After recently leaving my credit card at the bar for the 100th time in my life, I decided this would be a prime opportunity to check my savings account. Not the type of person who religiously checks my statements (average once every few months…it’s bad I know), I figured why not, let me give it a gander. I pull out Bank of America’s app on my phone and I see the number.
…Initial thought: Why is the app not refreshing?! This is beyond absurd. Bank of America is a Multi-billion dollar company and they don’t have an up-to-date bank statement?Ridiculous.
…Second thought (and yell): Fuck.
Spoiler alert, the app was accurate.
After a year and a half working with what I’d say an average salary (I’m no Banker, but sure not a Public Relations Social Media Specialist Intern Trainee either), I couldn’t help but wonder: where did the money go?
Fortunately, I’m not alone.
Marketwatch recently released some mind-boggling numbers:
With student loans, more than 50% of Millennials have less than $1,000 saved up.
Only 5% of the $15.9 trillion in U.S. households’ mutual fund assets are held by millennials, according to ICI, the fund industry’s trade group.
Those middle-aged white guys probably named Steve (aka financial advisors) are taking notice: only 30% say they’re actively seeking clients under age 40, according to research firm Corporate Insight.
It’s a double edge sword because the future for Millennials is expected to bring in the MOOOLA. We’re already the most popular generation in the U.S., and the potential for wealth creation is huge as we approach our peak earning years; by 2020 Millennials could have $7 trillion in liquid assets.
I don’t know about you, but I’ll be lucky if I have $7 in liquid assets by 2020.
So what is happening here? What the hell are we spending our money on? Should we be saving the DOUGH?!
I decided to take a investigate my recent transactions to find out:
Typical recent transaction report for me, and probably at least half of you reading this (substitute your neighborhood for “North Beach” — I’m talking to you, residents of Murray Hill). Missing my biggest expense of all, rent — borderline criminal in San Francisco — you can gage exactly what my spending habits are.
Yet, at the end of the day, I’m okay financially. I’m not on the street. I can go on my Vegas trip once a year, afford a few small-talk drink dates per month, go to at least one music festival a year, and buy my Netflix/Spotify Premium subscriptions with ease.
“Balling out” is wisely uttered, but rarely used verbiage.
My mentality has always been: why save now? I’ll figure out my financial state when I’m 30. Then, as always, the below conversation commences with someone twice my age — let’s call this person, “BOOMER.”
BOOMER : You know, you’re clueless right?
Me: Hey, did I ever call you clueless when you attempted to use Emojis?
BOOMER: Okay fair enough, but it’s not just you, it’s your generation.
Me : Well, sir/mam, by living frugally with the BS stuff (cooking, Uberpool, etc) I can treat the next couple years with a “live-in-the-moment” mentality, while I build a career and a long-term plan. I’ve already changed jobs four times in less than two years, could you imagine building a long-term financial savings plan with that type of hopping? I really can’t.
DID THE MIC JUST DROP OR IS IT ME?!
So that was fun, BUT I’d still be naive to keep avoiding this whole personal finance headache; it really shouldn’t be all-in or nothing at all.
In the words of LeBron Raymone James, what should I do?
Unfortunately, besides the difficulty connecting with a non-Snapchat user, I can’t trust the Middle-aged white guy (neither can one in four Millennials). I just can’t do it.
What I can do is trust the trustworthy entity, or as we like to call it, Technology (SHOCKER). Wealthfront, LendingClub are only a few of the great options I’m starting to use to get a fresh start on saving/investing. That way, when I do have $7 of liquid assets, I’ll be ready to go!
It looks like ya’ll are on the same page.
In a survey by LinkedIn and market research firm Ipsos, nearly seven out of 10 millennials said they were open to trying financial products and services from nonfinancial brands (think Apple or Google).
Time to go with the gut, and at least begin prepping for the inevitable age 30 financial wake-up call.
But if all else fails, don’t worry, there is no age limit on our Friday night financial adventure of uber/sushi/uber/pregame/bar/pizza/netflix….or is there?
Tales of Putrid Wi-Fi, Romantic Missteps, and Angry Uber Drivers
These comments were everything!
