This past weekend I decided to go out and brave my weekly grocery shopping. I try to shop either early in the morning or evening to avoid crowds. I was struck by how full the shelves were at the end of the evening before restocking. It was a stark contrast to March and April when COVID was just digging its heels in. At that time, it became increasingly difficult to find bathroom tissue, disinfectant cleaners, meats, and so on. So why, with COVID effecting more people now with more than half the states hitting record high infection rates daily than at the height of the first wave, is it so much easier to find the staples that we need? When other countries are again shutting down and many of our hospitals are at their breaking point, why haven’t we seen another run on the grocery stores? To top it off, we are going into the holiday season, many people are still are out of work, our country is politically unstable, there is a lot of uncertainty around the future of healthcare, social security, Medicare, the stock market is swinging like a loose pendulum, and the list goes on and on. Yet, people are still very actively engaged and personal spending is on the uptick, even on big ticket items like homes. It baffles the mind. Why?
Think back to the last car you purchased. How long did it take you to make the purchase? Did you upgrade and pay more than you originally intended to get those cool features you never knew you needed or even existed until the sales person pointed out the “better model”? When you purchased your home or rented your apartment, did you end up with a higher purchase and payment because you could not do without that extra square footage, or the clubhouse to make your apartment more luxurious? Remember the feeling of saying to yourself that you deserve this, you’ve worked hard enough and secretly thought your friends and family would be just a little bit envious?
One of the first lessons I was taught when I was training to become a financial advisor was how to use emotion to make a sell. Of course, this sounds like coercion doesn’t it? Honestly, it can be. It’s no different than the music that is picked at the grocery store or the smell of scented candles at your favorite store at the mall. Those things are all subtle entrapments, a way for you to feed on your emotions and spend, spend, spend. As consumers we all need to stop and think what is happening before we pull out our wallets, sign on the dotted line AND make a purchase via internet. It's even more prudent for you as patients to be careful how and where you spend your money.
Every year, many people fall prey to online scammers, handymen and businesses. Unfortunately, the majority of victims are the elderly, women, and people who are sick or vulnerable. Be careful about phone calls asking about personal information, pop-ups on your computer that prompt you to buy something, phone calls about your income taxes, charities, social security, credit cards and insurance. Never give out personal information without verifying who the person is and if they are legitimate. Don’t let anyone pressure you to buy something or threaten you with arrest. The longer they keep you on the phone, the more likely you are to cave in to their request. Don’t be afraid to get their information including the phone number and tell them you will call them back. Most reputable businesses will comply.
Everything we purchase including necessities are purchased on emotions; boredom, fear, greed, stress, anger, misaligned happiness, and a need to prove something. The trick is to always determine the need, the benefit, and the complete cost.
Be diligent about rooting out scammers and try to Keep your Emotions Out of It!!
Diahanna is a Financial Coach with the Myeloma Coach program. She and other Coaches with experience in financial issues can provide support, and resources to help you navigate the cost of myeloma treatment. You can find and connect with Diahanna and other Coaches at: www.myelomacoach.org.
about the author
Diahanna is the Financial Program Manager for the HealthTree Foundation, specializing in financial help for multiple myeloma and AML patients. As a professional financial consultant and former caregiver of her husband who was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, Diahanna perfectly understands the financial issues facing myeloma patients.