Auckland City Harbour News - - YOUR PAPER, YOUR PLACE -

Be aware of your bi­ases Chal­lenge your as­sump­tions Guide, don’t blame, the young

known as ‘‘self-serv­ing bias’’, and is the hu­man ten­dency to at­tribute our suc­cesses to our per­sonal char­ac­ter­is­tics.

We own a lovely $1mil­lion house to­day not be­cause houses were cheap when we were in our late 20s, or early 30s, but be­cause of our hard work and thrift.

That self-serv­ing bias is then bol­stered with ‘‘con­fir­ma­tion bias’’, which is the hu­man ten­dency to recog­nise ev­i­dence that sup­ports our be­liefs, and ig­nore ev­i­dence that con­tra­dicts them. If you are re­spon­si­ble for your own suc­cess, by def­i­ni­tion oth­ers (the Mil­len­ni­als) must be the au­thors of their own down­fall.

Some­thing else may be hap­pen­ing here. Mil­len­ni­als do look a bit dif­fer­ent to my gen­er­a­tion.

They are bet­ter dressed, and have their ears, or eyes, per­pet­u­ally glued to smart phones. Of­ten they have a latte clutched in their fist.

They must be spend­ing more to achieve such life­styles!

They prob­a­bly are, though only a lit­tle more, Vink’s work in­di­cates. In real terms, the price of clothes has been falling for a decade. So has com­mu­ni­ca­tion. Smart phones are cheap as chips.

The young have swapped al­co­hol of cof­fee. Binge drink­ing among the young has been falling.

I’ll never drop my an­noy­ance at see­ing the young and house­less drink­ing a $3.50-$5 latte a day, but Vink’s work in­di­cates cof­feedrink­ing is not a sign of the youth of to­day be­ing more feck­less than the youth of the past.

And Mil­len­ni­als also earn more than baby boomers did at their age, and are sav­ing more of it, prob­a­bly be­cause they know they have to.

The prices of Mil­len­nial lifestyle ne­ces­si­ties may have fallen, but the de­posit needed to se­cure a house hasn’t.

Ten years ago a $38,000 de­posit would have got you into the me­dian Auck­land house, with a home loan of $310,000. To­day, it would be a de­posit of $160,000, and loan of $640,000.

Two more things make hard for older gen­er­a­tions to in­ter­pret the be­hav­iour of the young. First, peo­ple tend to clus­ter with like­minded peo­ple who en­dorse, rather than chal­lenge, their views.

Sec­ond, we haven’t had the data to open our eyes. Vink has pro­vided it.


Mil­len­ni­als are ac­tu­ally bet­ter savers than baby boomers were at their age.

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