Folks (and not just my Facebook friends!) not only enjoyed my honest, relatable, even self-deprecating perspective on twentysomething dating, they even shared it with their friends!
I was fired up, and figured my path to blue checkmarks on social media, parties with Lil Dicky, and most importantly, epic romance was forged.
Unfortunately, it didn’t quite work that way and surprisingly, live broadcasting your date nights proved to be an unsustainable content strategy.
Who would have thought?
For those interested in broadcasting their own dating life (all the cool kids are doing it), I wanted to outline some of the key lessons learned from my experience with UpDATING.
1. Never trust bar WiFi.
The Halftime Report was the crème da la crème of the experience. Mid-date, I excused myself to go to the bathroom (with a smirk and “if only they knew face”), where I broadcasted an update to the Brunch Media Facebook page. What drink did she order? What is the vibe so far? Did I go for the hug or handshake? Problem is, the Wi-Fi in the bathrooms was incredibly untrustworthy. It staggered in and out, the picture became blurry, and most importantly, it prolonged an already sketchy bathroom trip. Little did I know bars de-emphasize Wi-Fi in select parts of the venue, specifically the washroom.
2. Details, details, details…
My commentary was playful, genuine, and sporadically spurred a Facebook comment filled with the desirable “haha” or “lol.” With that said, I did not “kiss and tell” at the level necessary to really make this a huge hit. As much fun as it was to tell the world about my date night, I could not possibly mention certain details, the bad, the ugly, even the PG-13 rated version (😉).
After all, without permission from the date-ees, I was actually at risk of privacy invasion if I took the game too far. The most graphic detail I could muster to say on live camera for the postgame was the following: “the date went well…but not incredibly well because I’m waking up alone…here in my apartment.” Surely this mustered a few giggles, but unfortunately, if you have potential coworkers, family members, and other folks watching, it’s best to not disclose intimate details of your romantic life….although I couldn’t care less about strangers knowing if I rounded second base.
3. Uber driver permission.
That’s right, the pregame for the Live dates consisted of recording my pre-date thoughts along with a profound take on a specific dating concept (i.e. are more options better?) with an occasional jibe from the Uber driver. Needless to say, the Uber drivers were not too thrilled to be involved in my social experiment. When I asked if each Uber driver would be willing to be featured on camera, they all responded emphatically in the wrong direction. I was even charged a $20 fee for being a reckless passenger (don’t worry, he earned a whopping 2-star rating). Simply put, my Toyota Prius voyages to the main event of the night brought some sizzle, but not nearly enough spice.
4. Encouraging others to follow suit.
I opened my heart, my humor, and my sanity to the social media stratosphere. It was surprisingly fulfilling, so naturally, I wanted others to follow suit. One friend even went live with a pregame calling it her “Harrison Forman impression,” or as I like to call it, an ego boost. Problem was, beyond that, no one wanted in. What I failed to do was make it appealing to others not just to watch, but to share their own stories a la “Humans of New York.” I think the key with this type of social experiment is to tailor it in a way where it’s easily replicable. The format (super webby), the goal (disclosing deeply personal thoughts), and the mission (Rated-R) all were a bit over the top for Steve the Investment Banker in NYC or Rita the Social Media Specialist in Chicago to try. It would have made sense to initially grow a simpler concept.
5. Catch 22: impossible to find true romance.
By far the most important failure of UpDATING was the elephant in the room: what would my date think of my videos? Sure, I used witty puns to scold myself instead of my dates, and yes, I repeatedly praised her on some well-thought out conversation starters. Unfortunately, no accolade could diminish the shock of your finding your date (or potential date) running to the bathroom mid-date to record a Live update to his friends, and then seeing his review of the evening all over the Internet the next day. Needless to say, I was turned down by three separate women for dates after the first three episodes. They did not want to be “featured in the blog” as they called it. Their loss, I thought! Turns out, I put my empathy hat on and realized it would be impossible to continue dating someone with the internet knowing every single move along the way.
Did UpDATING find me a winner? Nope. Did UpDATING overtake the Bachelor in ratings? Not quite. Did UpDATING reinforce twentysomethings about their own dating trials, tribulations, and experiences? Absolutely.
