Thursday, July 11, 2019

How Millennials Lost the Value of a Dollar

I Don't Get Patreon

I don't get Patreon.

Oh, I understand how it works.  I have an account.  I even make some decent beer money off of it monthly.  But I do not philosophically understand how it's even a success.  The reason why is a simple economic principle my brain just can't ignore - you're paying for nothing.  You get nothing in return.  It is true charity and cannot possibly benefit you except for perhaps the warm fuzzies that come from helping out somebody you endorse.

Even accounting for the irrational "warm fuzzies" people get from wasting their money on problems that will never be solved charity, I additionally don't understand how Patreon is successful when there is an infinitely superior way to monetize you content while not costing your followership a single penny - Amazon's affiliate program.  Amazon's affiliate program is drastically superior to Patreon because it doesn't cost your followers anything, but you get paid a 6-7% commission on all their Amazon purchases.  I use the program myself, and in my podcasts I always recommend people use my Amazon Affiliate program before merely donating Patreon money, but some diehard fans insist on donating to Patreon (of which I am eternally grateful).

Still, despite Amazon being a superior way to monetize your content, I am factually, mathematically, and empirically in the wrong when it comes to Patreon, because everybody seems to love patreon.

Even as a disbeliever in patreon, I make a tidy little $123 a month through my Patreon account.  This is nothing compared to a much more popular podcaster, Dick Masterson, who makes $22,000 a month on his patreon account.  There is Park Seo-yeon who makes $9,000 per month merely eating food online. I recall a young woman who was a webcam model who made over $200,000 a month (but could not find the article).  And then there is the recent Belle Delphine who was made famous for selling her used bathwater online for $30 a bottle.  She has a patreon account, but does not list her monthly income (of which I'd conservatively estimate to be over $100,000).  Everybody loves Patreon and are willing to put up the money to provde.  Ergo, once again, I am wrong and society is right.

I Don't Get Used Bathwater

But let's talk about bathwater for a second.  Matter of fact let's talk about used women's panties.  Off color as these topics may sound, it is a fact that many women make thousands (likely millions) of dollars every year selling personal items to desperate men online.  I don't condemn these women for doing so (matter of fact, I cheer them on), but it does bring up a question I have for the men spending millions of dollars on these useless items - why in The Patron Saint's Name of Frick are you spending your money on this crap?  What do you possibly get out of it?  Even with Patreon I can see the ideological philosophy of wanting to support an artist, an author, a creator, or a simple intellectual renegade whose online activities will prevent him/her from ever working a real job again.

But used bathwater?
Used women's panties?
Ever paying for an ASMR video?

Aside from mental illness there is no rational explanation for parting with your money for these things.  Still, people do, and I am once again in the factual, economic wrong.

I Don't Get Superchats...Well "Bacon Maldito"

And then there's "superchats."  If you are unaware of what a "super chat" is, it is a way for listeners of YouTube livestreams to donate money to their favorite hosts.  I host my podcast on YouTube and while streaming live, listeners can donate money in the chat room which allows them to send me a question or a comment.  It is customary and courtesy that the host read the question or comment of the listener and answer it.  I've used superchats on my show to allow people to send me some quick questions where I give them quick advice instead of a longer, more costly consultation I would charge them at my consultancy, Asshole Consulting.  So from an economic standpoint this makes sense to me.  They are paying me for a a quick consultation.  They're getting something of value in return.

But then there's a regular listener of mine, Bacon Maldito.

Bacon runs his own fledgling podcast called "The God Damn Bacon" and very regularly drops into my show.  But what I don't get is why he (and a couple of others) donate money without asking a question, apparently just for shits and giggles.  Occasionally he might have a question, but usually he doesn't, and so most of his donations are just charity.  Charity I don't understand.  Still, like used bathwater, ASMR videos, patreon, and eating food online, people are spending their money the way they spend their money, and rational to me or not, superchats are right, I am in the wrong.

Signs of a Larger Disconnect

Be it Bacon's irrational superchats, Belle Delphine's used bathwater, some random women's used panties, or $50,000 monthly patreon donations, these are signs of what I believe to be a fundamental change in people's spending habits as well as a perception of the value of money.  This is not to accuse any of my fine listeners/followers who donate to my patreon or send me superchats of irrationally spending their money (trust me, you are spending it VERY WISELY), but to highlight that something has changed on a nationwide level where more and more people are willing to spend their money with no real expectations of something in return.  And while without a doubt the advent of the internet along with websites that allow for the ease of donating to charity (PayPal, Patreon, GoGundMe, etc.) have enabled this behavior, there is something much more sociological and economic that is getting people to so quickly and easily part with their money.

