The YOLO economy is booming

Americans make it rain on new experiences

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The Future. Despite every reason not to splurge (rising interest rates, high inflation, dwindling pandemic savings, and a cooling job market), Americans are shelling out for once-in-a-lifetime experiences before they fear it’s too late. While prioritizing short-term fun over long-term stability is nothing new, economists and financial advisors have marked the current moment as different. Whether or not they can afford to, people are jumping at every opportunity to check things off their bucket lists, which could explode the concept of “a rainy day fund” and shift the focus to “fun funds” instead.

No time like the present
After the pandemic tested the vulnerability of even the best-laid plans, consumers are saying, “YOLO,” and spending on what they want when they want… even if they don’t have the money.

  • Ibby Hussain (NYC) bought a $1,600 Taylor Swift concert ticket and dropped $3,500 on a bachelor party trip to Ibiza rather than save for a down payment on his Brooklyn apartment like he expected to after turning 30 and getting engaged.
  • Lindsey and Darrell Bradshaw (Seattle) went into credit card debt to fund a $10,000 trip to Maui with their son but have zero regrets because they got to see Lahaina before it was destroyed by wildfire.
  • Josh Richner (Columbus, OH) prioritized a cross-country trip that included a $7,000 Alaskan cruise over his retirement fund so his family could see the ice caps before they melt.

Living for today
It’s unusual for spending to hold up so well at a time of higher interest rates and inflation. But consumers are willing to risk the potential consequences of splurging on experiences so they don’t miss the chance to see places before they no longer can. Thanks, climate change.

If the current trend proves anything, it’s that today’s consumers are rewriting the rules around money and lifestyle.

Kait Cunniff

Kait is a Chicago-raised, LA-based writer and NYU film grad. She created an anthology TV series for Refinery29 and worked as a development executive for John Wells Productions, Jon M. Chu, and Paramount Pictures. Her favorite color is orange.


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