They Can’t Even: A Generation Avoids Facing Its Finances
Kanebridge News
    HOUSE MEDIAN ASKING PRICES AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney $1,599,192 (-0.51%)       Melbourne $986,501 (-0.24%)       Brisbane $938,846 (+0.04%)       Adelaide $864,470 (+0.79%)       Perth $822,991 (-0.13%)       Hobart $755,620 (-0.26%)       Darwin $665,693 (-0.13%)       Canberra $994,740 (+0.67%)       National $1,027,820 (-0.13%)                UNIT MEDIAN ASKING PRICES AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney $746,448 (+0.19%)       Melbourne $495,247 (+0.53%)       Brisbane $534,081 (+1.16%)       Adelaide $409,697 (-2.19%)       Perth $437,258 (+0.97%)       Hobart $531,961 (+0.68%)       Darwin $367,399 (0%)       Canberra $499,766 (0%)       National $525,746 (+0.31%)                HOUSES FOR SALE AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney 10,586 (+169)       Melbourne 15,093 (+456)       Brisbane 7,795 (+246)       Adelaide 2,488 (+77)       Perth 6,274 (+65)       Hobart 1,315 (+13)       Darwin 255 (+4)       Canberra 1,037 (+17)       National 44,843 (+1,047)                UNITS FOR SALE AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney 8,675 (+47)       Melbourne 7,961 (+171)       Brisbane 1,636 (+24)       Adelaide 462 (+20)       Perth 1,749 (+2)       Hobart 206 (+4)       Darwin 384 (+2)       Canberra 914 (+19)       National 21,987 (+289)                HOUSE MEDIAN ASKING RENTS AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney $770 (-$10)       Melbourne $590 (-$5)       Brisbane $620 ($0)       Adelaide $595 (-$5)       Perth $650 ($0)       Hobart $550 ($0)       Darwin $700 ($0)       Canberra $700 ($0)       National $654 (-$3)                UNIT MEDIAN ASKING RENTS AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney $730 (+$10)       Melbourne $580 ($0)       Brisbane $620 ($0)       Adelaide $470 ($0)       Perth $600 ($0)       Hobart $460 (-$10)       Darwin $550 ($0)       Canberra $560 (-$5)       National $583 (+$1)                HOUSES FOR RENT AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney 5,253 (-65)       Melbourne 5,429 (+1)       Brisbane 3,933 (-4)       Adelaide 1,178 (+17)       Perth 1,685 ($0)       Hobart 393 (+25)       Darwin 144 (+6)       Canberra 575 (-22)       National 18,590 (-42)                UNITS FOR RENT AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney 6,894 (-176)       Melbourne 4,572 (-79)       Brisbane 1,991 (+1)       Adelaide 377 (+6)       Perth 590 (+3)       Hobart 152 (+6)       Darwin 266 (+10)       Canberra 525 (+8)       National 15,367 (-221)                HOUSE ANNUAL GROSS YIELDS AND TREND         Sydney 2.50% (↓)       Melbourne 3.11% (↓)       Brisbane 3.43% (↓)       Adelaide 3.58% (↓)     Perth 4.11% (↑)      Hobart 3.78% (↑)      Darwin 5.47% (↑)        Canberra 3.66% (↓)       National 3.31% (↓)            UNIT ANNUAL GROSS YIELDS AND TREND       Sydney 5.09% (↑)        Melbourne 6.09% (↓)       Brisbane 6.04% (↓)     Adelaide 5.97% (↑)        Perth 7.14% (↓)       Hobart 4.50% (↓)       Darwin 7.78% (↓)       Canberra 5.83% (↓)       National 5.76% (↓)            HOUSE RENTAL VACANCY RATES AND TREND       Sydney 0.7% (↑)      Melbourne 0.8% (↑)      Brisbane 0.4% (↑)      Adelaide 0.4% (↑)      Perth 1.2% (↑)      Hobart 0.6% (↑)      Darwin 1.1% (↑)      Canberra 0.7% (↑)      National 0.7% (↑)             UNIT RENTAL VACANCY RATES AND TREND       Sydney 0.9% (↑)      Melbourne 1.4% (↑)      Brisbane 0.7% (↑)      Adelaide 0.3% (↑)      Perth 0.4% (↑)      Hobart 1.5% (↑)      Darwin 0.8% (↑)      Canberra 1.3% (↑)        National 0.9% (↓)            AVERAGE DAYS TO SELL HOUSES AND TREND         Sydney 28.7 (↓)       Melbourne 30.7 (↓)       Brisbane 31.0 (↓)       Adelaide 25.4 (↓)       Perth 34.0 (↓)       Hobart 34.8 (↓)       Darwin 35.1 (↓)       Canberra 28.5 (↓)       National 31.0 (↓)            AVERAGE DAYS TO SELL UNITS AND TREND         Sydney 25.8 (↓)       Melbourne 30.2 (↓)       Brisbane 27.6 (↓)       Adelaide 21.8 (↓)       Perth 37.8 (↓)       Hobart 25.2 (↓)       Darwin 24.8 (↓)       Canberra 41.1 (↓)       National 29.3 (↓)           
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They Can’t Even: A Generation Avoids Facing Its Finances

