Today it seems that we are reviewing our financial positions and are happier buying less, shunning debt and embracing minimalism. Worldwide, only four in 10 people say that money gives meaning to their lives, while five in 10 say they would actually be happier if they consumed less. A study by Havas Worldwide found that a stalling global economy and the shrinking of personal wealth are changing our attitudes about money. Consumption and debt indicate that capitalism is quickly becoming bankrupt.
Money is important, but not everything
People are cautious about debt: Nearly seven out of 10 respondents say their lives would be better if they had less debt. The primary reasons people are willing to incur debt are buying a home (50%), paying for children’s education (40%), investing in one’s own business (31%), and buying a car (27%).
Questions about capitalism
Just 40% of mainstream respondents believe that the harder a person works, the more they will earn—a contradiction of a key belief on which capitalist societies are built. 50% percent of respondents say it frustrates them to have to work so many hours just to support themselves.
Banks need to change
Consumers across the world expect banks to adapt to new technologies and take on a more personal role in customers’ lives. Fifty-nine percent of respondents say they wish they were smarter about saving money. Forty-nine percent of respondents want their financial life bundled within a single organization, and among the early adopters in the sample set (Prosumers), 55% want to pay for everything with smartphones and just as many would like to use biometric technologies for payments.
“Consumers are caught in a perfect storm of financial uncertainty: their hard work isn’t paying off, their hard-earned money is at the mercy of a stalling global economy, their desire for better money management tools remains unfulfilled and the financial future of their children looks bleak. There is no doubt that globalization and rapid advances in technology have contributed to the unfair distribution of wealth, which is at the heart of many of these issues. But companies can be as much a part of the solution as the problem. They must rewrite the contract between themselves and society, shifting their focus from creating value for shareholders, to creating value for the world at large,” said Dan Goldstein, chief strategy officer, Havas New