That sociological and economic phenomenon is that we have decoupled people from the value of a dollar.  i.e. - young people no longer know the value of money.

The Four Horsemen of the Decoupling of the Value of Money

There is no doubt that the Millennials and younger grew up with the internet and thus have no apprehension to spending money via it.  There is also no doubt "Say's Law" is at play which states "supply creates it's own demand."  In otherwords I'm sure that had the internet existed before there would have been demand for "used bath water" and "AMSR videos."  But these two items do not fully explain, in my opinion or to my satisfaction, why young people are so quick to part with their money.  Additionally, there is the fact it is predominantly younger people donating to "instagram models," patreon pages, and purchasing used bathwater.  And so I posit four sociological variables or trends that have severed the Millennials' (and younger) generations' ability to value a dollar.

1. Parental and Governmental Money

Whether you came from a rich suburbanite family or grew up in the ghetto there was always either enough parental money or government money to make sure you didn't have to work.  In the 1980's a "Go Fund Me" campaign was shoveling people's drive ways, raking people's yards, mowing people's yards, or a lemonade stand.  I remember my first job was actually shoveling shit for $3.10 an hour, while other of my Gen X colleagues baby sat or worked at McDonald's.  But today this is unnecessary as anybody under 35 never had to work a job as an adolescent or a teenager because either their parents or government just gave them the money.

This is important to note because it destroys what I like to consider "the rubber hitting the road" in terms of self-supportation.  If you just give your kids everything or never make them work for anything, they will grow up to become the age of 18 and expect everything to be given to them.  Furthermore, they will never truly know what it takes to support oneself since parents and the government are constantly providing shelter, food, clothing, health insurance, transportation, etc.  Not that a 16 year old should be paying for his own apartment, tuition, car, and cell phone plan, but if you can't teach your kid to work up the money over summer to pay for his XBox One, he sure as hell isn't going to have the work ethic to pay for rent when he's 18.

2.  College

Speaking of rent, let's talk about college.  College is merely an extension of children's parasitic adolescence, under the guise they're getting education.

Never mind the 13 years of education they had before.
Never mind they're studying the exact same crap they studied through most of high school.
And never mind most of them are majoring in subjects that will make them no more employable than whenst they graduated from high school.

Nope, "now" this time it's serious.  This time it counts.

Regardless, the truth about college is it is nothing more than a postponement of becoming an adult under the lie that you're getting educated because nobody would be hiring you anyway.  But what makes this possible is something that further disconnects young people from knowing the value of a dollar - college debt.

In borrowing the money to pay for everything, young people - once again - are shielded from the "rubber hitting the road" aspect of self-supportation.  They lollygag in worthless classes.  They party and drink, solving all the world's problems with the same, tiring socialist solutions.  And they actually think that' they're getting educated and prepared for the real world.  All that's really happening is they're avoiding work and postponing it into the future.  This has the effect of further cementing what they've grown to expect during childhood - never having to work.  And since they've never had to work, all those thousands of dollars they get from their parents, government, scholarships, or student loans, really start to lose all meaning.  The lights are on.  They're getting their three squares a day.  Books and tuition are covered. It starts to cement the idea that everything is the world truly is "free."  And thus, if everything is "free" money really has no meaning or value.

Student loans, however, also have a nefarious dark side that further severs young people's ability to value a dollar, both now and into the future.

I truly believe young (and old) people today are too stupid to know how debt works.  Like the difference between a million, a trillion, and a billion, most "college graduates" do not know that loans are other people's money that needs to be returned.  And I doubt more than 5% of student loan debt holders can even begin to explain how "compound interest" works.  This is in part because most college graduates truly aren't smart.  It's also in part because most college graduates are lazy and never bothered expending the effort to understand how compound interest works.  I would also say it's because by this time their life long laziness and sloth has solidified into their permanent psyche because they've never faced starvation, cold or hunger.  Regardless, since most people don't comprehend what a loan is, let alone the amount of time it would take for them to work up the money to pay it back, most young people again have no clue what the value of a dollar truly is.