And yes, Guinness as a first drink choice on date one will raise a few eyebrows.
I only scratched the surface of the next level of authentic dating content. This concept can evolve a million ways moving forward (hit me up if you have any thoughts!), but the fact remains: I tried, I dated, and I failed to find love through UpDATING.
….but hey, at least I kind of, sorta, maybe, potentially rounded second base!
For those who have yet to embark on this magical experience we call paying taxes, four W-2 forms meant that I glistened four separate employers with my employment presence during the year of 2015. When I started pit stop #4 (current stop as well)…
Read the rest of this post on Brunch Media’s website, right here.
So I just finished Master of None, Aziz Ansari’s new Netflix Original Series and I loved it (100% on Rotten Tomatoes currently, so I guess I’m not alone). I loved it for the straightforward storylines often overlooked in television. I loved it for the authentic nature of Aziz’s personal voice and experiences. I even loved it for the Seinfeld-esque nuances of everyday life (kudos to Aziz and Co-Creator Allan Yang for even entering that conversation).
Most importantly, and for the purpose of this new Medium publication, I loved the incredibly real nature of the Millennial career/life trek. Seriously. I don’t think there has been another series/film with as perfect of a depiction of what it’s like to live in your 20s/30s in 2015 with the poignant, humorous, and fresh subtleties we all know too well.
There have been a few attempts to hit the ball out of the park with the young professional demographic, recently including That Awkward Moment, The Internship,and even further back to HBO’sGirls. Yet, none of those failed as catastrophically as Zac Efron’s We Are Your Friends or #WAYF on social media (problem enough right there). We Are Your Friends chronicles an up-and-coming DJ pursuing riches in you guessed-it…Southern California! When I first saw the ostensibly unreal trailer (at the time, I re-watched at least five times), I was fired up about this flick, after all, it seemed like a mix of Entourage, HYDE (not a real movie, but Ari Gold loved it), and How to Make it in America. Like many of you, I thought: what could go wrong?
The movie tanked. Thanks to a completely obnoxious subculture, superficial storylines, and the aforementioned Zac Efron with a crew that did not broadcast itself as a desirable friend group (ironic with the title, I know). Needless to say, there are a myriad of “what-ifs” with the storyline that may have impacted its popularity. What if there was more of an emphasis on the rave-goers, instead of the DJ? Last I checked, the numbers of the former largely outweigh the latter. Here’s another: what if a character like Rachel (played by the unbelievable Noël Wells in Master of None) was favored instead of Emily Ratajkowski’s unrealistic Sophie? If I polled all of my Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat friends, I think the character of Rachel would be significantly more relatable.
This all speaks to my finer point: Millennials are a unique bunch and Master of None’s understanding of its audience is unparalleled. See, we really do not care about fluff. We care about equality (see Ansari’s character Dev and his friend group or “Indians on TV” episode). We care about impact and creating said impact in our lives (see the Citizen’s arrest scene). We also care about finding a deeper meaning in life through our friendships, relationships, and careers. Dev is constantly seeking to decipher his long-term end game. Throughout the season, he gradually matures from an impatient, answer-hungry, strictly short term-oriented individual into an adult with a strong realization that life is a process, an epic journey (Game of Thrones-esque), and by all means, a marathon.
There are ups and downs, nooks and crannies, brunches with and without mimosas.
In the last episode, we see one of the most impressive scenes of the season when Dev reads a quote from The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath. First, let’s take a look at the entire quote:
“I saw my life branching out before me like the green fig tree in the story. From the tip of every branch, like a fat purple fig, a wonderful future beckoned and winked. One fig was a husband and a happy home and children, and another fig was a famous poet and another fig was a brilliant professor, and another fig was Ee Gee, the amazing editor, and another fig was Europe and Africa and South America, and another fig was Constantin and Socrates and Attila and a pack of other lovers with queer names and offbeat professions, and another fig was an Olympic lady crew champion, and beyond and above these figs were many more figs I couldn’t quite make out. I saw myself sitting in the crotch of this fig tree, starving to death, just because I couldn’t make up my mind which of the figs I would choose. I wanted each and every one of them, but choosing one meant losing all the rest, and, as I sat there, unable to decide, the figs began to wrinkle and go black, and, one by one, they plopped to the ground at my feet.”
