There have been a number of articles that speculate on the number of advertising messages we are exposed to daily (excluding this one of course). While there doesn’t seem to be any actual scientific study, the numbers quoted are between about 250 and 3,000. Consider:
Television – The average “1-hour” TV program is only about 45 minutes of actual content. This means that about 15 minutes is dedicated to advertising. At an average of 30 seconds per commercial, you are exposed to about 30 ads per hour.
Internet – A typical web page can contain dozens of advertising links. Even with pop-up blocking active, some ads can still jump out at you.
Product Placement – One of the most lucrative ways for TV shows and movies to make money is by having recognizable products strategically placed or blatantly used as part of the story. Ask yourself, can the character, not the actor, in real life afford that $6,000 watch or $100,000 vehicle?
Billboards – Technology now provides a medium to display multiple ads in 5-second intervals to grab our attention. And they can even display a video message. Sporting events are saturated with product ads as part of the venue and on the participants.
This is just a part of the reason why so many Canadians suffer from materialism and consumption today. Recent reports have shown that total debt per capita in Canada is at an all-time high and average savings rates are at an all-time low. There are steps you can take to reduce the symptoms of these diseases. They include asking the questions:
What else can I do with the money? Today you have the young you and the old you money in your pocket. If you spend all the old you money today, you likely will not have enough to retire when you want. Perhaps you have a travel dream you would prefer to make a reality.
How much did we have to earn to make the purchase? For an employee earning $100,000 annually, about one-third is eaten up by government deductions (taxes, CPP and EI). This means that to take home $1,000, you had to actually earn $1,500.
Would I really miss it in a month if I didn’t buy it today? Most of us have experienced “buyers’ remorse” at one time or another. This also gives us a chance to figure out why we really want it.
Will this purchase today contribute to where I want to be tomorrow? A consumer purchase almost never contributes to long-term wealth and financial independence. This includes an over-sized house. Consider that the more “stuff” we have, the more time and money it will take just to manage it. It’s way too easy to fall into the trap of buying things we don’t really need with money we don’t really have to impress people we don’t really like. – M Dumond