The world is a mess. So they stopped saving for tomorrow.

The shaky state of the world was in his mind: “I’m not going to deprive myself of some of the comforts of life now for a future that looks like it could be snatched away from me at any moment,” he said.

In her standing act, Mrs. Jones, 27, makes a reliable joke: “No, I’m not saving up for retirement. I am going to spend my money now, while we still have a supply chain. It’s a joke that changes with the headlines. On some nights, instead of “supply chain”, it merely connects the catastrophe du jour.

The anti-frugal mood is pervasive. Hannah Fuller, 25, said she was once thrilled to save for the future. After receiving financial aid while attending private high school and college, she assisted in managing her money, making sure to maximize her Roth IRA each year. But now, she said, her mindset about hers has changed. She started when she lived in Portland, Oregon, where she grew up, during the 2020 fires.

“Being surrounded by smoke, you could really feel the doom and the darkness,” said Ms. Fuller, who works for the Farmers Market Coalition, a Washington-based nonprofit. “It felt like living in ‘The Martian’, as if we were living in an airlock, trying to keep the smoke out of our apartment.”

“Going to these places that you visited as a child and seeing them burned to the ground makes it very difficult to want to build new things,” she continued.