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May 29, 2019

“How this millennial saved $1 million by age 30,” The Washington Post writes. “A Millennial Saved $100,000 With This Simple Habit,” CNBC insists. “How to save for retirement when you're living paycheck to paycheck,” CNN confides in us. Everywhere in American media we are told if only we engaged in simple, no-nonsense discipline we can retire at 35.
But what is the political objective of this popular mode of journalism? More than just generating clicks to sell investment instruments to the credulous, this genre has a distinct ideological purpose: to obscure generational poverty, largely brought on by the legacy of racism and Jim Crow, and make being poor the result of a series of moral failings rather than a deliberate political regime decided on by powerful actors.
This week, we explore the “personal finance” media industry and the corollary, so-called FIRE movement—and how their poor shaming, libertarian ethos has increasingly seeped into our mainstream click-happy online press.
Our guest is writer and editor Miles Howard.