Advertisement Can Be Detrimental To Your Goal Of Financial Independence
Humans have the uncanny ability to overestimate their abilities and strengths. Most of us believe to be good judges of character while studies show that our impressions in the first few minutes of interacting with someone completely dictates our assessment of their future abilities (to be good employees, business partners, life partners, etc.). In fact, these initial impressions are rarely correct.
When it comes to advertising, we believe that because we didn’t purchase whatever was advertised to us on the spot that we were victorious. Advertisement doesn’t work in such a simple manner. Marketers rely on repetition, association, desensitization and a few other terms which are nerdy industry lingo.
Why Bother Avoiding Ads
Advertisements are used to help you gently part with your money. They will appeal to a part of you and make you feel that there is an unfilled need. They offer a solution and thereby satisfy a negative feeling. That negative feeling was never there before – it was created and a solution presented.
You are helpless when it comes to advertisement. No, I don’t mean ineffective advertisement like “Hey, buy my book!”. That’s not how advertising agencies work, their sophistication is layered. Every trick in the book is used by savvy ad groups – they will lie to you, cheat you, deceive your eyes, play with your senses and fail to deliver what was promised.
I think the biggest reason we should avoid advertisement is because it will hurt our savings plans, delay financial independence and create an unhappy life. When an ad constantly tells you that there is something you need which you don’t have, a part of you will feel unsatisfied, empty and unfulfilled.
When Are Ads Most Effective?
When you are most distracted, most exhausted, most stressed and when your mind is searching for answers. Any answer will do. Doesn’t matter what the question was, if your mind is in an inquisitive mode then you will become a great target.
You wanted to learn about 401k’s and when you leave the website you are suddenly thinking about your home mortgage and whether you should refinance it.
Ads don’t need to be clicked on in order for them to be effective. As a matter of fact, website owners get money for just mentioning them and usually a little more if clients click on them.
It’s the websites and sources which we trust the most which can be our worst enemy (a bit dramatic, I know). In general, you should be weary when you go on a website to learn how to save money, how to become a better investor or how to gain financial independence but leave with your subconscious getting flooded with advertisement for loans, services, and products which you don’t need.
Trust me, you don’t need them. If you needed them, you’d be looking for them.
The Current Trend Online
There are websites which I can’t even click on anymore because of the multitude of advertisement that pop up. Short of crashing my browser they also are an overload of sense stimulation. Perhaps I am more sensitive to this than the average person but I recognize the power.
People are spending less time walking around stores and spending more time on their computer and phone screens. If you have followed the news then you know that the biggest internet companies are shifting their focus away from computer-focused ads to mobile-device ads – this is a game-changing shift and is making a large impact on the tech community.
Should You Be Okay With The Double Standard?
Let’s say you like going on YouTube to learn new healthy recipes but you are constantly seeing advertisement for products which will keep you glued to a device and therefore decrease your activity level, hence, your health. Should you just suck it up and continue with your free use of YouTube?
I suppose the best question to ask yourself is how much money you think Google spends on running YouTube every month. In order to bring that service to you I’m sure it costs several hundred thousand dollars a month (I’m gonna guess several million).
They pay for this overhead by bringing in advertisers. Those advertisers must be effective at what they do otherwise they wouldn’t spend that kind of money to get a chance at your glance.
Companies spend advertising money based on their rate of return. If they spend $50,000 to put a small blurb up on YouTube but don’t see a jump in their sales then they will stop spending that money – that’s how a successful business operates.
So, the question is, should you pay the $10/month to YouTube to avoid the advertisement? Furthermore, should you avoid going to websites which have a ton of advertisement?
I think the last question is easy to answer. You shouldn’t spend much time on a website that is trying to sell you products/services. If you can get past the advertisement wall, i.e. a membership plan, then you are far better off as long as that ongoing cost is returned to you in form of future financial gains.
Doing a cost-benefit analysis would be the most scientific (nerdy) way to approach this decision. For example, if by visiting that particular website you save thousands of dollars a month and the most expensive thing they advertise to you are $5 widgets then you’re okay, even if you bought a few of them.
If that website has ads for life insurance, investment products, home refinance, personal loans, etc., then you are dealing with far costlier widgets. Should you fall for any of those products then you might be in the hole for a lot more than you could ever save through the information you gathered on that site.
Would you rather see a great surgeon who gets a set salary or a great surgeon who will make more money by doing more surgeries?
Would you rather have a financial adviser who charges you a set monthly fee or one who gets commissions by selling you financial products?
Alternative Sources Of Information
I think there are a few good websites left which don’t have much advertising that you can benefit from. They won’t be the most trendy but you can find them – ask your colleagues or financial professional.
Some websites will turn off their ads if you purchase a membership to their site. This is less common because advertisers won’t pay top dollar nor buy ad space on such websites if this option is available – you can imagine why.
Forums are another great recourse. Some will have advertisement but many won’t. Again, you have the option sometimes to have the ads turned off by purchasing a membership or paying a 1-time fee.
Books are one of my favorite ways to learn. They are often very well researched and authors often have accompanying websites which keep the information up to date. Great books are an ideal resource for other great books. You can find references to them often printed on the back pages.
Our Culture Of Cheaper & Faster
We are the children of the industrial revolution. Mass produced goods of inferior quality which are selling for cheaper are favored. BIFL is adopted by a very small percentage of the population.
When you are shopping on Amazon you can’t filter your search by “Quality” or “Longevity” but you can select “Price” or “Average Customer Review”.
The point of this blog is to help the healthcare professional to recognize value intrinsically, independent of mass media, advertisement and to not become a victim to selling strategies.
If we can recognize gimmicks then we will know when we are being offered something seemingly valuable when in fact we are simply being sold something much more expensive subversively.
In summary, I urge you to avoid advertisement. If you have streaming video or music or websites you frequent, purchase the subscription model as long as in return you can avoid advertisers. The source that is spending time and money creating that content for you will still benefit financially and you get exactly what you asked for.