Ignore What Elite Daily Says and '$ave Dat Money' ...

Editor’s Note: This article previously appeared in a different format as part of The Atlantic’s Notes section, retired in 2021.

It’s not currently clear whether a widely-read (or at least, widely-clicked) Elite Daily essay by Lauren Martin titled “If You Have Savings In Your 20s, You’re Doing Something Wrong” was an example of  twentysomething myopia or a ploy to get tons of people who know better to click on it in disgust.

Either way, it was patently wrong: Thanks to the miracles of compound interest, putting away small amounts of money into a 401(k) or IRA in your 20s can produce significantly more money even than putting away larger amounts in your 30s. And, despite what the woman who also recently wrote “I Wore A Strap-On For A Week To Know What It's Like To Have A Dick” may think, saving up money and having a vibrant social life are not beyond reconciliation.

Martin’s essay initially struck me as irresponsible: I feared that Elite Daily’s readers would heed her advice. Now, nearly 24 hours after I first encountered the essay, I’ve realized that it was an unintentional public service: It gave exasperated writers at Slate, Vox, and elsewhere an occasion to reiterate the importance of personal savings without sounding like they wanted you to eat your vegetables.

On the same day the Internet led us to this nugget of anti-wisdom, Lil Dicky, a tongue-in-cheek L.A.-based rapper, released an antidote in the form of a video for his song “$ave Dat Money.” The video opens with Lil Dicky knocking on palatial Southern California homes, politely requesting to film his video on their grounds in an effort to save money. It only gets more frugal from there, with boasts about buying only generic prescription drugs and purchasing plane tickets months in advance:

Today, let’s listen to Lil Dicky—if not to his music, then at least to his advice.