Yesterday, loan refinancing company SoFi announced a new marketing initiative aimed at would-be homebuyers: "For the month of July 2017, anyone who takes out a SoFi mortgage to purchase a home will receive a month's worth of avocado toast delivered to their door."
The company will send an email asking for their lendee's bread choice (regular or gluten-free), and then ship that and avocados to where they live.
While it's true that brunch is quite possibly the most important meal of the day, SoFi explains that its offering is being made in response to Australian millionaire Tim Gurner. In May, Gurner told Australia's 60 Minutes that millennials' binging on the popular (but pricey) snack is to blame for their inability to buy property. "When I was trying to buy my first home, I wasn’t buying smashed avocado for $19 and four coffees at $4 each," he said.
The claim ignited a debate, but in many ways it's a silly one. For one thing, data show that many young people are buying homes in greater numbers. "Realtor.com estimates that millennials will soon make up 33 percent of the market, with boomers making up 30 percent," Marketplace reported in March, attributing a recent jump in house sales to that demographic. Secondly, writing off years of post-recession uncertainty, and increasing (and often overwhelming) student debt, is reductive.
Of course you won't get closer to your dreams of buying a home or financial stability in general if you blow every paycheck and put nothing aside. After all the costs are settled, and "given the average US home buyer today will pay about $440,000 in interest over the life of a 30-year mortgage," as Quartz notes, that tree might be a better investment, anyway.
SoFi's marketing campaign is clearly making a play for Millennials who have been following the avocado toast debate. However, once you are ready to purchase a place of your very own, be sure to look into the options that are best for you. SoFi may be a solid option for people with robust and mostly-spotless financial profiles; however, they're likely not an option at all for people whose situations are messier or less secure. As BuzzFeed News explained, citing reports from financial agencies DBRS and Moody's, the average annual income for a college graduate in 2015 was around $50,000. The average income for a person who qualified for a SoFi loan? More than $170,000.
"SoFi's average borrower, in the new bond with the AAA rating from S&P, is 34 years old, with an annual income of $170,260 and free cash flow of $7,088," wrote then-reporter Nitasha Tiku. "Most graduates saddled with student loan debt don't fit that description, which is why applicants for private refinancing often need their creditworthy parents to cosign, a caveat that doesn't get mentioned in the ads."
In other words, SoFi is a better option for people who are in excellent financial shape. And if you're in that group, you're probably well-off enough already to have your avocado toast and eat it too.