An Expensive Disease Called FOMO?

It turns out that vast numbers of people in their 20s and 30s have a new condition called FOMO, which stands for Fear Of Missing Out.

Having grown up with social media, their priority is not buying stuff, but buying experiences. Whether it’s the super cool holiday, the sold-out concert, a trip to the Grey Cup, the safari to Africa, or whatever interests them. Everybody can buy a sofa or big screen TV, but their spending priorities are on experiences, so as not to feel left out when their friends post some of theirs on social media.

While their parents or grandparents may have accidentally lucked out in being at Woodstock, or having seen Elvis in concert – it’s a financial priority for this generation. While I’m a little bit envious, I wonder if our older generations aren’t better off financially because of our different priorities.

Experiences cost a lot more money. They’re also a one-off in that it’s the trip, the concert, and then it’s over, and the big bucks are spent. We certainly don’t need a lot more “stuff” in our life or our homes, older generations have also spent money. They’ve spent it on a television, dining room furniture, a sofa and the likes that may last a decade vs. a one-off experience. Which is better? That depends on the priorities of the person doing the spending.

Today’s 18 to 30 year olds don’t want to own things – they only want access to things. No box of DVDs, just streaming. No CD, but gotta have iTunes. No car, just ride shares or day rentals. No books, just kindle. Makes me wonder how ready retailers are for this group being the largest in the country. As a reminder, Blockbusters refused an offer to sell their business to a start-up called Netflix for $50 billion. Blockbusters is now just a memory and Netflix is worth over $65 billion.

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