For all practical purposes, mass media like radio and television is cost-free to whomever cares to tune into what’s being offered. Even if you don’t own a television or radio, savegeeks it’s difficult to escape the constant chatter and flashy images in restaurants, waiting rooms, lounges, and even departure gates at the airport. With all of the free media we are bombarded with on a daily basis, one might ask who is paying for it. After all, the people who put together the news, talk shows, and other sources of “info-tainment” have to be paid – it’s their job – and they’re paid very well.
The simple answer is the audience pays the tab – if only indirectly. The media makes its money from advertisers who make their money from product and service providers, creditcana who in turn make their money from sales that are made by media viewers, listeners and readers who are influenced by advertising campaigns. This is how media can have an adverse effect on personal finances across a broad spectrum of the audience. Let me show you how, so you can see why popular media in general isn’t good for your personal financial outlook.
Advertisers know the demographics of readers, expresstrue listeners and viewers. It’s very much an art as well as a science. Commercial advertising in mass media is designed to target specific audiences by age, gender, income, culture and interest. Billions of dollars are spent on advertising each year to stir discretionary spending among members of the audience. And, it works quite well. If it didn’t, it wouldn’t exist.
Since advertising works, we need to understand timesgym how it works on us – those who indirectly pay for it – so we’ll be better prepared to combat its adverse effect on our personal finances. Advertising is designed to compel us to spend money to alleviate the dissatisfaction with our lives that is generated when we view or listen to the advertisement. To understand this, we need to see what advertising is telling us. Quite often, we’re told and shown that we could:
- be in fashion
- smell better
- live a happier life
- enjoy more popularity
- have a better appearance
- join in the fun
- get out of trouble
- make our life easier
- be more accepted by others
- enhance our level of comfort
- cure our ills
- have more self-satisfaction
Wow, that’s quite a list. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we really could do all of those things? Those who are advertising products and services hope that you’ll part with money in an attempt to achieve one or more of the things that they promote. The key is they’re playing on a very strong instinct that we humans have – hope. It’s a basic hope that tomorrow will be better than today. One of the main thrusts of advertising is to promote products and services as part of that hope for a better tomorrow.
So, how do we guard against unwise spending that is encouraged by those who deliberately try to convince us that we’re dissatisfied with our lives depotblue and need to spend money to fix the “problem” they have brought to our attention? I have a few suggestions that I trust you’ll implement.
1. Reduce the frequency and duration of your exposure to popular media. Better yet, refuse to participate in the info-tainment culture that we have created – turn your back on watching others and instead get out and do something that invests in yourself. How much time do you suppose the average successful entrepreneur wastes in front of the television each day?
2. Turn off the TV or radio, change the channel, mute the sound, leave the room, or simply engage in another activity when advertising is presented.
3. Recognize the difference between what you need and what you want, and stay focused on your needs – things that are essential in your life – irrespective of what advertisers say is good to have. If you’re not tending to your needs, there is no hope of a better tomorrow, no matter what purchase you might make.
4. Make a deliberate focus on being achievement oriented, instead of entertainment oriented. That means you spend time thinking and planning about important things in your life instead of paying attention to the world of info-tainment. Every hour you don’t spend in front of “the tube” means another hour you can spend on achieving success for yourself.
5. Move your television to an area of the home that isn’t a central focus of family activities.
Media in America has a tremendous influence on how we see the world. And, advertising in the media is very influential with respect to how we spend our discretionary income, and what we do with spare time that could otherwise be productive in nature. Be someone who is too busy doing their own thing, and being very satisfied about it, to simply sit around and watch others. It’s the watchers who advertisers are counting on to be convinced that their lives need something additional to be more fully satisfying. If you’re out there making a great life for yourself instead of watching others, you’ll seldom be dissatisfied, and you’ll have the best reason on earth to be hopeful.