29 May Is the convenience of technology worth the cost?
I was recalling recently the introduction of colour television in my household, and the excitement of watching the Christchurch Commonwealth Games in 1974 – in colour! (I know that I’m showing my age by admitting to this!)
It’s interesting though how time has changed since then and, with the introduction of more and more new technologies, we have all seen the cost of ‘daily living’ increase phenomenally.
There are unlimited options now available to us, that all form the ‘must haves’ of life today… Our telephone line now provides us with the option of receiving broadband to access the internet, plus we can have messages left for us, know a second call is incoming and use the internet at the same time as being on the phone. What happened to dialling up for the internet? It’s now deemed too slow. The outcome though is that this one household bill went from $30 – $40 per month, to now mostly likely $100 plus per month.
With the introduction of cell phones, we can have instant communication with our family and friends – 24/7. It takes the worry out of not knowing where your children are and if they need picking up, but consider how much this is costing a typical household? And it’s not just the affluent that choose to use this technology, it’s considered vital for basically every Kiwi over the age of ten.
How and when we watch TV has also changed considerably, with the option of pay TV and the facility to ‘record and watch’ in our own time. Multi decoders now allow a family to go off and watch their favourite show, in different rooms, on their own. Not so great for quality family time, is it? But additionally, it’s all costing us. I recently heard of a family of four having four decoders, in different rooms, to achieve this and adding $75 per month to their household bills in the process.
The choices are there, easily accessible and numerous. What’s more, we’re told we deserve to have it all and we’ve become increasingly good at turning ‘wants’ into ‘needs’ in justifying our busy lifestyles and to ‘keep up with the Joneses’. There is not only the additional financial commitments that these technologies create, but the capital outlay to buy the latest and greatest at the time too.
So, where does this leave your household expenditure? Sadly, we’re seeing more and more being committed to maintain our lifestyle and less available to secure our financial success.
Are we working today to pay for yesterday’s lifestyle choices or are we working to improve tomorrow?
Is it time that we start redressing our priorities?
This information is of a general nature and is not deemed a ‘Personalised Advice Service’ as defined by the Financial Adviser Act (FAA) 2008.
Authorised Financial Adviser – FSP 76241
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