DEFINITION of 'Young And Wealthy But Normal - YAWN'

Young And Wealthy But Normal - YAWN is 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.

BREAKING DOWN '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 tempting for wealthy young people to be drawn to more extravagant lifestyles.

Being Happy With Less

The tech boom that has transformed places like Silicon Valley has spawned hundreds of thousands of younger people who have outsized resources but choose to a modest lifestyle and pursue humanitarian projects. They hate McMansions and six-figure vehicles; they abhor the conspicuous consumption that Thorstein Veblin made famous in “The Theory of the Leisure Class” (1899). In this book, he described lives of people focused on getting more and better things. This notion reemerged in the Depression of the 1930s, only to come back in full force in the 1960s and to some extent after the financial meltdown of 2008-2009.

YAWNs are more likely to opt for the smaller car or no car at all, a modest house and more time devoted to self-actualizing pursuits. The 1996 book, The Millionaire Next Door, enshrined this more modest lifestyle long before YAWN became a term. YAWNs are into solar panels and electric cars; they shop at and donate to second-hand stores and send their kids to public schools.

It's the young and more socially conscious version of Warren Buffett, one of the world's richest people. Buffett is legendarily frugal, residing in the same house in Omaha, Nebraska, that he bought in 1958 for $31,500. He is well known for his simple tastes, including McDonald's hamburgers and cherry Coke, and his disdain for technology, including computers and luxury cars. He isn't interested in a bigger house, a newer car or owning his own island. He simply doesn't care about keeping up with the Joneses. He also pays attention to ongoing expenses. Cell phones, internet access, real estate taxes and maintenance expenses for toys are things he avoids.

If the new breed called YAWNs can resist upscaling their lifestyles and continue to be forces for positive social change, they can help transform the world in the decades to come.

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