"Compounding" this problem is that their interest is...well...compounding.  And this is where an element of hopelessness and desperation kicks in.

Once students leave college, it is the first time they are quasi-introduced to the real world.  They have to apply for jobs. They have to look for work.  And most will find they're qualified to do nothing more than work as a barista or a barhand.  It is also likely the first time they look at their first paycheck and have to ask their parents "what's this difference between gross and net pay."

Here, reality finally dawns on them.  Oh sure, they might go and try to find a job that "pays a fair wage" or "appreciates my masters in social work."  But rejection letter after rejection letter, and the occasional $30,000/yr job after $30,000/yr job, they actually look at their student loan debts and get the first inkling of just how much work it's going to take to pay them off.

To be honest, most people, like when leaving home, just throw up their hands and go "meh, I'm not going to pay this off.  I'm not going to have to support myself.  That's other people's problems.  Nobody is going to let me starve" which is likely true.  But since they borrowed tens of thousands, even hundreds of thousands of dollars, lived for free off of other people's money, and are now approaching the age of 25, and now in their mind have forgiven themselves of that debt, they once again are completely removed from the value of a dollar.

3.  The Return Home

Unable to support themselves (no matter how "strong and independent" they'll claim to be), they will return home.  Some will not PHYSICALLY return home (because it would be too embarrassing), but will still live off of their parents, even the government, in some sort of way.  Either direct handouts, cars being given to them, "help with rent," "help with insurance," government assistance, whatever the case, they are still parasitically dependent on their parents.

When these people "move back home" this is one again an extension of adolescence as well as a delaying of growing up and self-supportation.  And, mark my words, the day is rapidly approaching that millennials who live at home will in their 40's will be common.  By this time you will have lived HALF YOUR LIFE and ALL OF YOUR FORMATIVE years never having to support yourself.  NEVER visiting that point in life where the rubber hits the road.  And with your aging, decrepit parents bailing you out, or co-signing on your worthless "Masters in Public Health Administration" degree (once again making sure you go to college and not WORK), you could live damn well near 75% of your life without ever knowing what it takes to work up the money to support yourself, pay back your debts, and save enough for retirement.

4.  Futility in the Future

By this time, the "not so young" person has no hope nor ability to achieve some basic financial benchmarks in their lives.  Matter of fact, they are practically condemned to be parasites their entire lives.  Thusly, they have no reason to save or invest for their retirement, homeownership, let alone eliminating their debt.  A "YOLO" mentality takes over, and this partly explains why the largest type of debt millennials have is their CAR LOANS, not student loans.

When you take away the incentive to save or invest, you once again further sever people's ability to value a dollar.  This is not a sin solely of the Millennials as currently only 30% of baby boomers have enough to retire, but at least the MAJORITY of the loathed baby boomers will have enough to retire.  Millennials will be the first generation who will die with debt as a whole and the minority will achieve something as simple as homeownership.  In this case, with death approaching you, most millennials will simply avoid their debts by dying, which once again frees them of the responsibility of paying back the people they stole money from to afford them a cushy lifestyle (and let's not forget "amazing college experience.")

At this point, they never had to know the value of a dollar because their lives were largely parasitic. They never had to pay for what they consumed.  They never had to work up the money needed to support themselves.  And yet they still fashioned themselves the victims.  But regardless of their warped entitled mentality, is it any wonder ....

Girls can sell used bathwater for $30 a bottle?
Girls can make $1000 a day doing "ASMR" videos?
Go Fund Me campaigns get funded but the product never delivered?
And instagram models can sell freaking used panties on the internet?

Millennials have no clue what the value of a dollar is, so they have no problems throwing dollars at such pointless, worthless things in life.  There's never been a generation who is so easily separated from their money.

"Cappy Cappites, Learn the Value of a Dollar"

The moral of this story is one I am only going to convey to my audience.  And the reason why I'm only targeting my readers/listeners/followers is because they have the intellectual honesty and horsepower to listen and abide by it.  The rest of the normies, conformies, and inferiors won't listen to this lesson because they simply lack the courage and work ethic to face the reality of their dire financial situation.  They are the types of people who only want to listen to the democrat presidential candidates promise they'll forgive their student loans, allowing an entire generation to steal $1.5 trillion from the taxpayers, just like the banskters.  So to my readers understand this lesson well.

