Keeping up with the Joneses?
The concept of constantly comparing yourself to your neighbor is one that, unfortunately, still plagues people – especially when they’re scrolling through picture-perfect moments on social media.
These channels possess an overwhelming power to persuade people, as 63% of respondents in a Fidelity study admitted social media posts from friends sometimes inspire them to spend.
The price of social media
Imagine scrolling through your Facebook feed and finding a friend enjoying the most beautiful breakfast. Do you suddenly want to experience that magical mid-morning meal? And do you want everyone to know about it? For young adults, the answer is a resounding yes.
This year, CEB Iconoculture shared results from a Brandtrust survey of 1,000 people, in which they found that brunch is a budget buster for Millennials aged 20 to 49 – present company included. (Personally, I blame Rochester Brunch House.)
Credit Karma shared a similar survey, noting Millennials will rack up debt to eat, drink and be merry. Nearly 60 percent will spend money they can’t afford on fancy food and restaurants… and that’s not all.
Photos of friends wearing the trendiest outfits, using the latest/greatest technology and driving the fanciest cars can also have an impact. Millennials recognize and appreciate the allure of those items, so peer pressure drives their purchases of clothing (41 percent), electronics (26 percent) and vehicles (16 percent).
They also exercise their credit cards to travel on cool vacations and attend friends’ weddings (40 percent), go to music festivals (25 percent) and sporting events (17 percent). All it takes is a few envy-inducing images of tropical sunsets or courtside seats, and almost instantly, there’s a lot of life left to be desired.
Ultimately, it’s the fear of missing out that’s led nearly 40 percent of Millennials directly into debt, according to Credit Karma. They’re trying hard keep up with the modern-day Joneses (spending well above their means), and the worst part is, when they struggle with the repercussions, three-quarters will keep quiet.
The other side of the coin?
Despite constant pressure, some young overspenders are trying to keep their habits in check. Fifty-three percent of Credit Karma’s survey respondents said they limit big FOMO splurges to once a year, while 25 percent are penny-pinchers who never overspend.
Plus, in the study by Fidelity, half of respondents said they balance splurges with saving for the future. And a Bank of America report says 47 percent of Millennials have $15,000 or more in the bank, with one in six having six figures stashed in savings.
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