Is the Economy Really Booming? Gen Z Isn’t So Sure. – CNN One Thing – Podcast on CNN Audio


You already know that Super Bowl tickets aren’t cheap, but this year’s game in Las Vegas, let’s call it Taylor’s version, is the priciest we’ve ever seen. The average price for one ticket one hit an average of $9,850 earlier this week on the website Tick Peak. Think about that. Nearly ten grand for one ticket to a football game. Now, obviously this is an extreme example, but I do think it speaks to something we know all too well. How much something costs can really influence who has access to it. A Super Bowl crowd is very different than a regular season game. Certain grocery stores can feel out of reach to families living paycheck to paycheck. So as overall economic data in this country continues to improve, why are some people still feeling priced out? My guest this week is CNN business and politics correspondent Vanessa Yurkevich. we’re going to talk about what a recent TikTok trend can tell us about what some say is an affordability crisis in America. From CNN, this is One Thing I’m David Rind.

Vanessa Yurkevich

00:01:22

Hello.

So I want to ask you to do something that may expose my deep un coolness to our listeners. But I’m willing to make this sacrifice for the sake of journalism. And what I would like you to do is to explain a TikTok trend to me. Are you willing to do this?

Vanessa Yurkevich

00:01:37

I’m willing to try.

Okay. So what is happening here?

Vanessa Yurkevich

00:01:40

Okay. Do you remember last year something that took off on TikTok called Quiet Luxury?

Vanessa Yurkevich

00:01:46

Okay.

So everyone’s talking about quiet luxury thanks to a little help from Succession.

Vanessa Yurkevich

00:01:50

However, so quiet luxury was essentially like, if you’re very wealthy, you don’t be very showy on social media. You kind of pull back. Fashion brands actually sort of embrace this, and they made really expensive collections that looked very neutral and subdued and plain right?

Some of you fashionistas may not know these brands because their marketing campaigns aren’t extravagant.

Vanessa Yurkevich

00:02:12

You don’t. So that took off last year.

Are you team quiet luxury or loud budgeting?

Vanessa Yurkevich

00:02:18

This year, what’s taking off is the opposite of that. Something called loud budgeting.

Vanessa Yurkevich

00:02:25

Loud budgeting is essentially saying on social media or to your friends, hey, guys. I’m sorry I can’t go to that dinner this weekend. I’m loud budgeting.

Loud budgeting doesn’t mean that you can’t afford the life that you want. You are choosing not to spend your money that way to help your future self be abundant.

Vanessa Yurkevich

00:02:43

And you don’t have to be specific about what you’re doing, but essentially what you’re saying to your friends is my money is going to be spent elsewhere. I’m not going to spend $100 on going to dinner with you. I’m going to spend it on something else. Maybe it’s student loans, maybe it’s traveling. Maybe it’s just putting money into your savings account. But loud budgeting is all you have to say, and you’re cool.

This strikes me as not an entirely new concept, but I guess the idea here is that you’re just being upfront about it so that there’s no mystery.

Vanessa Yurkevich

00:03:11

So this all started as a joke with this guy named Lukas Battle. He’s a Gen Zer. He’s a comedian and a writer.

Loud budgeting has the same feeling as sneaking candy into a movie theater. You feel like you got away with something. You feel like you’re on an adventure…

Vanessa Yurkevich

00:03:30

And did you mean that as a serious thing, like loud budgeting is in, or was it a joke?

It was definitely started as a joke. But then when I kind of saw the response it was getting, I kind of got behind my own idea more.

Vanessa Yurkevich

00:03:41

I was like, yeah. And I wanted to talk to him and ask him what he thought about it. Now, because so many people are embracing this joke.

I would love to say I’m a genius, brilliant economist, but, this is like a concept that’s been around, and I really do think the loud part in front of it is what people are kind of drawn to, because budgeting has been around. I think this time it’s like, tell people that you’re budgeting.

Vanessa Yurkevich

00:04:03

He told me that he was really surprised, but now he’s started to embrace it as a real thing, as a real practice, not just a joke, because for so long people felt ashamed about being on a budget. But now it’s something to be proud of and it’s being good with your money.

