In Defense of Kylie Jenner

JennerThere. I said it. Now before you think that I’m trying to usher in the apocalypse, hear me out. I’m not about to argue that the world needs another Kardashian. To be honest, I’m not even totally sure that she really is one. Instead, I’d like to defend the interview Ms. Jenner did for Wealthsimple last week, not her as a celebrity or as a person. Because 1.) much to my students’ perennial dismay, I don’t keep up with the Kardashians, and 2.) I don’t actually know her.

Last week, Wealthsimple did a profile on her as a part of their “Money Diaries” series, where they do a Q & A write-up with famous (they say “interesting”) people about how money intersects with their daily lives. And they picked the world’s most famous 19-year-old*. In it, she talks about inexpensive makeup, expensive cars, and possibly living outside of the limelight one day. After the post went live, there was some virtual eye rolling, and one Tweeter even questioned his enrollment in Wealthsimple. To both, I say absurd.

*Actually, I’m making this up. There are probably more famous 19-year-olds. Is Bieber still 19? What about Taylor Swift? Am I 97 yet? She’s Really is a Kid

No, this isn’t the condescending head pat that often comes with discussions about age and money. I won’t claim to know more about money than her because I’d wager that she has access to resources beyond this finance nerd’s wildest imagination. She’s also part of an empire that, regardless of what you or I may think of it, has been wildly successful. So for someone who isn’t even old enough to drink and who is still developing socially, emotionally, and cognitively by sheer definition of being nineteen, she’s done quite well for herself in terms of finances.

It’s true that she does sound young in parts of the interview. Like when she says, “You have to have some restraint” and then follows it up with the acquiescence that she has many (read: six) expensive cars. You know why she sounds this way? Because she is young. When I begrudgingly look back in time at my personal Facebook page, I grit my teeth when I see posts celebrating the Tiffany ring my then-boyfriend, now-husband purchased for me (To quote Kylie on why she doesn’t buy jewelry: “I’ve only really gotten jewelry as gifts from my mom or a boyfriend.” Preach.). Or the time I said shoe-shopping before class made everything better. While these posts are more than a little cringe-worthy now, they were part of my evolution from shoe hoarder to more mindful consumer.

We All Make Mistakes

You don’t like the way this multimillionaire spends her money? I’m sorry she didn’t consider your feelings. Not everyone has to live a frugal lifestyle. Not everyone has to retire early. Or maybe you think she’s being mistakenly materialistic; let the person who has never filled up her closet with an unwearable amount of shoes cast the first stone. (I’ll sit. It’s fine.) While it’s really easy to notice consumerism when the scale ends in Rolls Royce, us regular Americans are doing just fine, too, in terms of buying things we don’t actually need.

Is it possible that she’s going through some growing pains financially? Sure. I’d wager that we all do to some degree. While the average American makes his or her share of financial mistakes (what else do you call an average of $15,000 in consumer debt?), we tend not to speak openly about them. Perhaps if more people were willing to have conversations about what they spend and why, we’d be a little bit further as a country along when it comes to finances.

She’s Headed in the Right Direction

She’s already talking about her future. She’s already wondering about what will happen if and when her streams of income dry up. She’s demonstrating an awareness about thirty, forty, or fifty years down the road to a time that isn’t even a blip on most Americans’ radars who haven’t begun to save for retirement, nevermind the dizzying amount of celebrities and professional athletes who bankrupt themselves (hello, MC Hammer).

So before you lambast someone over her purchases not aligning with your values, consider this: this world would be pretty boring if everyone valued the same thing. If money is a tool that we leverage to give us access to things, experiences, knowledge, or whatever else it is that we fancy, then she’s entitled to spend her money however she pleases. That’s what makes each of our financial journeys so interesting and so important. There’s always room for improvement. There is always time to tweak, adjust, and set new goals. If someone is willing to open themselves up to share their beliefs, let’s stop criticizing and start learning.

So Tell Me…What do you make of the interview? Is there anything that doesn’t sit well with you? Something that you appreciate?


In Defense of Kylie Jenner

23 thoughts on “In Defense of Kylie Jenner

  1. Beings in a lot of ways I am more 97 than 33, I will admit I don’t know who this is. But I appreciate that at 19 a kid is thinking and talking about it. I was sitting in a coffee shop, spying on a 19 or 21 year old kids talking behind me. (I love to eaves drop!) She was talking about her life plans, exactly how the next 6 years were carefully planned. Her passions and her goals. It could be easy to tease, because some of it was a bit silly, but I applaud her for actually thinking about it and taking about it. Things probably won’t look exactly how she is planning, but at least she has a direction.

    1. I love this, Ms. Montana. I sometimes really worry that we seriously underestimate our youth (otherwise known as our future). It’s really interesting to me when I see millennials doing it to this next generation. When I think about the trailblazers of our generation, imagine how silly they must have sounded…and how amazing they are!

