Our imagination is the most powerful thing that we all have in our possession. Seventy-nine percent of smartphone users check their phone within 15 minutes of waking up, and the most popular time of day for using Facebook is in the evening. About half the time is spent on the news feed. (source bizjournals.com). Every time we look at these pictures and newsfeeds during the morning and evening, pictures conjure up images of our friends having the time of their lives. It makes us all take quick stock of measuring up our own lives against the visuals we see in Facebook. So how does Facebook make us spend more money?
- The Vacation I Always Wanted– Facebookers are obsessed with taking pictures of their vacations by the beach, in another country, or on a cruise with the kids. Since a picture is worth a thousand words, we often ask ourselves this question. “How are these people finding the money to enjoy all these vacations?” The simple answer is they aren’t. It doesn’t really matter though because the more we see these fancy vacations, the more we want to take one ourselves and eventually we too get the vacation we always wanted whether or not we can afford it.
- The Car I Always Wanted– Vroom! Vroom! There is a beautiful picture of that new BMW, Audi, or Mercedes flashed up on the morning news feed on Facebook. You scan the picture to realize that you are still driving that 2008 Honda or yesterday’s minivan. It doesn’t bother you at first until the next family posts up their stunning new automobile as well. Before long, you find yourself searching the internet and then on to the dealership to pick up your new ride.
- The Body I Always Wanted– Have you ever seen someone face stuffing pictures of twinkies and apple pie showing themselves getting heavier and heavier as they grow older. Of course not. In fact, most people who have whipped themselves in shape show off the bikini pose or shirtless on the boat. Those that eat too much simply show pictures of their kids. It’s kind of how Facebook works. When you see these pictures of people you knew 25 years ago looking so fabulous, you too eventually start spending money to get your body in better shape. This isn’t neccesarily a bad thing though! We all need motivation!
Facebook is clearly one of the largest social media platforms in the world. Beyond the people who annoy us with random posts that are creepy and dark or those that post up on how horrible their day was because they stubbed their toe, most people post the best of their lives to let everyone else know how incredible they are doing. Enjoy the pictures, but don’t let it make you take a bite out of your wallet. Until your Facebook friends start posting their credit card balances, just assume most of them can barely afford the Polaroid picture they posted on your news feed.
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Ted Jenkin, CFP®, AAMS®, AWMA®, CRPC®, CMFC®, CRPS® Co-CEO and Founder oXYGen Financial, Inc. Securities and Investment Advisory Services offered through NFP Advisor Services, LLC (NFPAS), Member FINRA/SIPC. Oxygen Financial is not affiliated with NFPAS.