Schuh: A few thoughts on spending money
By Jim Schuh
A few thoughts on spending – we spend money and we spend time.
As Father’s Day approaches this Sunday, and Mother’s Day a very recent memory, I wonder how much time we spend with our parents. They appreciate our time spent with them much more than the money we spend on them. Those worldly gestures are nice, but they can’t measure up to the time we invest interacting with them.
But while physical gifts aren’t all that important, they are something moms and dads appreciate. Nearly all of us have shown our love by giving our parents presents on Mother’s Day and Father’s Day.
Here’s a question for you: Do we love each parent equally? “Yes” is the obvious answer, but our level of giving may signal otherwise.
As proof, I offer you statistics from the National Retail Federation. That organization tracks how much money we spend for our moms on Mother’s Day and for our dads on Father’s Day. Their numbers show that mom wins. There’s just something special about moms!
Let’s get to the results. There’s good news for merchants and retailers – the prediction for Father’s Day spending this year is that it will reach an all-time high. The Retail Federation says that we’re going to spend $16 billion on gifts for our dads this Sunday.
Six in ten children will buy dad a Father’s Day card.Nearly half will take him on a special outing, and more than 40 per cent will get him an article of clothing (an ugly tie?) or a gift card so dad can buy something he really wants.
About one in five of us will give dad a book or compact disc, a personal care item (after shave’s a favorite) or an electronic gadget. The rest of us will choose tools or appliances, home improvement or gardening supplies, sporting goods or something else.
In any event, the retailer’s federation says over the past decade, we’ve increased our spending for Father’s Day gifts significantly – by 70 percent. The organization also says consumers between the ages of 35 and 44 will increase their spending on dad the most – to nearly $200 each.
The $16 billion we spend on our dads is a healthy sum, but the retail federation says this year, we spent a record $25 billion on our moms for Mother’s Day. We bought them mostly flowers, greeting cards and took them out for dinner, but we also gave them gift cards, clothing and jewelry.
Here’s a key statistic – this year’s expenditure on moms was nine billion more than we’re spending on dads. I’ll let you draw your own conclusions on what that means, but I do know that we owe our parents much more than what we spend on gifts for them each Mother’s and Father’s Day. And again, they treasure spending time with us much more than anything we could buy them.
We “spend” on other things, too – time on mobile devices, for example. These gadgets are so handy and too many of us have allowed them to take over parts of our lives. It’s nearly impossible to go anywhere these days and not see someone on a mobile device.
In any event, something telling has happened – Americans now spend more time on mobile devices than watching TV. I confess I never saw that coming.
A research firm – eMarketer – tell us American adults now spend three-hours and 43-minutes each day on smartphones and tablets – that’s eight minutes more than we spend watching TV.
I don’t know about you, but I still spend much more time peering at the TV screen than on my cellphone. That means somebody else is spending the time on their cellphones that I don’t. (I hope they’re not doing what I spotted the other day – a young man riding his bicycle “no hands” on a busy street typingon his cellphone.)
Anyway, not all the time Americans spend on cellphones is talking with friends. Some of it is checking social media to look at what’s streaming on various platforms. You can decide if that’s time well-spent!
Here’s some disquieting news: As more of us spend time on cellphones and tablets, politicians are looking for additional ways to reach us with their messages. The British advertising and public relations company WPP says office seekers will be spending more money than ever before on advertising for the upcoming 2020 elections.
The company is predicting U.S. politicians will outlay $9.9 billion for ads ahead of the elections across all platforms. That’s a significant increase — $3.6 billion – over what they spent in 2016, and $1.2 billion more than all political ad spending last year.
If you got sick of all the political ads in 2018, stock up on stomach medication soon. Political ads will be everywhere – on TV, on your smartphones and social media, in newspapers, on billboards.
I offer you this bit of information to give you plenty of lead time to develop methods and strategies to avoid them. It looks to me as if we need to take these actions to maintain our sound mental health!