Millennial Money

The New "Sexy" In A Down Economy: Modest Is The Word


With the unemployment rate hitting 6.5% the guys at Goldman Sachs saying it will go to 8.5%, and now John Thain, the CEO of Merrill Lynch saying it looks like 1929 a scenario that's been explored a number of times on Mad Money, just to throw in a gratuitous plug for my day job, it may be time to rethink one of the most important financial questions facing anyone in their 20s.

No, not how to hang onto your job for dear life in this bleak environment, much more important than that: how to get a date.

When the economy was still healthy, it made sense to spend lots of money on expensive clothes, expensive gizmos, you name it, to show off the fact that you've got money, kind of like a peacock's tail, the flashier the better. But now that the economy's on life support, all that's over. Solvent is the new sexy, and this goes for men and women alike.

In any relationship, money is important. It may not seem that way at first, but eventually it always matters. I haven't been single in years, but from what I'm seeing now, everyone must be lowering their standards financially as we collectively start freaking out about money, or our lack of it. What worked before, expensive gifts, pricey clothes to make yourself look high-status, may backfire now. I won't pretend to be any kind of dating guru, but wearing the equivalent of bling in this environment is like telling every member of the opposite, or same sex if that's what you're into, that you're irresponsible with money. For the first time in a long time, throwing money around is not attractive.

Instead, people are looking for something much more modest: a steady job with a decent paycheck that you can keep, the notion that you have enough money saved up that you won't become a financial parasite in a relationship and will actually be able to afford things like dates.

Nobody's going to be investigating your credit score, like that ridiculous commercial where the couple breaks up because the guy has bad credit, but instead of sending signals that say "status" it probably makes more sense to to make it clear that you're solvent.

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