Social Media Linked to Increased Personal Debt

Be careful. That Facebook tab you have open may cause you to increase the amount of debt you carry and derail your goals.

In essence, social media can cause a form of keeping up with the digital Joneses.

Think I am joking?

The BBC did a study on Facebook that showed that the more people used Facebook, the worse they felt.

The team also recognized that the more people used Facebook, the more the satisfaction in their own lives decreased.

So, what does this have to do with getting yourself into financial trouble?

It’s called the Fear of Missing Out (FOMO). Many users of social media find themselves experiencing a form of social anxiety when they view the virtual lives of others.

As Martin describes a conversation he had with two young ladies:

I met two young ladies from South Africa that told me all about “FOMO” and “getting launched.” According to them, whenever they feel like staying in, they think of FOMO and then suddenly they get launched into going out because their friends make them feel bad about missing out on what could be an instant classic of a night.

If you’ve decided to stay in for the night, but you see all the fun your friends are having, you are more likely launch yourself into spending money so you have something to show for it online.

Even the best of us are not immune to FOMO.

I will admit that I’ve been swallowed whole, from time to time, on the fear of mission out.

With over 11,000 connections online (at the time of this writing), I witness people traveling to beautiful locations, going to awesome parties, and buying the latest gadgets.

My heart swoons when I see brilliantly vivid pictures of fabulous moments I could only hope to experience some time in my life.

But I do not live their lives nor do you live the lives of those you’re connected with online.

Keeping FOMO from completely destroying your goals, dreams, and finances.

Alas, there is no true cure for the fear of missing out but there are a few things you can do to mitigate the effects.

  1. Limit your time on social media. Social media is a communication tool and not a lifestyle. If social media is not being used for success, then it is being used incorrectly.
  2. Live a life that not only inspires you but also inspires those around you. Check out Highly Recommended by Jay Baer for great tips on how to successfully build your brand online through social media. Jay speaks about how it is important to live a life that is highly recommendable rather than mirroring others.
  3. Keep your financial goals a priority. Yes, it is nice that others are spending a lot of money doing and buying things that you would love but that doesn’t mean they are debt free. You’d be amazed at how many people are on the edge of bankruptcy but put on a good show to others. Don’t fall pray to the show. Stick with your goals.
  4. Stop trying to impress others – they really don’t care. I’m sorry to be honest here but people are really not thinking about you all the time so going out of your way to impress them only harms yourself. Your true friends (online and offline) will engage with you regardless of how much money you spend.
  5. Be yourself above all else. It’s time to think about who you are and what you want to share with the world. In all honesty, some of my highest engaged content online had nothing to do with money but rather a passion of mine. People gravitate towards passion more than money.

Ultimately, you’re going to fear that you’re missing out on something and it will never go away. Just remember that you owe it to yourself to stay true to your goals and not waste money trying to impress people online.

It’s okay to stay in instead of going to midnight karaoke.

It’s okay to brew your own coffee at home instead of posting pictures of every latte art across the city.

It’s okay to read business books checked out of the library instead of spending a fortune going to that “must attend” business conference.

Don’t underestimate the power of being you and being true to your life, goals, and dreams.

No amount of money can buy that kind of power.

Question: Have you experienced the fear of missing out when it comes social media? What tips can you give to others?


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