Pandemic whiplash and inflation make managing a budget a challenge for young people

By OYIN ADEDOYIN
Tue, Apr 18, 2023 8:12amGrey Clock 3 min

Many young adults overwhelmed by financial stress cope by ignoring the problem.

Some tune out bank and credit-card balances, lose track of their spending and rack up debt. Average credit-card debt rose 29% to $5,800 in March from a year earlier for millennials and increased 40% to $2,800 for Gen Z, Credit Karma said. Younger people were also more likely to have paid late fees or taken advances from their credit cards, a survey from NerdWallet found.

Psychologists call these behaviours financial avoidance and say it is a typical habit among younger people in any era.

But the pandemic’s economic whiplash followed by high inflation is making such avoidance more common, say economists and financial advisers. The consequences of ignoring bank and credit-card accounts include overspending, damaged credit and deep debt. Millennials in their 30s had the steepest increase in debt of any age group since the pandemic. Avoidance can complicate later milestones, such as buying a home or retiring.

Spending tends to be more satisfying than budgeting or tracking your expenses, “even if cognitively you know it’s not really the healthiest coping choice to engage in,” said Dr. Vaile Wright, a senior director at the American Psychological Association, who studies stress and anxiety.

Avoidance is a common coping mechanism for all forms of anxiety. Someone with social anxiety avoids parties. Someone with a fear of heights may avoid getting on a plane. The APA’s Stress in America 2022 survey found that 83% of adults reported inflation as a source of stress.

James Gay, 22, said he is reckoning with the effects of his financial avoidance since the pandemic.

In 2020, Mr. Gay moved from Mayo, Fla., to Tallahassee to attend Florida State University, sharing a three-bedroom apartment with two friends. With everything closed and his classes completely online, he said he ordered from DoorDash instead of cooking and shopped online to counter his uncertainty and boredom.

“That was my outlet to really enjoy my college experience,” he said.

He developed a particular affinity for Crocs, and now owns about 15 pairs.

“My budgeting plan was very loose,” said Mr. Gay, who was also responsible for his own health insurance, phone bill, utilities and car maintenance. “Sometimes I’d forget about the bills.”

He dipped into his savings to cover rent and utilities. Mr. Gay eventually received a call from his father, who had checked his credit-card account and saw he had used 90% of his $500 limit. After that he changed his ways.

Avoidance seems greatest among Gen Zs and millennials, a survey last month by Credit Karma suggests: 28% in each of those generations said they often or always feel a sense of financial dissociation. That is compared with 4% of baby boomers or older Americans.

“Our culture is really big on overconsumption. We’re constantly spending on things just to self-soothe,” said Alexis Howard, a 28-year-old financial adviser at Mariner Wealth Advisors in Emeryville, Calif.

Ms. Howard noticed this in her own spending behaviour. She ordered clothes and furniture on Amazon during the pandemic, small purchases that would snowball into bigger expenses than she realized. At one point she was spending about $500 a month on online shopping and takeout.

This year, she embarked on a challenge to keep her discretionary spending under $50 monthly. As a financial adviser, she said she knows how easy it can be to lose sight of bigger goals.

“People are really just prioritising happiness, and a lot of folks see happiness in traveling, eating out but simultaneously value larger long term goals like owning a home and retiring with wealth,” Ms. Howard said.

Young adults with lower-wage jobs may avoid budgeting and checking their bills because it makes them feel helpless, said Abigail Sussman, a professor of marketing at the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business.

“If you feel like you’re really behind, then budgeting also is a reminder of how behind you are,” Prof. Sussman said. “If you set goals that are too high, it can be demotivating.”