Powerful, right? I bet your 11th grade English teacher would be grinning right about now. Even though Sylvia Plath wrote it in 1963, it’s actually superbly timeless, flat-out perfect for the moment in the show, and touches home intuitive life messages (and I usually hate poetry). Ansari’s team also does a fantastic job with the visuals & background song (btw, it’s Otis by The Durutti Column). I’ll be honest, it gave me the goosebumps, and made me think about the rest of my enlightening 20s in a much more holistic, introspective way.
So what are some of the highlights that directly tie Master of None to Millennials? Here are four I noticed:
Dating today is a different Game.
Aziz Ansari is actually a guru when it comes to dating in the 21st century. His critically acclaimed book, Modern Romance, is well-researched, quirky, and hits home some of the most interesting parts of modern dating from apps and social media to affairs and the hidden psychology behind it all. I thought that Master of None (besides specifically not mentioning any dating apps) does a fabulous job of examining post-college city dating. It’s completely unpredictable, fluctuates almost daily, and just when you think you’re on a roll, there is a new obstacle in your way (like Bumble failing to update!). Dating today is just drastically different from what it once was. In one scene, “Grandma Carol,” Rachel’s grandmother, tells about her outdated dating experience, for better or worse, was much, much simpler: “He [her late husband] said ‘you’re beautiful’ and then we spent the rest of our life together.” Dating is a quintessential part of this time period, and it may agitate us all, but without a doubt, we’re in it together (get swiping!).
2. Equality for one, and one for all!
Dev’s friend group is incredibly diverse, and although at times that premise feels moderately forced, I think Ansari’s main goal here is powerful: the melting pot of America is intersecting like never before. Ansari, himself, is becoming a sort of Hollywood poster-child of the Millennial wave of entertainment, no longer largely filled with White-Americans born in LA or NYC (he’s from South Carolina). When it comes to gender equality, both in the workforce and socially, Master of None brilliantly depicts this shift. The Instagram anecdotes shared in the episode, “Ladies and Gentlemen,” resemble a VICE documentary covering these issues. It’s no easy feat to present such important, tangible issues in a comical, facetious setting. You know why it works? Millennials appreciate brutal honesty.
3. Older people are fun too.
The concept of clashing generations is undoubtedly one of the most creative subplots of the show. Besides the fact that Ansari’s REAL parents play Dev’s parents in the show (Dad’s Acting > Mom’s Acting), Ansari draws on real conflicts between Millennials, Baby-Boomers, and even the Mature/Silent generations. There is a very real tug-and-pull in society today between each with Millennials behaving drastically different not just in their careers, but relationships. We see differences in culture too; Dev’s father suggests he look into becoming a lawyer after some stumbles as an actor. Differences aside, it’s neat to know that there will always be common ground, displayed in almost every episode. Whether it’s music, Italian food, or even reading The Economist, generation gaps can be removed with any number of unique interests. The appeal of Master of None certainly is blind to demographic differences with food for thought for audiences of all ages, backgrounds and perspectives.
4. Fail, take risks, and then fail again.
Last, but certainly not least, the underlying tone of failure, risk-taking, and success are expressed frequently throughout the series. We see Dev fail with women, fail with his aspiring acting career, and even fail with watching an aging elderly woman. Yet, for all of his failures, he inevitably succeeds because of persistence. He may get cut out of a commercial for standing up for what he believes in and later left out of a movie at the last cut (he even unknowingly attended the premier!), yet he does not lose hope for a second (his swanky apartment tells us he’ll be just fine financially). Despite some epic mistakes in his relationship, Dev, like many of us, understand that our 20s, or life for that matter, is a long-game with the only consistency being there will be nothing consistent. To continue to discover/rediscover your own thoughts about society, Master of None says, is the iterative approach necessary to survive.
