 percent," The Washington Post reported last year. "This too is a record low and about a fifth below its peak from the go-go years of the mid-2000s."

The Wall Street Journal explained in June 2014 why millennials cannot afford homes like their parents:

"The financial crisis exacted a heavy toll on the generation of Americans now entering their 30s. Facing difficult job prospects, little-to-no income growth and a historically unprecedented level of student loans, their finances are in a more precarious state than those of prior generations. That has cut into their ability to buy a first home, and is a major reason the housing recovery continues to disappoint."

None of this has anything to do with spending money on avocados or coffee.

 

 

Gurner's advice completely misses the mark. Sure, it's never a bad idea to be frugal, but even if a 30-year-old saved every penny they got, they'd still be making far less than baby-boomers did.

"Americans ages 25 to 34 make 20 percent less money than baby boomers did at the same age," The Daily News reported in January. In 2013, millennials made $40,581; in 1989, they would have made $50,910. It's hard to take Gurner's advice seriously in the face of such a massive economic shift.