Are You a Yawn?

by Xin Lu on 30 April 2008 18 comments

I am familiar with the meaning of hippies and yuppies, but today I heard a funny new word for a demographic of people - yawns. YAWN stands for Young and Wealthy but Normal. It is a pretty silly acronym, but this is how the radio program I was listening to described this group of people.

Yawns are people in their 20s to 40s who are usually wealthy through their own work. Many of them are self-made millionaires and have a lot of disposable income. However, they prefer to live simple lives away from excessive consumerism. They usually live very much beneath their means and like to purchase local produce. They are also more environmentally friendly and philanthropic because they want to save the world with their money and they really think they could do it. They live relatively muted lives they do not have as much entertainment value as other rich people, and thus the Sunday Telegraphy of London coined the acronym YAWN to indicate that these people live somewhat boring lives.

The radio program also suggested that the amount of Yawns is increasing because recent history has seen several cycles of pro-materialism and anti-materialism. For example, the communists and hippies of the 50s and 60s spawned a materialistic backlash in the next generation and produced the selfish yuppies. Now the rampant consumerism is once again producing a generation of people who hate the mainstream materialism. I think that may be true because I am seeing a growth in the popularity of frugality and "green" products amongst my friends and colleagues.

As much as I like to be a person fitting the description of a yawn, I would hate to say, "I am a yawn!" because that just sounds like that I am admitting I am a boring person. I am glad that there are so many rich people who are living beneath their means and conscious about helping others, but why do they have to be stuck with such a silly moniker? So what do you think? Are you a yawn? Would you like to be one?

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Guest's picture

If there are such people, I would hope they weren't the ones that came up with that name, since apparently by definition these people wouldn't be all that interested in drawing attention to themselves. I would decry any potential "yawns" from going out and calling themselves as such also, it would not only sound awfully pretentious, but also... no, it would really just sound pretentious.

Guest's picture

We are young, normal, and frugal, but not wealthy. We have made life choices -- parenthood, having me stay-at-home, choosing a job where my husband could do "good" -- that pretty much preclude wealth.

I think that there is a serious anti-materialist movement, and we are not all wealthy.

Guest's picture
Megan

I don't necessarily see a problem with living a life considered "boring" - as long as I don't find it boring. If I'm happy with living a life in a pretty little townhouse in a nice little community driving a comfortable sedan and taking a small, but enjoyable vacation every year, what's wrong with that?

Besides, I don't think I would want the type of life that the gossip rags would want to follow.

Guest's picture
Jasi

We're in the same boat as warilever with plans to become more YAWN-like. Right now we're living as frugally and greenly as we like because we want to and it's comfortable for us. Once the kids are school-ready, I'd like to return to work (for fun- get that!) and also invest more (in the house and in our future, financially).

YAWN doesn't bother me so much. It's amusing, right?

Guest's picture
Tyler

I believe Dave Ramsey says it best with "If you live like no one else you can live like no one else." When my wife and I are making a decision about something and we find ourselves saying something a long the lines of 'other people are doing such and such, so...' we immediately remind ourselves that we do not want to live like other people. Other people are broke and unhappy - my wife and I don't want to live like that. We make it a point to not follow the crowd.

Acronyms such as YAWN do not bother me. The idiots tend to yell loudest and longest - doesn't make them right, just annoying!

Guest's picture
Sam

I think YAWN is actually quite fitting for us, because mainstream culture probably does find us boring.

We're not living in the right cities or in the expensive condos, we're not drinking expensive coffee, we're not driving SUV's or expensive cars. We have some self discipline and that doesn't make for good drama. We're consciencely flying in the face of it all, and actually by doing that are largely ignored.

Boring buy that standard doesn't mean we're not having fun or are predictable or are uninteresting. We're just not buying into their game. We're a YAWN because we've taken our ball to play else where.

Guest's picture
kav122

I guess I am a YAN, too (without the wealthy-hehee!) I like the name "down-shifter" though because I think that it accurately describes living a simpler life.

Guest's picture
Douglas

There, I said it, call me pretentious. Thanks.

Why repeat what Sam just said above. It fits perfectly.

I think the "boring" side comes from the perception others have about us. If you are a YAWN you've been told, "oh, c'mon live a little". And deep inside you know that it is because people is asking you to do something that everybody (or maybe only the Joneses) do, but that it is meaningless to you.
We YAWNs spend our entertainment dollars in things that are meaningful to us and nobody else. Only that many times those things might not be what is expected from everybody.

Call me boring, and when I retire early based on being a YAWN, you can call me at my cell phone at the beach. Oh, how pretentious of me!

Xin Lu's picture
Xin Lu

Yeah I know what you mean about spending entertainment dollars on things that are meaningful to you.  For my hubby it's games because he loves games, and for me I spend money on good food.  We don't care about cars, houses, and apparel that much.  So people really have no idea how much we actually entertain ourselves.

Guest's picture
Douglas

There, I said it, call me pretentious. Thanks.

Why repeat what Sam just said above. It fits perfectly.

I think the "boring" side comes from the perception others have about us. If you are a YAWN you've been told, "oh, c'mon live a little". And deep inside you know that it is because people is asking you to do something that everybody (or maybe only the Joneses) do, but that it is meaningless to you.
We YAWNs spend our entertainment dollars in things that are meaningful to us and nobody else. Only that many times those things might not be what is expected from everybody.

Call me boring, and when I retire early based on being a YAWN, you can call me at my cell phone at the beach. Oh, how pretentious of me!

Guest's picture
belladonna

I think the Sunday Telegraphy of London just made up the acronym YAWN to create a story. Usually tabloids like to follow the behavior of wealthy 'celebrity' people, and to them, simple living is not as glamorous or scandalous as they would like. So, to them, frugal simple-living is boring. But who cares what THEY think?

We are not boring to the people whose opinions matter to us.

Guest's picture
Dee-Nice

We've made some mistakes in our early 20's that we're paying for (paying off) as we enter our 30's.

I would love to become a YAWN. I can't afford to be very philanthropic now but I do volunteer my time to worthwhile causes.

Guest's picture
Christine

I am paying off my debt and hoping to be debt free by the time I am 30 (2011). I will starting my new career since I will be getting out of college then. I will be working to become a YAWN at that time.

I like this new term. ha ha

Guest's picture

Wealth is a relative term, we are certainly not self-made millionaires (at least not yet), but compared to others in our age bracket, (30 & 31), our net worth is quite high.

We spend very little of our disposable income on entertainment. We just don't need much to make us happy. If we don't need it, we don't buy it.

Guest's picture
Guest

Slow news day = made up story

Guest's picture
Marisa

Even if this is a made up story for the media, I think there is truth to all this. And so what yawns live simple and happy, the world is already complicated enough as it is. I agree with Dee-nice. My hubby and I, we are certainly working towards being more yawn-like.

Guest's picture
Guest

I am too old to be a Yuan, otherwise, I would like to be one!!!

Guest's picture
Nicole J.

I don't know if we are YAWN's (not wealthy), but we do subscribe to the 'less now, more (or better) later' philosophy. We are a one income family and when I do go back to work in the next few years it will be mostly for savings and fun (long term and for the kid's education).

We don't spend much on entertainment either, well besides food. To us going to the park or visiting friends is a good time. To me, the people who think this is a boring life are so dissatisfied with their own minds, lives, etc. that they need the constant drama or distractions just to feel ok.