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Post: The Rise of HIFIs: High-Income, Financially Insecure Individuals



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The Rise of HIFIs: High-Income, Financially Insecure Individuals

A new acronym has entered the financial lexicon: HIFIs. Short for High-Income, Financially Insecure individuals, HIFIs represent a growing demographic that struggles with maintaining a balance between their income and lifestyle aspirations. Predominantly comprised of millennials and Gen Zers, these individuals seek to exude wealth and success but often find themselves ensnared in the trap of lifestyle creep.

post image of women with business toolsAccording to a report by Bain & Co. published in January 2023, millennials and Gen Zers were responsible for a staggering 22% gain in luxury spending in 2022. This statistic underscores the high spending habits of these generations, driven by a desire to keep up with social expectations and personal aspirations of success.

Understanding the HIFI Phenomenon

Although people under 40 accumulate wealth earlier in life than previous generations, 48% of Gen Zers and 59% of millennials feel behind financially, according to a Credit Karma survey of 1,006 US adults published in December.

Lifestyle creep refers to the gradual increase in discretionary spending as income rises. For HIFIs, spending on luxury items, dining out, vacations and other non-essential goods and services grows disproportionately compared to their savings and investments. This often leads to a precarious financial situation in which they remain financially insecure despite earning a high income.

The reasons behind this phenomenon are multifaceted:

Social Media Influence: Social media’s pervasive influence creates an environment where millennials and Gen Zers feel pressured to display a particular lifestyle. The curated lives of influencers and peers set a high bar for personal success, driving these individuals to spend beyond their means to keep up appearances.

Delayed Financial Milestones: Many millennials and Gen Zers are delaying traditional financial milestones such as buying a home or starting a family. With fewer immediate financial obligations, they tend to allocate more of their disposable income towards lifestyle enhancements.

Economic Instability: The economic instability experienced during formative years, such as the 2008 financial crisis and the recent COVID-19 pandemic, has instilled a ‘live for today’ mentality. This mindset often translates into higher spending on experiences and luxury goods as a way to find immediate gratification.

The Unsustainable Spending Culture

credit cardsWhile pursuing a luxurious lifestyle can provide temporary satisfaction, it is often unsustainable in the long run. The constant need to keep up with escalating lifestyle standards can lead to:

Increased Debt: Many HIFIs resort to credit cards and loans to finance their lifestyle, leading to mounting debt and high-interest payments that further strain their financial health.

Lack of Savings: High spending rates often come at the expense of savings and investments. This leaves HIFIs vulnerable to financial emergencies and unprepared for long-term goals such as retirement.

Financial Stress: The continuous pressure to maintain a high lifestyle can lead to significant stress and anxiety, impacting overall well-being and mental health.

How a Career Ownership Coach® Can Help HIFIs

A Career Ownership Coach® can play a pivotal role in helping HIFIs balance their career and lifestyle goals, ensuring financial stability while achieving personal aspirations. Here’s how:

HIFI CoachGoal Setting and Planning: Career Ownership Coaches® can assist HIFIs in setting realistic financial goals and creating actionable plans to achieve them. This includes short-term goals like finding the right career to support long-term objectives like building a retirement fund.

Career Advancement Strategies: By focusing on career development, coaches can help HIFIs identify opportunities for income growth through promotions, skill development, or career changes. Increased earning potential can provide more financial security and reduce reliance on debt.

Mindset Shifts: Career Ownership Coaches® can help HIFIs identify opportunities outside the traditional job market that they might not know existed. This can include freelance work, consulting, franchising and other avenues that support their lifestyle and offer a better life-work balance.


The emergence of HIFIs highlights a significant challenge many high-income individuals face today. While the desire to maintain a luxurious lifestyle is understandable, it often leads to financial insecurity and stress. By leveraging the expertise of a Career Ownership Coach®, HIFIs can achieve a balanced approach to their careers and lifestyles, fostering financial well-being and long-term success.



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Lora Helmin

Lora Helmin

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