It is VITAL you learn the value of a dollar.  And the only way to learn the value of a dollar is to work up enough money to:

1.  Support yourself
2.  Amortize (payback) your debts
3.  Save up enough for retirement

You cannot do this with the "YOLO" life, new cars, new-used cars, $8 avacado and toast, and $75,000 MBA programs.  It requires budgeting, sacrifice, minimalism, and hard work.  And if you do the above, you will quickly find out what you can and CANNOT afford.  More importantly, however, is you will know what it takes for an individual, and thus society, to be successful in this life, providing you an objective measure of just how much effort is required to attain "success."  You will also appreciate your fellow man's time as you'll understand just how much of it is required for that individual to support himself.  But above all else, you will not become a thief like the majority of democrats, leftists, and socialists in this country because in knowing the value of a dollar you won't dare steal other people's money because you'll know just what they had to go through to get it, as well as how much they need it.

Finally, while I doubt any single one of my listeners is buying "used bath water" or are "pay piggies" to instagram "conservathot" models, please make sure you can personally afford to donate to content creators, send superchats to livestreamers you like, or be patreon members to authors you like.  I absolutely appreciate every donation and superchat I get.  But do not do so if it sacrifices your own self-supportation, you retirement, or your ability to pay off your debts. And if you'd still like to help, but not impair your finances, there's always my books to buy (which will teach you how to get out of debt) and my Amazon affiliate program (where you were going to spend that money anyway).  There's a way to help out your favorite content creators AND come out financially ahead in the process.

Check out Aaron's other cool stuff!!!!


Turkey said...

I don't see the confusion. I have one Patreon donation that unlocks new downloadable content each month I wouldn't have access to otherwise. That seems to be the general use of the site.

Amazon affiliate money is "free" in that it doesn't cost the user anything, but the user gets nothing from it. In that sense it is more charitable than Patreon, which is generally transactional (in my case digital downloads).

David said...

When I was growing up, my father was constantly telling me that money doesn't grow on trees. Millennials didn't get that speech because 1) Their parents didn't know how to budget themselves and 2) Government, parents and other people's money did give the impression that money did grow on trees.

Tucanae Services said...

Excellent post!

Not only do the young not know the value of a dollar they also do not know how to assess risk applied to that dollar. They have lived in an environment of almost zero risk for 25 years. Not just risk in their personal space, but in the economic system at large with ZIRP, low CD rates and a Fed that seems afraid of its own shadow. With a 2% savings rate, why invest at those levels. Those days are drawing to a close.

I remember oil shocks, oil patch collapse, 21% mortgage rates, wholesale layoffs just like Deutsch Bank just executed. It could all return with a vengence.

What the kids lack the most is skills, Domestic, Financial, Interpersonal.

Anonymous said...

Do you ever consider that capitalists are mostly motivated by sex, and want to exploit naive and indebted youths in all ways and orifices?

It's how neoliberalism works. Capitalism plus social liberalism always results in predatory, sexually perverted education. It's what motivates capitalists to do their jobs, even if it destroys nations in the long run.

Old school capitalism, like before birth control and the welfare state, is soon to be out of living memory...

- Bacon said...

Very intriguing article, will be reading tonight! Wonder who that Bacon Maldito guy is though: sounds like a douche with too much disposable income....

john smith said...

The problem is not economic at all. It is 100% social. Personal interactions and the relationships they create have become a thing of the past due to social media changing what is means to be a human being. People can no longer communicate face-to-face.

In the last job I had (2012) I was not getting along with the younger people. I couldn't figure it out and asked a middle aged male colleague about it. He told me I made them nervous when I would go see them for face-to-face communications, as I had done my entire career. He told me to stop that and to only communicate with them through E-mail. He was right and that was 7 years ago.

People without interpersonal skills are ever growing in number. Trust, the basis for successful relations, is not just dying - it is embalmed and interred. The people your article refers to are lonely and isolated. They spend their money on Patreon in an attempt to have some type of human contact. Just that simple.

Years ago, when I would meet IT professionals I would ask them what they thought of this statement: "If historians still exist in 100 years they will write that the electronics revolution would go down in history as the worst thing to ever happen to mankind."

