Sunday, April 27, 2008

Financial Intelligence – Part III

Consumerism is a dis-ease!
Why do I say that? Let’s see what happens in a typical day at work.

We wake up. Brush our teeth and change into our working clothes. Hop into our car to drive to work. Switch on the radio. Listen to the news and songs.
1. Listen to advertisements.

On the way to work, as we drive we see some billboards.
2. Look at the advertisements.

Reach work on time. Open the morning papers and read the daily news. All over the places, we gloss over most of the advertisements… except the interesting ones and we…
3. Look at the advertisements.

Oops…it’s time to start work. So we do…suddenly we receive an sms…
4. And realize it’s an advertisement.

We go for lunch and hop over to a nice restaurant.
5. And see some posters of some sexy and skimpily clad lady holding a can of beer, oops another advertisement.

Go back from lunch and start checking our Gmail, and:
6. Notice some advertisements.

Go back home and watch TV and get swamped by:
7. Audio-visual advertisements.

Even a normal working adult gets swamped by advertisements every day. Are all of these advertisements relevant or useful to us?

What’s the purpose of advertisements?
(a) To inform consumers of the products and services available to us;

(b) To create demand for products and services that are non-essential. By doing so, charge premium prices for something we don’t need or want (but are fooled into thinking we should have!)

(c) To create insecurities and fool us into thinking that spending money on certain products/services is an adequate replacement for compassion, listening and spending time with our family and friends.

Purposes such as 2 & 3 are insidious but we are so used to it that it barely provokes any outrage any more. Advertisements are so subtle nowadays that it’s amazing that how they are researched to trigger our emotions so that we spend, spend and spend! Think about the whitening beauty creams by the cosmetics company. The more insidious advertisements I have seen include:

Advertisement I
A lonely couple staying in an old town. The old man has nothing to do. Every day he goes to the kopitiam to have several cups of tea. He’s all alone. Goes back home. Silence…

The son calls back home. Offers to install a Cable TV for him to watch movies. The father hesitates… Moments later, the house is full of life [and all is well].

Advertisement II
A father… shopping for a piano for his son. Suddenly sees his wife playing a violin fluently. He only has enough money to buy one musical instrument.

Credit card comes to the rescue. Smiles all around. Love… gained by spending more than he can earn.

The message:
1. By subscribing for pay TV for your dad in the village, all will be well. You don’t need to go back home to visit him and your mother once in a while to talk to them and take care of them. Simply spend more MONEY! Pay TV is an adequate surrogate for a son. Heck, maybe they shouldn’t have given birth you and save the money for pay TV.

2. Even if you can’t earn enough to pay for both the musical instruments, it’s okay. Just borrow money from the bank and pay more interest on the credit card loan @ 18% per annum. Please contribute more to the banks' profits, since they need it. It doesn’t matter if you are selling your kid’s future education funds. Even if he ends up as a laborer (or kuli) because you couldn’t afford to send him to college, it doesn’t matter. Why? Getting him a piano that you can’t afford, is more important than his future education. What’s important is NOW! Not what’s going to happen in the future. Or maybe you can borrow from the bank for his future education by mortgaging your house.

What is Happening?
We are being bombarded by advertisements every day that have one CONSISTENT MESSAGE:

“SPEND, SPEND AND SPEND SOME MORE! YOU’LL BE LOVED BY YOUR FRIENDS AND FAMILY FOR DOING SO. IT’S YOUR RIGHT! YOU CAN HAVE IT ALL NOW! DON’T WAIT! OH - BTW YOU ARE ALSO HELPING THE ECONOMY!

Think for a minute! You may think that you are not affected by advertisements. Are you really sure? If so, why are advertisers spending BILLIONS placing advertisements over all types of media (radios, television, newspapers, Internet etc.)

What has this to do with Financial Intelligence?
Well, Consumerism is the ANTITHESIS of Financial Intelligence.

If you spend on something that you:
• DON’T REALLY NEED
• DON’T REALLY WANT
• THOUGHT YOU NEEDED (because of advertisements)
• THOUGHT YOU WANTED (because of advertisements)
• THAT BECAME CLUTTTER (because you never used it after the first couple of weeks)

Then you have just wasted your money and turned it into CLUTTER. Put up your hands…have you ever spent your money on such junk? (e.g. dumb bells, exercise machines, trashy fashion magazines)

SO, NEXT TIME – TURN OFF THE RADIO, STOP WATCHING SO MUCH TV AND RELAX! JUST REST YOUR MIND! I’D RATHER YOU BE MORE SANE THAN GROW IN-SANE, BY LISTENING AND WATCHING ALL THOSE ADVERSTISEMENTS!

3 comments:

Yours Truly

& you thought that only MSM ( main stream media ) were waging war on us. The whole marketing world is bombarding us with ads.

Avatar

Dear Yours Truly,

It's a multi-trillion dollar industry. This world is driven by consumerism...that keeps the our economies spinning and our industries running.

However, to remain sane, I suggest we just take a step back and see whether personally, it makes sense for us to fall for the cliches conjured by the marketing world.

Rgds

Yours Truly

Wise words, Avatar. Yours truly concurs.

Wishing you a splendid week ahead!

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