So kind of a fun story about going viral while maybe increasing financial literacy for Gen Z folks along the way. But it does kind of underscore something that we talk about a lot, that how people feel about the economy, their finances can be very different from what the actual data says. Right. So how are people feeling about their ability to buy stuff these days?

Vanessa Yurkevich

00:04:42

People are not feeling great, but they’re feeling better. There’s a lot of sort of feeling surveys that are out there. One is the consumer sentiment survey from the University of Michigan, which showed that consumer sentiment or feelings about the economy increased by 13% in January. That was a significant jump. They hadn’t seen something like that in a very long time. We also have our own polling here at CNN that says that 26% of Americans feel the economy is starting to recover from the problems that it’s faced over the last couple years. That may sound low, but that’s up from 20% last summer and 17% in December.

It was really rock bottom.

Vanessa Yurkevich

00:05:25

It was very much at rock bottom. So we’re creeping up in terms of people feeling better, but there’s still this looming sentiment that things don’t feel great.

Yeah. And what do we chalk that up to though? Because I hear about huge job numbers and positive inflation indicators. And I wonder if it’s simple as young people generally just make less money and so they can buy less stuff and then they feel bad about that. Is that just to basic a take to have?

Vanessa Yurkevich

00:05:51

Not really there’s some truth there. Right. But there are things that everyone is facing, like high mortgage rates. Every generation is facing that high rents, every generation is facing that. And also just prices at the grocery store is still kind of expensive. And I think what’s interesting about millennials and Gen Zers is that we have never lived through a moment of high inflation. Baby boomers and Gen X in the 70s and 80s experienced. High inflation they experienced…

Vanessa Yurkevich

00:06:23

‘How high? Baby boomers and Gen-X in the late 70s and 80s saw inflation top 12.3% and 14%, and then they saw mortgage rates at 10% and then nearly 19%.

Vanessa Yurkevich

00:06:41

So it feels just more painful when you’re experiencing something for the first time. But for millennials and Gen Z in particular, it’s it’s really painful. And I think that the lesson learned going forward will be like, this is going to probably happen again at some point, and maybe they’ll be a little more mentally prepared.

When we hear people say, like, I remember before the pandemic when eggs were X amount at the grocery store, 2019. Are we ever getting back to those prices or. No? Like what? What should people think about that?

Vanessa Yurkevich

00:07:21

‘No. And I think that is something that a lot of Americans struggle with. They see prices coming down, but they don’t see prices going back to what they were pre-pandemic. That would be something called deflation. And that is something we do not want to see.

Vanessa Yurkevich

00:07:38

That is bad. That is what the Federal Reserve is trying to avoid. That would mean massive layoffs, high unemployment, potentially a recession. That’s something that we don’t want. Well, we do want to see is something called disinflation, which is what we’re seeing now where prices are cooling. Because remember, inflation normally increases 2% every single year. That’s the Fed’s target rate. So prices are always going to go up. They’re never going to go backwards. We just don’t want them to go up as much as they have been is.

The problem of inflation. And the affordability issue is that impacting people’s ability to put away money for a down payment or, you know, pay loans, like what kind of effect is having on people’s personal finances.

Vanessa Yurkevich

00:08:23

‘During the pandemic? People were struggling, no doubt, but there were certain people who were flush with cash because of all the stimulus money that’s been spent. Then people started dipping into savings that’s been drained down to where they feel comfortable. So now people are putting stuff on credit cards, consumers are still spending. Consumers are still driving the U.S. economy. That’s why GDP has been so good. But they’re spending but they’re putting money on credit cards. We saw household debt rise to $17.5 trillion in the fourth quarter. And that is because most Americans carry debt, mortgages, auto loans, credit cards. The concerning part about that, what the New York Fed has identified is the concerning part about that is delinquencies people who have not been able to pay on time. Those numbers have increased, particularly with millennials and baby boomers. And they point out with millennials the reason why they’re having such a hard time paying on time more than they did pre-pandemic is because student loans kicked in again, and that’s another expense. That’s another amount of money that’s going out the window. And for them, it’s making it harder and harder to keep…



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