It can also help to review what you spent in the past month with a financial buddy, said Jeff Kreisler, head of behavioural science at J.P. Morgan Private Bank. This should be someone who isn’t a romantic partner or family member but whom you trust enough to talk through certain purchases.

“It’s forcing yourself to examine your own decisions,” Mr. Kreisler said.

He recommends setting financial goals with friends. For example, if you are planning on going on vacation with someone, you can both agree to set aside $50 each week for the trip for the next four months, he said. That way, you are both holding each other accountable.



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Why Prices of the World’s Most Expensive Handbags Keep Rising

Designers are charging more for their most recognisable bags to maintain the appearance of exclusivity as the industry balloons

By CAROL RYAN
Tue, Mar 5, 2024 3 min

The price of a basic Hermès Birkin handbag has jumped $1,000. This first-world problem for fashionistas is a sign that luxury brands are playing harder to get with their most sought-after products.

Hermès recently raised the cost of a basic Birkin 25-centimeter handbag in its U.S. stores by 10% to $11,400 before sales tax, according to data from luxury handbag forum PurseBop. Rarer Birkins made with exotic skins such as crocodile have jumped more than 20%. The Paris brand says it only increases prices to offset higher manufacturing costs, but this year’s increase is its largest in at least a decade.

The brand may feel under pressure to defend its reputation as the maker of the world’s most expensive handbags. The “Birkin premium”—the price difference between the Hermès bag and its closest competitor , the Chanel Classic Flap in medium—shrank from 70% in 2019 to 2% last year, according to PurseBop founder Monika Arora. Privately owned Chanel has jacked up the price of its most popular handbag by 75% since before the pandemic.

Eye-watering price increases on luxury brands’ benchmark products are a wider trend. Prada ’s Galleria bag will set shoppers back a cool $4,600—85% more than in 2019, according to the Wayback Machine internet archive. Christian Dior ’s Lady Dior bag and the Louis Vuitton Neverfull are both 45% more expensive, PurseBop data show.

With the U.S. consumer-price index up a fifth since 2019, luxury brands do need to offset higher wage and materials costs. But the inflation-beating increases are also a way to manage the challenge presented by their own success: how to maintain an aura of exclusivity at the same time as strong sales.

Luxury brands have grown enormously in recent years, helped by the Covid-19 lockdowns, when consumers had fewer outlets for spending. LVMH ’s fashion and leather goods division alone has almost doubled in size since 2019, with €42.2 billion in sales last year, equivalent to $45.8 billion at current exchange rates. Gucci, Chanel and Hermès all make more than $10 billion in sales a year. One way to avoid overexposure is to sell fewer items at much higher prices.

Many aspirational shoppers can no longer afford the handbags, but luxury brands can’t risk alienating them altogether. This may explain why labels such as Hermès and Prada have launched makeup lines and Gucci’s owner Kering is pushing deeper into eyewear. These cheaper categories can be a kind of consolation prize. They can also be sold in the tens of millions without saturating the market.

“Cosmetics are invisible—unless you catch someone applying lipstick and see the logo, you can’t tell the brand,” says Luca Solca, luxury analyst at Bernstein.

Most of the luxury industry’s growth in 2024 will come from price increases. Sales are expected to rise by 7% this year, according to Bernstein estimates, even as brands only sell 1% to 2% more stuff.

Limiting volume growth this way only works if a brand is so popular that shoppers won’t balk at climbing prices and defect to another label. Some companies may have pushed prices beyond what consumers think they are worth. Sales of Prada’s handbags rose a meagre 1% in its last quarter and the group’s cheaper sister label Miu Miu is growing faster.

Ramping up prices can invite unflattering comparisons. At more than $2,000, Burberry ’s small Lola bag is around 40% more expensive today than it was a few years ago. Luxury shoppers may decide that tried and tested styles such as Louis Vuitton’s Neverfull bag, which is now a little cheaper than the Burberry bag, are a better buy—especially as Louis Vuitton bags hold their value better in the resale market.

Aggressive price increases can also drive shoppers to secondhand websites. If a barely used Prada Galleria bag in excellent condition can be picked up for $1,500 on luxury resale website The Real Real, it is less appealing to pay three times that amount for the bag brand new.

The strategy won’t help everyone, but for the best luxury brands, stretching the price spectrum can keep the risks of growth in check.

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