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Business - Written by on Thursday, May 1, 2008 20:58 - 0 Comments

YAWN…

So in our desire to categorize everything and everyone, the newest acronym on the block is YAWN; young and wealthy but normal. Robert Frank from the WSJ first wrote about them about a year ago, giving credit the UK’s Sunday Telegraph for coining the term. Fast forward a year and Evelyn Nieves (AP) gives us a bit of an update on these YAWN’s, showcasing their do-gooder attitudes and actions.

Now in theory, YAWN’s represent ‘the anti-Paris Hilton.’ They’re, according to Frank, “men and women in their 30s and 40s who have become multimillionaires and billionaires during the wealth boom of the past decade. Yet rather than spending their money on yachts, boats and jets, yawns live modestly and spend most of their money on philanthropy.”


Nieves article highlights Sean Blagsvedt, “who moved from Seattle to India in 2004 to help build the local office of Microsoft Research. Moved by young children begging on the streets, Blagsvedt quit Microsoft and launched two networking sites, babajob.com and babalife.com, to link India’s vast pool of potential workers with the people who need labor. The larger goal – to reduce poverty.”

Why do they do it? Well beyond the desire to help, there are also pyscho-social factors. Nieves quotes Stanford sociologist David Grusky, who notes that “society tends to follow cycles – with anti-materialist periods like the hippie movement generating a pro-materialist reaction – the yuppie period.” The excesses of the 90s and 00s thus gets followed up by a generation of day-gooders.

What neither of these articles tell us, however, is how big this sub-demographic is? Or how does this demographic stack up against the other 9million+ US households with net worth’s over $1million (though for an accurate calculation we’d have to get an update on net worth figures with the recent housing crisis…) ? 

 Either way, I’m guessing we’d all love to be YAWN’s, question is what we have to do to become one!



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