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Nearly Half of Millennials Struggling with Money Dysmorphia: Here’s How to Spot It

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Nearly half of young adults have ‘money dysmorphia,’ survey finds. Here are the symptoms


  • SUMMARY

Social media has become the breeding ground for a distorted perception of wealth known as “money dysmorphia.”

This phenomenon affects individuals who excessively compare their financial status and lifestyle with the idealized portrayals they see online.

Money dysmorphia leaves many, particularly young adults, feeling financially inadequate despite their actual financial well-being.

It’s similar to the traditional concept of “keeping up with the Joneses,” where social comparison drives a constant pursuit of status and possessions.

According to studies, around 29% of Americans experience money dysmorphia.

The prevalence is especially high among Gen Z and millennials, with 43% and 41% struggling with financial inadequacy due to social media comparisons.

The idealized lifestyles and wealth flaunted online create a perception-reality gap.

Even individuals with above-average savings often feel inadequate and obsessed with the pursuit of more wealth.

This distorted view undermines their sense of financial well-being and satisfaction.

Factors like inflation and economic instability further exacerbate these feelings, making the pursuit of an elusive “wealthy” status seem even more unattainable.

Moreover, excessive social media usage is strongly linked with dissatisfaction with one’s financial situation.

To combat money dysmorphia, experts recommend limiting social media exposure, creating “purchase hurdles” to prevent impulsive spending, and addressing the underlying financial psychology.

They emphasize that true happiness does not come from material possessions and that genuine financial well-being lies in aligning spending with values and prioritizing contentment.


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    “Exposure to glorified lifestyles online has left many people, especially young adults, feeling financially inadequate, even if they’re doing relatively well, reports show.”

    “That’s not only true for how people feel about their appearance and social status, but also their financial well-being and economic standing.”

    “Overwhelming evidence suggests social media has a negative effect on self-esteem.”

    “Not surprisingly, money dysmorphia is even more prevalent among younger generations, according to Credit Karma.”

    “There is a “distortion between perception and reality”, Alev said.”

    “That feeling of being well off is increasingly elusive, almost regardless of how much money you have, a separate report by Edelman Financial Engines also found.”

    “In fact, more than half of Americans earning more than $100,000 a year say they live┬ápaycheck to paycheck, another report by LendingClub found.”

    “A prolonged period of high inflation and instability has chipped away at most consumers’ buying power and confidence.”

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