The True Cost of #FOMO

The True Cost of #FOMO

In the age of social media, the fear of missing out (FOMO) has become a real thing. It starts off slow: First, you get the travel itch when you see your friends post about their epic adventures. Nothing wrong with wanting a little adventure in your life, but are you ready to commit thousands of dollars on a trip?

Then you realize FOMO can also be remedied. You start picturing yourself eating at the same nice restaurants that your friends have posted on Instagram®. A few clicks later, and you have a reservation. Sometimes they live up to the hype, while other times they don't, but at least now you can say you've tried that hot new food trend, right?

FOMO is no laughing matter. Twenty-six percent of Canadians admitted to having it, according to a recent study by RateHub*. Of those, 48% are millennials (between the ages of 25 and 34) while just 9% are boomers (aged 55+). This isn't terribly surprising since FOMO mainly comes from social media and millennials are online the most.

It's pretty clear that FOMO drives some decision-making, with 25% of those surveyed saying that FOMO is their main motivation to shop. Left unchecked, our shopping can quickly get out of hand.

Seventy percent of Canadians surveyed believe 25% of their debt comes from FOMO. Of those, 21% have debt of between $5,000 and $10,000 while 13% carry a debtload of between $2,501 and $5,000.

FOMO can get people carried away, so it's smart to try to keep it in check. As millennials progress in their careers, they may use their FOMO mentality when it comes to purchasing a home or car. Even if their income may not justify the purchase prices, the fear of missing out could convince them otherwise.

Their friends have beautiful homes, nice cars, and always seem to be travelling, so they should too, right?

Traditionally this was known as "keeping up with the Joneses," but that term is has grown stale. FOMO is the new Jonses, and way too many of us are getting caught with it.

5 signs that you may be suffering from FOMO

  • You constantly check social media to see what others are up to
  • You buy expensive items you don't need and spend more than you earn
  • You constantly picture yourself with the things your friends have
  • You accept every invite to go out for dinner or other social engagements even if you can't afford to
  • You go on exotic trips or weekend getaways just to show off

Alyssa Furtado is founder and CEO of RateHub.ca, a website that compares mortgage rates, credit cards and deposit rates with the goal to empower Canadians to search smarter and save money.

*Survey Methodology: From April 21 to May 16, 2016 an online survey was conducted among 874 Canadian adults who are RateHub.ca users.

Instagram is a registered trademark of Instagram, Inc.

 Written by Alyssa Furtado. This article originally appeared on Tangerine’s site: Forward Thinking.

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