Is YAWNing socially responsible?

Will this child grow up to be a YAWN?

What is “social responsibility?”

When young people get out and work, most will begin to realize that WHAT THEY ARE DOING is the socially responsible act. Making valuable goods or performing valuable services helps many people – the ones who provide it and the ones who buy it.

IFO learned this when she worked as a clerk at a bookstore. People came in who were needy – wanting to lose weight, learn about depression, find a gift for a teenage grandson, be diverted during a long, boring wait for a doctor or an airplane. They were grateful and happy when we solved their problems for them.

Aside from being a reporter or a legal secretary, or office manager at an office supply business, it was the most rewarding job she ever had. Oh, right, those are the only jobs she’s ever had!

These thoughts were brought on by today’s note from Investopedia, which defines an interesting acronym – YAWN. IFO doesn’t think it will gain traction. Her critique follows after this full quote:

Definition of ‘Young And Wealthy But Normal – YAWN’

A class of self-made millionaires that live relatively modest lives. Instead of spending wealth on gaining luxurious items and living expensive lifestyles, these individuals prefer to make contributions to charitable causes and spend time with their families.

Investopedia explains ‘Young And Wealthy But Normal – YAWN’

The concept of social responsibility may have contributed to the emergence of this new class of wealthy individuals. All in all, these individuals can be a great benefit for society because they redistribute a vast amount of wealth for social good. However, it may be difficult to become a YAWN because it can be very tempting for wealthy young people to be drawn to more extravagant lifestyles.

Unless we are talking about the very rare IPO winners, like the Facebook founders, who are not representative of this group, this definition doesn’t compute.

First, a million dollars isn’t what it used to be. Our guess is that most of the alleged wealth is based on a huge mortgage,  As we have explained in previous posts, a mortgage on a house means the bank owns it, not the putative “homeowner.” And these kids are told that a house is a good investment.

They also may have a few cars, two incomes, little savings due to college loans for advanced degrees and startup costs for professional businesses. Do you have ANY IDEA how much a law library costs? And a doctor or dentist office setup? All these items end up being considered “investments” and worthy of inclusion in one’s calculation of one’s wealth.

Alternatively, let’s say the new millionaires are college dropouts, but are also computer geniuses or game designers. They probably have options – paper, meaningless until or unless turned into cash. As paper, or better yet, electronic entries in a virtual trust account, this “wealth” is essentially invisible, inaccessible and unusable to the holders.

Another group – entertainment and athletic stars. Any charitable donations or activities are part of the job. Partly for publicity and partly for protection (from the envious mobs.)

And what’s this “vast amount of wealth?” Sounds a bit greedy. Perhaps some non-profits are starting to lick their lips. They need to check their premises, as Ayn Rand used to say.

Social responsibility can be done for free. Volunteering at soup kitchens doesn’t take money. Reading to kids, working as a Pink Lady at a hospital, knitting hats – all these can be done quietly and inexpensively.

So, what do we learn from this? That not all acronyms are useful or meaningful.

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About InvestingforOne

I've been investing in various assets by myself using a discount broker for many years. Over that time, I've developed some theories that others might find useful. Plus, there is more to investing than money. Time, talent, work, friends, family all go into developing a good and satisfactory strategy.
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