The end of the season is perfectly fitting for the (sigh) end of this post (SPOILER in the next sentence, so stop here if you have not seen it yet!). After Rachel leaves him to move to Tokyo, Dev is at a loss for what to do next in his life (I’m certain there are many of us in that exact boat right now); after lengthy internal debate, he decides to make a decision and stick with it (he chose a fig!). Instead of taking the conventional route to stay in NYC to continue pursuing acting, or even the unconventional route, which would have been to travel to Tokyo for a storybook romantic ending with Rachel, he pursues a path on a different trail altogether: travel to Italy on a one-way flight. Without kids, a mortgage, a wife, Dev can afford to take a major risk.
After all, there is no time like the present…
Well, there you have it: sleep-deprived, pre-Happy Hour, mid-week insight about why all of you should not just watch Master of None, but appreciate the profound nature of Aziz Ansari’s 10 episode, roughly 300 minute masterpiece. It’s just that good (soundtrack is even better — check it out on Spotify).
Enjoy the post? Enjoy the concept of the publication? Enjoy mimosas at your weekend brunch?
Like any second semester senior with a job locked up, I finally had the time to begin watching a new TV series. As a huge HBO buff (It’s not TV, it’s HBO), I landed on the famed, critically acclaimed series of the early 2000s, The Sopranos. Little did I know that this show would touch upon many entrepreneurial lessons I have learned both in the classroom and while working on my own ventures.
We can go back and forth for days debating whether the show’s main character, Mafia Boss Tony Soprano, is a hero or villain. However, what everyone can agree upon is that Tony is a true entrepreneur. Although his tactics for success certainly differ than other entrepreneurs we know (Could you imagine Zuckerberg in the mob?), the end result is the same: Tony runs his own group of businesses.
Here are three critical lessons from the one and only Anthony Soprano:
1. Cash Flow Businesses are King — So far (three seasons left) Tony does extremely well financially, because, unlike many entrepreneurs today who seek users first and revenue later, he has positive cash flow from small businesses in a diverse range of industries. He has ownership stakes in a gentlemen’s club, bootlegging business, pizza restaurant, and even a local spa. All of these businesses are what I call asset sale companies, meaning he does not have to raise millions of dollars to finance each project with the expectation of generating revenue. Other than the upfront (one-time costs), these businesses generate straight cash for Tony and his crew. Needless to say, a few of these businesses do border on legality, but it should not dilute the key lesson here: start businesses that generate cash RIGHT AWAY. Without cash, you can’t sustain your business. With debt, you are at the constant mercy and susceptibility of your investors.
2. Be a Strong Leader — By this point in the show, Tony is the bonafide Boss of his Mafia gang. With close to 50 people serving under Tony through the Mafia and his businesses, Tony needs to rule with an iron fist, but also motivate his employees. I am here to state emphatically that Tony leads by example, both in commerce and crime. When his own soldier Christopher was shot, Tony took matters into his own hands for vengeance, almost unthinkable for a boss of his pedigree. In business, Tony has exemplified his negotiation skills, savvy for new opportunities, and ability to transcend the minds of his employees. Tony’s handling of his aloof, erratic nephew Christopher best shows his leadership skills. When Christopher missed his son’s communion, he grabbed Christopher and told him he needs to make a decision in 15 minutes whether he is with Tony for good. Like most entrepreneurs, Tony wants employees who are putting their heart and soul into the company. He has no time for wishy-washy dedication; entrepreneurs need to follow Tony’s paragon and take control of situations. Beating around the bush with your employees never reaps positive benefits, especially as an entrepreneur.
3. Network constantly — It is no secret that entrepreneurs need to network and connect with other like-minded individuals as often as possible. You never know when a connection will come in handy for your business. Most outside venture funding is a direct result of a personal connection with someone at the firm. Tony Soprano is an extremely adroit networker, and certainly lives & breathes one of my favorite networking principles: it’s not who you know, but who knows you. The best example to date is when Tony ventured over to Italy to visit another organized crime faction for a potential business deal. Tony practiced the art of networking so well in fact, that he even attracted the love interest of Annalisa, head of the Neapolitan family. The trip culminated with an unexpected prize, the allegiance of a new solider, Furia Giunta. There are always opportunities for entrepreneurs to help each other, even in ways unintended in the first place. Let’s say you are a businessperson and you network with a coder to attract his/her talent for your latest mobile application. Without asking, you may never know when that coder will also have Angel Investor connections for you…