Hey everyone! Today I've got a post for you from Martin with GetFiredASAP.com. A few weeks ago I did a post about millennials and video games, and this is a continuation of that post but from Australia. Really…I just wanted to prove that I'm not the only crazy person who doesn't play video games haha! ~M$M
Last Saturday, Ms MM and I took advantage of the fabulous, mild winters here in Queensland and headed out to Redcliffe, a nearby beach area here in Brisbane, to enjoy an afternoon of bike riding along the foreshore, fish and chips and a couple of craft beers on the beach.
Actually, Redcliffe is world famous for being the boy-hood home of the Bee Gees. Yes, it’s true. Check it out here. It’s where they started their musical career until they moved to England in 1967. There’s even a tribute area, Bee Gees Way, dedicated to their career, opened by Barry Gibb in 2015. Well worth checking out if you happen to be passing through the area.
But I digress. Now maybe we’re getting old, or perhaps already there, but what we saw late in the afternoon and into the evening, left us shaking our heads in disbelief. There must have been a couple of hundred people, from young kids up to middle-age adults, all wandering around in a zombie-like trance, heads slightly bowed, with mobile phones and tablets held out in front of them.
There were small groups, families, singles, and couples all doing the same thing en masse. All wandering, apparently aimlessly, staring at their screens. Some had earphones plugged in. Many had power packs plugged in.
All of them had pretty vacant looks on their faces.
Had the zombie apocalypse begun in the heart of Redcliffe? Was this a group meeting for people with crooked necks and smart phone addiction? (kills two birds with one stone if it was true). Nope, it was Pokémon Go hysteria in full force.
We were incredulous as we watched entire families of mum, dad and the kids all holding their own phones and hunting out these virtual creatures to capture. As the evening progressed, we watched these same people walking up the street, phones still held in front of them like some sort of virtual shield. Most seemed lost in their own little, virtual world. Geeze Louise, I have to say, I’ve never seen anything like it.
Now my own feelings on video games, virtual reality, and ‘augmented reality’ games is not particularly flattering. I guess it’s a result of growing up in a time when none of this existed and ‘play’ meant being outside getting dirty if the weather was reasonable, or building things with Lego if confined to the house. In other words, reality, not ‘virtual’ reality. Yeah, now I am sounding old.
I’m not going to get into a rant here, but c’mon people, what are you doing? This is herd mentality at its ‘purest’. Another example of mass-attraction to the latest fad or craze. Millions of people around the world are now participating in Pokémon to the point where its begun creating its own set of problems.
There have been reports of Pokémon hunters damaging historic sites in their quest, people have been assaulted while searching for Pokémon’s, and there has even been a report of a guy being killed in a random attack while playing.
I read the other day, that Iran has now banned their citizens from playing or participating in Pokémon Go. Yes, in Iran you can now be arrested for playing the world’s most popular virtual reality game! Hey, maybe they’re on to something there.
So what has this go to do with personal finance? Not much really except that I use this as a segue into talking about ‘herd mentality’ and how following the herd, doing what the majority are doing, is going to be instrumental in holding you back from reaching your financial goals.
Firstly, as many of us know, the majority, the herd, like to spend.
They spend what they earn and then they borrow to spend some more. And why? Because they want to keep up with what everyone else is doing. Accumulating ‘stuff’, either because they feel that it will make their lives more enjoyable, or to keep up with what their friends and family are doing. Holidays, new cars, new TVs, bigger homes, stuff, stuff, and more stuff. Just keep spending.
Secondly, how do the majority buy these more expensive items?
Save up and buy them for cash therefore avoiding wasteful interest payments? No, they buy on credit therefore often paying significantly more that the true purchase price of the item. Besides home purchase, those of us who don’t follow the herd know that if we can’t pay for something upfront, we can’t afford to buy it right now. We have to wait a little longer before we can add it to our own pile of stuff, and the side benefit of this is that by the time we can afford it, we’ve had time to reconsider whether we actually need it anyway.
Thirdly, most people follow the traditional route to retirement.
That is, work until 65’ish, then retire on what they have accumulated in their retirement fund topped up by any Government benefit payments they may be entitled to. It’s no surprise that the majority of retirees have saved insufficiently to enjoy a similar lifestyle to what they had while still working. And why? Because the herd don’t tend to plan their financial future particularly well do they.
If your financial future isn’t looking too rosy right now, maybe you don’t get paid very much, maybe you have a load of debt from buying that new car, or racked up on your credit cards, and you want to get ahead, financially, you don’t have time for playing [email protected]$# video games.
So are there any benefits to playing Pokémon Go? Supposedly, it’s got millions of people around the world, off the couch and outside getting some exercise. Barrrrrrp, wrong. It’s got millions of people off the couch cluttering up the streets and public spaces. I have yet to see any single one of them doing any proper exercise. So I suspect that the only benefits from PG are for Nintendo and the clever people who developed the game, and the mobile phone companies who are raking in the money from all of the additional data you are using. Please forgive me if I’ve missed anything but if anyone can educate me on the benefits to the players, I’m all ears.
So what are you going to do? Follow the crowd? Be like everyone else spending what you earn and then borrowing to spend even more? Or are you going to break free of the herd? Run your own race and do what you have to reach your own financial goals? And finally, are you going to keep giving even more of your hard earned stash to the mobile phone companies just to follow the herd? Or will you wise up and put it towards your own financial future?