Millennials most obsessed with 'appearing rich' compared to other generations

Study finds that 54% of millennials surveyed claim that they are "greatly affected by the cost of living crises"

By Web Desk
February 16, 2024
A representational image of "affluent millennials". — Garmany/File

Fake it till you make it — a bane or a boon?

Millennials face the most financial challenges, unlike other generations; from high housing costs to impending student loans, their hands are full, yet their generation is still the most money-obsessed ever,the New York Post reported.


According to a new study by Wells Fargo, 54% of the millennials surveyed claimed that they "have been greatly affected by cost of living crises," yet 59% of them said that they feel it is very important to "appear rich".

Comparatively, just 35% of Generation X, 14% of baby boomers, and 7% of the silent generation agree that showing off their riches is a good idea.

This "money dysmorphia", as dubbed by Intuit Credit Karma, can cause millennials to become so consumed with showing off their wealth that they end up taking on even more debt, according to Emily Irwin, managing director of consulting and planning at Wells Fargo.

"There’s a growing trend to present themselves with an image that isn’t reflective of their actual financial situation," says Irwin.

"For some, it could even be a 'fake it until you make it' mentality."

What’s even more questionable is that the study surveyed people from "affluent millennials" who earned a minimum of $250,000 a year, yet they are the ones who feel the need to show off the most, proving "lower-income earners aren’t the only ones grappling with this external image".

Wells Fargo found that of the high earners in this age group, nearly one-third buy things they cannot afford to impress others or feel like they "fit in" while 34% have been guilty of exaggerating their income, savings, or spending to maintain an appearance of financial success.