Editor’s note: This story is part of CNN Business’ Nightcap newsletter. To receive it in your inbox, sign up for free, here.
Here at Nightcap HQ, we have a special alarm going off every time a study about Baby Boomers putting Millennials to shame is published. (I’m kidding of course, but we do having the internet and a nose for unfair generational disparities).
Here’s the thing: a UK study this week says that half of the British public believe young people can’t afford to buy a house because they spend too much on coffee, Netflix and travel.
It’s the avocado toast debacle all over again. In case anyone forgot: In 2017, an Australian millionaire said Millennials couldn’t afford to buy houses because they were spending “$40 a day on mashed avocados and coffee and not working.”
Of course, generational misconceptions are nothing new. The idea that young people don’t work as hard dates back to ancient Greece, according to researchers at the Institute of Politics and the Institute of Gerontology at King’s College London.
“Today’s young people love luxury; they have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for elders and love gossip instead of activity.” That sentiment, often attributed to Socrates, is more than a thousand years old, but 51% of the British public agree with it, the researchers found.
Naturally, the Internet had some opinions about the researchers’ findings.
- “It’s true. Millennials are only $19.99/month away from being able to take the mortgage on a $1 million house Boomers bought to chew gum and a couple packs of matches,” he tweeted. @StephenPunwasi.
- “You would have to cancel Netflix for 2,300 years to save enough to pay the average price of a US home,” he tweeted. @femmissgeek
Even the researchers themselves expressed frustration with the narrative.
“The suggestion that the daunting challenges young people face in buying their own home can be solved by skipping fancy cafes and Netflix misses the point, but half the public still believes it,” said Bobby Duffy, director of the Policy Institute at King’s . London College.
Of course, Millennials’ inability to afford a house has nothing to do with our Netflix subscriptions (which, ironically, some of us still steal from our Boomer parents, thank you very much) or our daily $7 coffee (I’ll die. renting before I give up my cold beer, idiots).
Let me – *cracks knuckles* — Briefly discuss some of the real barriers to home ownership among people born between 1981 and 1996.
- We can’t afford it. The median home value in 1980 was $47,200, or $167,000 in today’s dollars. The median price of a single-family home in the first quarter of 2022 was more than two and a half times more, at a whopping $428,700.
- We graduated into financial and economic hell. Class of 2007, anyone?
- Crippling student debt. The college degree that all of our mentors promised would be the key to success has become a drag on millions of graduates who can’t get their heads above water.
- Stricter credit standards. In the aftermath of the 2008 recession, banks reined in their credit underwriting standards and made 20% down payments the norm. For a median home value today, that’s an $86,000 down payment. LOLLLLLLLL.
Cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase is laying off 18% of its employees, around 1,000 positions, as the company’s market value has plummeted in the recent cryptocurrency crash.
“It looks like we are entering a recession after an economic boom of more than 10 years,” CEO Brian Armstrong wrote on Tuesday. “A recession could lead to another crypto winter and could last for an extended period.”
Bitcoin reached an all-time high of $69,000 in November 2021. Since then, the world’s most valuable cryptocurrency has lost two-thirds of its value, falling below $23,000 on Tuesday. It has lost about 25% of its value since Friday.
Bears. bulls Two large, terrifying mammals that serve as Wall Street shorthand for the general mood of the stock market. Bear = almost everyone is selling. Bull = almost everyone is buying.
This week, US stocks fell into a “bear” market, falling more than 20% from their most recent peak in early January. That loss marked the end of the “bull” market that began in the spring of 2020.
But how did these muscular beasts acquire their status as default metaphors for stock market sentiment?
There are a couple of etymological theories behind the terms. One dates back to the 18th century and involves poets, proverbs, and a bunch of English knaves scamming investors out of their money. Another story (almost certainly fictional) concerns the way the two animals attack.
Let’s start with the bear.
- The term, according to Merriam-Webster, derives from “bearskin,” which was used in the 18th century as a metaphor for the speculative buying of stocks known today as short selling (also known as betting that a stock will go down). .
- It comes from a proverb that warns against “selling the skin of a bear before you have caught the bear.”
- Bearskin was shortened to bear, and here we are.
- The term was popularized after the 1720 South Seas Bubble (and again later, after the 1929 crash that led to the Great Depression). The scandal is complex, but the gist is that a group of British fraudsters jacked up the price of a company that never turned a profit, causing a financial collapse.
Where the bull?
We would have to ask the (long-dead) poet Alexander Pope why he selected the bull as the bear’s counterpart in this line alluding to his involvement in the South Sea stock scandal:
Come fill the glass of the South Sea;
The gods will take care of our race:
Pleased Europe accepts the Bull,
And Jupiter joyfully drives the Bear away.
It’s quite possible that we got the term “bull” because Pope wanted something good-sounding to rhyme with “full.”
There’s not a lot of evidence to back this up, but it’s worked its way into Wall Street lore over the years, and it may be a helpful image to remind yourself of what the two terms mean.
The idea is that a bear attacks by sliding its paws down on its prey (downstroke = stocks go down). A bull, on the other hand, pushes its horns up to gore the poor souls that cross its path (push up = stocks go up).
There is some scary history linking bulls and bears in this way. Between the 1200s and 1600s in England, people attended bull and bear baiting contests and bet on the results.
In that context, it’s not hard to see why modern commerce is sometimes referred to as a blood sport.
Enjoying the nightcap? Register and you’ll get all of this, plus other fun stuff we liked on the internet, delivered to your inbox every night. (Okay, most nights, we believe in a four-day week around here.)