      1. Well, I know I sounded silly. We had 50k in debt, low earning jobs, but I was going to get out of debt (check), travel the world (check x27), adopt kids (check x4), and pay cash for a house (check). I think if people are laughing at our audacity, we are doing something right.

  2. I find this interesting. I like that she mentioned seeking advice from her mother, and preferring cheap makeup. Even the best makeup artists use Maybelline mascara. Also, she’s buying homes and considering renting them out in the future since the stock market fluctuates. True, I don’t know many 19-year-olds who can afford multiple homes (and cars) but honestly – how many of them would be thinking about rental possibilities?

    1. Exactly! I don’t think she’s got it all figured out, but she or someone who is advising her definitely has some ideas that I’m even too timid to try out.

  3. This is SUCH a good rebuttal – I saw so much hate for this article too, and some of it came off as especially petty because it came from direct Wealthsimple competitors, lol. Not really a good look.

    And uh… awkward… I am the same age as Taylor Swift.

    1. She’s 26! I only know that because I just Googled it.

      Oooh, I didn’t see any of those comments from competitors, but that adds an extra layer to this for sure.

  4. I didn’t even know there was an interview, but I agree wholeheartedly about judging others based on our values. As long as people aren’t intentionally hurting others, there should be some leeway.
    My mother feels that some of our life choices are ridiculous. For example, when I told her we were hiking the Tahoe Rim Trail, she informed me that there was a road I could drive instead 🙂
    And yes, 19 is still young. I thought I knew everything at age 15 and it seems I’ve been getting dumber ever since, but in reality I hope that I’ve made some progress in the last decade and a half.

    1. Oh, Julie. That’s just the best. It’s amazing how dumb I’ve gotten and how smart my parents really have been all along. That’s growing up, huh?

  5. I appreciate your defense of Kylie! The interview makes me laugh a bit…yeah only 6 cars is restraint! 🙂

    That’s the life of the rich and famous huh!?

    But you make a good point about her looking into the future which is more than most people do.

    1. Yes! That’s definitely the part that stood out to me as a reminder that she is both young and living on an entirely different level. But I suppose it’s all relative to some degree.

  6. You can never disregard the impact of environment in growing up. She seems to be doing alright if you consider the that she was raised as a Kardashian. I made plenty of money mistakes along the way – not only at 19, but in my 20’s as well. You make a good point about how everyone’s journey is unique. The constant game of comparison and berating those who choose to follow different paths is a complete waste of time.

    1. I don’t really know enough about that family, but it seems that she’s doing well because she is a Kardashian and in spite of being a Kardashian. There are so many lessons to learn from others, regardless of their age! And I can only imagine what my shoe closet would have looked like if I grew up with the access she has!

    1. Lila, first of all, I can’t tell you how exciting your comment is. Thanks for not just agreeing with me. I love opportunities to reconsider my ideas. Here’s where I see a difference: She’s not advocating anyone else buy a Rolls Royce. She’s also not claiming that this improves the quality of her life (or the lives of readers) which is the title of the Ferriss podcast. She seems to be highly aware that she’s an exception. My issue with the Ferriss episode (I’m a big fan of his in general!) is not the money that is being spent — it’s the notion that it’s information for the masses. As you put it, if he’s only talking to wealthy people, then great.

      1. Hi thanks for not getting mad for questioning you! Some bloggers have gotten totally cold with me when I’ve done that. Boo!

        Anyway thank you for taking the time to explain, I greatly appreciate it ^_^

        Have a wonderful weekend!!!! =)

        1. Lila, you don’t ever have to agree with me to comment here. My ideas and opinions are constantly evolving. I love spirited debates and differing viewpoints. How can I grow if I don’t hear others out? So glad you swung by!

    1. It goes to show how terribly marketed her tour and album were 😉 Just kidding! I knew she was older. Once my students compared me to Lady Gaga one year, I decided to stop keeping track of celebrity ages. They’re younger. They’re richer. La, la, la. I can’t hear you!

  7. I had never even known who Kylie Jenner was until today. I read a few sentences about her and she’s achieved so much at such a young age. Much respect, indeed.

    I agree with your point about how the world will be so boring if everybody valued the same thing. I don’t understand how people can’t accept differences in people’s lives and only want everyone to look the same. Variety is the spice of life, without it, there’ll be no flavor left!

    1. Sounds like you know more about her than me now 😉 It’s particularly interesting to me that some people in the PF community advocate for bucking the norm…but then seem to want to create a more insular norm.

  8. It is always fascinating to me when people are offended at other people’s personal financial choices. Ms. Jenner does not know me from Jill and that is fine by both of us. As long as she is not hurting anyone, I don’t need to have an opinion about how she chooses to spend her money. I’m glad to hear she is planning for the future and understand that she is not yet 20 and has time to finish developing her brain. Bieber bought a damn monkey a few years back – that alarmed me. Living creatures who aren’t bred to be pets should not be subjected to that. A few cars that cost money? Who cares?

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