Saturday, September 19, 2020
News, analysis and commentary by UBC Journalism students


La, La, La, we’re not listening

An earth-shattering survey recently revealed that over half of Canadians under the age of 50 are frittering away their disposable…

By Amy Hadley , in Blogs Consumerland , on February 8, 2008

An earth-shattering survey recently revealed that over half of Canadians under the age of 50 are frittering away their disposable incomes with nary a thought of the future.

According to a survey bearing the clumsy name “The Burn Rater Test,” almost a quarter of respondents are “overspenders” (apparently that’s one word now). About 30% of respondents “show overspending tendencies.”

It isn’t the first time that Mackenzie Investments, who commissioned the study, have reported on the grasshopper-like tendencies of Canadians, particularly younger or female Canadians. We rack up credit, we impulse buy, we lie about our spending and we’re catching up to Americans in terms of lack of personal savings. Blah, blah, blah.

Geez, Mackenzie Investments, what are you like, my Dad?

As a young Canadian female, I take offence to your implied judgment of our hip, high roller lifestyle. Next thing you’ll be telling us that buying new cars or homes when we’re already in debt could have serious consequences for the overall economy, or preaching that my kid doesn’t really need that cell-phone, or 15 webkinz.

I guess you think that the kids can play with – I don’t know – wood blocks or something, and use their “imaginations.” Right, like those exist.

It’s not like we’re completely irresponsible. 77% of respondents said that they haven’t gone financially overboard when it comes to entertaining family or friends. At least we’re not spending too much on others, or on fostering strong community ties.

I only spend on the important things: me. Or, really important cultural events that are absolutely essential to our functioning as a healthy society, like that very special one just around the corner: Valentines Day.

Ah, yes, you may criticize our generational tendency to consume as a way to deal with widespread depression, self-obsession and self-doubt, and point to February 14th as a shining example. But you’re ignoring the fulfilling aspect of this rich cultural tradition and the necessary purchases that go with it.

Now, let’s see. I’m going to need to get some clothes and lingerie to make myself feel pretty. I’ll pick up some Looney Toons valentines for all of my classmates, so that they all have cute, pun printed proof of our friendship. I’ll buy chocolates just because I can’t resist the displays. Some wine to drink alone…

I’m feeling better already. So relax, the future is nowhere near yet.