Invariably, they would look down, think for a moment or two, then look up at me and say, "You're right".

The march of time is proving me correct. The world is rapidly becoming one in which I don't want to live. Machines no longer serve us, we serve them. Soon, with AI and 5G on the horizon, we will move from servant to slave.

I am reminded of the end of "Brave New World". The feet of mankind are slowly rotating back and forth suspended by a cable attached to a USB port. Ask not for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for Thee.

liberranter said...

Patreon = monetizing virtue signaling?

Anonymous said...

Cappy, you are projecting your thoughtfulness onto these brain-dead. They haven't "lost the value of a dollar", they just don't think at all anymore, nor do they seem capable of it. Public schools and the endless leftist brainwashing have destroyed their ability to reason at all. They are mindless drones, floating through life on feelings alone.

Anyone under 40 should start learning Mandarin. You'll need it.

Anonymous said...

Cappy, this piece is superb & it qualifies as a grand slam home run. When you add up the four sociological variables you so adroitly point out, is it any wonder why the youth of today are so completely, inexorably & hopelessly lost in a sea of confusion, disorientation & distraction, hence the irrational day to day bad decisions they continually make & probably will continue to make their entire worthless lives. Not since the madness of Nazi Germany have the vast majority been so completely brainwashed into accepting complete & utter bullshit as their foundational belief system, if you can even call it that. These fools & idiots live in La La Land, but even worse, we’re stuck dealing with them & paying for their mistakes.

Anonymous said...

Econonic and natural laws will be re-learned by the next generation on the bones of the last. The steam is about out of the engine and the correcting societal shift will inevitably happen.

It's like talking to those who grew up in the USSR and witnessed the rapid collapse in 1991. Most I spoke too said, "We never saw it coming. It happened so fast." It usually does. Once the lights go out and the police and military stopped getting paid, it got real interesting quick.

BoogerDog said...

I must be missing something: I thought Patreon was for custom-fetish pornography.

Post Alley Crackpot said...







... but nooooo, there you go Conservative Virtue Signalling.

It's so easy ...


Patrick said...

Well Aaron, I need to find a stupid business idea, and sell it to many of the retards out there. Now that's one I'll have to figure out, write down, and put out there. Profit off the stupid so you can enjoy the decline.

heresolong said...

Patreon - think subscription fees. Used to be I would have to subscribe to the Cappy Cap newsletter which would arrive in my mailbox weekly or monthly. Now it is "free" but the author still needs to live. So the Patreon account is a way to pay for that subscription. Presumably without some form of payment the author will eventually turn to other work and the entertainment value to the reader will go away.

Amazon Affiliate - great but how many different subscriptions can one support with Amazon? I "subscribe" to about six authors. I don't spend enough money on Amazon to support all six so I use your link for Amazon and send the rest of them a bit of money each month for value received.

I don't know if that part of the article is serious or a tongue in cheek way of promoting the AA account, but output has to be monetized or it will eventually stop.

Anonymous said...

It's funny - I am a millenial, a Democrat, and a woman, and yet I find myself agreeing with a lot of this post (and some other posts on this site). In particular, I agree that much of my generation is overeducated and underexperienced. I can't tell you how many times in law school I was asked if I "took time off" between college and law school. "No, I didn't take time off, I worked," I would tell them. Which of course is likely what they meant, but the whole verbiage was so backwards and symbolic. I took time off from working to go back to school, but so many of my peers saw it the other way around - taking time off from perpetual studenthood to work (or travel, or volunteer, or play video games in their parents' basement). I was also surprised how many people in my law school class already had another post-grad degree, and how many didn't necessarily want to be lawyers but thought law school was a good "all purpose degree" (it's not). In fairness, the vast majority of my law school peers went on to find good jobs after law school, many very high paying, but there were definitely a few who seemed to just want to stay in school forever.

If it's any consolation, though, most of my friends who struggled a lot in their 20's have since landed on their feet, gotten decent jobs, paid off at least a sizeable chunk of student debt, and many of us have bought homes. So hopefully the younger millennials will eventually grow up too, although I have to acknowledge that many of them have it worse than we did, both because they graduated college during the worst years of the recession and because I think the "every kid gets a trophy" phenomenon was worse when the younger millennials were in school than it was for us.