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Heres how Instagram spending could be making you poor

aubrey_ingridgoeswest57% of millennials have spent money they hadn't planned to because of what they saw on social media, one survey found.

  • If you're a millennial, you've probably experienced "FOMO" — the fear of missing out.
  • Young people apparently have a big problem with it, and it's making them spend way more money than they should.
  • A recent study found that 57% of millennials have spent money they hadn't planned to because of what they see on social media.
  • A financial psychologist said that this is because "the number one need for human beings is to belong."

We've all been there.

As you scroll through your Instagram feed, you're bombarded with perfectly composed and edited images of bloggers, influencers, and fashionistas on their perfect vacations with their perfect boyfriends eating their perfect brunches.

It turns out seeing these snapshots could actually be putting a dent in your bank account. And you're definitely not alone.

A recent study found that 57% of millennials have spent money they didn't mean to because of what they saw on social media. Almost the same percentage — 55% — reported feeling "FOMO," or fear of missing out. The study surveyed 3,006 American adults between the ages of 20 and 70 who had a household income of at least ,000.

Douglas A. Boneparth, a certified financial planner who advises millennials and president of Bone Fide Wealth, told INSIDER that this social media "FOMO" is a societal problem, not just a generational one. But millennials are more likely to be exposed to the technologies that display this kind of spending behavior, he said, which puts them at higher risk for irresponsible spending.

"I think social media plays a big role in how we perceive lifestyle," Boneparth said. "It goes beyond just the display material wealth, like clothes and cars. For example, millennials enjoy experiences, so posting pictures of travel and participation and fun events can definitely lead to FOMO."

Seeing pictures on social media of travel and fun events can give millennials serious FOMO.

Ted Klontz, a financial psychologist and consultant, said that it's in our very nature to try to emulate the lifestyles of peers we perceive to be more popular or high-class.

"The number one need for human beings is to belong," he told INSIDER. "Subconsciously, we are wired to pick up on any nuance that we don't belong, because historically that was really bad news. That meant we were going to die. … So even though it's not true that nobody will like us, that part of our brain in that moment sort of panics and does what it has to do to belong."

This desire is nothing new, but with social media, millennials have a much larger peer group to compare themselves too, Klontz said. And in a time when credit cards are easier than ever to come by, many millennials give in to this pressure by spending money they don't have.

"When you use a credit card or anything less than cash, it lights up the pleasure centers," he said. So it's a way of feeling good, too, if we're not feeling so good or if we're feeling a little bit left out or like we don't quite belong."

Although it's not healthy, it's not realistic to ever expect people to stop comparing themselves to others on social media, according to Klontz.

"It's wired into us to compare ourselves to what we see," Klontz said. "We're going to compare ourselves to what we see, so part of the idea is to spend less time there … But they're probably not going to be able to do that."

So even though you'll probably always feel some FOMO, there are ways to keep yourself from acting on it and spending money you shouldn't.

It's human nature to compare ourselves to others.

Remember that social media does not equal real life.

Understanding that the world we see on social media is "artificial except in pictures" is the best defense we have against overspending to attain such a life, according to Klontz.

"In social media, we typically want to show our best sides," he said.

He said to keep in mind that entertainment is not real life, and that seeing people's lives only as they want them presented is not reality. But he admitted that may be easier said than done.

"It's very difficult to overcome that," Klontz said.

Know that you're being seduced to spend.

If you know how "the money game" is played, you'll be less likely to fall into its traps, Klontz said.

"It's not by accident that many of those people on social media are actually sponsored by companies that sell things," he said.

Being aware of this and being on your guard can help to avoid doing exactly what these companies want you to do: spend money.

Klontz compared it to being approached by someone at a bar.

"You know that there's probably a seduction thing going on and so your guard is up," he said. "I'm going to be encouraged or I'm going to be influenced to try to be something I'm not or become something I'm not or buy something I don't have the money for."

Focus on long-term goals, not short-term gratification.

Boneparth said the key to not giving into social media-driven spending is to focus on your own goals and understand what's important to you.

"Millennials will have an easier time focusing on things that matter to them financially instead of spending money for temporary satisfaction," he said.

Klontz echoed this sentiment, adding that one trick he recommends is to set a picture representing a long-term goal as the wallpaper on your phone.

"The dominant brain is not wired to save or put off gratification," he said. "It is wired to eat now; get now; this is one way to work around that subconscious wiring."

Know when you feel seduced into spending.

Hold yourself accountable to somebody or something.

Referencing the story of a 26-year-old woman who admitted to going into debt to try to keep up with the lifestyles she saw on Instagram, Klontz said that she was smart to hold herself accountable to a blog while she committed to living below her means in order to pay off her debt.

"She had this sense of accountability, using her blog as you might go to an AA meeting," he said. "Knowing that you're going to go to the AA meeting tomorrow sort of inspires one to stay sober today."

Whether this is a blog or a friend, knowing that you'll be held accountable can keep you from spending irresponsibly, Klontz said.

Pay attention to your finances and be honest with yourself.

Take stock of your financial situation as often as possible to make sure irresponsible spending isn't creeping up on you, Klontz said.

"Pay as much of attention to that at the end of each month," he said.






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Date: 11.12.2018, 05:19 / Views: 71581