Not just rich people buy Playstations and Xbox’s

There’s a meme out there that only rich people will be able to afford Playstation 3’s. That’s bulls**t.

Let me tell you how it works in the US of A. You walk into Best Buy. Ask for a credit application. Fill it out. They approve you for $10,000 on the spot (as long as you’ve paid all your credit card bills on time). You head over to the big screen department, pick out your $4,000 big screen and your $600 Playstation 3, and a $500 HD-DVD drive. Then you pay something like $140 per month in payments.

Can’t afford that much? Then get a screen that costs about $1,500 instead.

Now, how much is that? Well, a movie, hotdog, and Coke, for four people will cost you about $60. So, for two movies with your family you can afford a kick ass bigscreen and gaming system.

There is WAY too much being made about the price of these things.

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188 thoughts on “Not just rich people buy Playstations and Xbox’s

  1. Cristian: good point. Half the world’s people live on $2 a day. But, clearly, they aren’t in the target market for HDTV gadgets.

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  2. Cristian: good point. Half the world’s people live on $2 a day. But, clearly, they aren’t in the target market for HDTV gadgets.

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  3. yes, because spending the money you don’t actually have is the American way? And totally not what gets so many people in trouble.

    And by the way, its more something like catching 85 movies with this family (based on your TV+PS3+DVD combo).

    $600 (and you can bet there will be a markup on the EU sales) remains a high price for a gaming system.

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  4. yes, because spending the money you don’t actually have is the American way? And totally not what gets so many people in trouble.

    And by the way, its more something like catching 85 movies with this family (based on your TV+PS3+DVD combo).

    $600 (and you can bet there will be a markup on the EU sales) remains a high price for a gaming system.

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  5. @3 On top of that, what intelligent person that understands anything about personal finance opens a credit account with Best Buy?

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  6. @3 On top of that, what intelligent person that understands anything about personal finance opens a credit account with Best Buy?

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  7. Dude, stop with the analogies. It only makes sense if you plan to go to more than one movie a month. The movie viewing numbers don’t support that level of frequency. But, hey, it’s not me that has to rationalize their rather poorly thought out credit card purchases.

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  8. Dude, stop with the analogies. It only makes sense if you plan to go to more than one movie a month. The movie viewing numbers don’t support that level of frequency. But, hey, it’s not me that has to rationalize their rather poorly thought out credit card purchases.

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  9. Yes, well, also in the US of A, no one is saving any money for retirement. Putting something like this on a credit card is absurd and quite frankly, irresponsible. Save your money people; last time I checked no one is predicting Social Security to be around in 30 years.

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  10. Yes, well, also in the US of A, no one is saving any money for retirement. Putting something like this on a credit card is absurd and quite frankly, irresponsible. Save your money people; last time I checked no one is predicting Social Security to be around in 30 years.

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  11. I wonder what the APR is? 19%? Sorry, this is one American that does not believe in credit! I agree with Michiel. If I cannot afford it I won’t buy it.

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  12. I wonder what the APR is? 19%? Sorry, this is one American that does not believe in credit! I agree with Michiel. If I cannot afford it I won’t buy it.

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  13. LayZ: I know a lot of families who go out to more than one movie a month. Especially poor families. Rich families do things like go to Sting concerts.

    I love the “save your money” kinds of folks. But you’d rather me go to a movie or go out for a dinner with Patrick and Maryam instead of stay at home and spend some money on a credit bill.

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  14. LayZ: I know a lot of families who go out to more than one movie a month. Especially poor families. Rich families do things like go to Sting concerts.

    I love the “save your money” kinds of folks. But you’d rather me go to a movie or go out for a dinner with Patrick and Maryam instead of stay at home and spend some money on a credit bill.

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  15. Most people have a cell phone, and the list price of those is around the same. As you pointed out, it is a question of how to structure the payments.

    Now if you could pay ‘x’ per month, get a PS3 upfront, and a game of your choice each ‘y’ months, then that would be very compelling!

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  16. Most people have a cell phone, and the list price of those is around the same. As you pointed out, it is a question of how to structure the payments.

    Now if you could pay ‘x’ per month, get a PS3 upfront, and a game of your choice each ‘y’ months, then that would be very compelling!

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  17. I agree for the most part. If you have a job and credit history, you can get credit quite easily. But it does affect those kids who mow lawns in the summer to save up for a console and games. They won’t be able to walk into a Best Buy and be handed $10K in credit. I suspect many of those who are price sensitive will go with the Wii anyway. I need a family console with games geared to my young kids as well as myself and spouse and the Wii seems to fit the bill with excellent franchise games.

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  18. I agree for the most part. If you have a job and credit history, you can get credit quite easily. But it does affect those kids who mow lawns in the summer to save up for a console and games. They won’t be able to walk into a Best Buy and be handed $10K in credit. I suspect many of those who are price sensitive will go with the Wii anyway. I need a family console with games geared to my young kids as well as myself and spouse and the Wii seems to fit the bill with excellent franchise games.

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  19. The catch is what will the masses do? Companies do not care about the few individuals that use their common sense when it comes to spending money, they make money off the masses that care about image, status, etc. at whatever cost and there are millions of those people around.

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  20. The catch is what will the masses do? Companies do not care about the few individuals that use their common sense when it comes to spending money, they make money off the masses that care about image, status, etc. at whatever cost and there are millions of those people around.

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  21. I can tell you that here in Romania, friends of mine, age 30-40, family guys and stuff, buy more computer games (money spent, ranging $100-$200 / month) then 15 year old kids.

    Credits, mortgages and others are SO much easier to get today, especially in not so developed countries.

    Anyway, Playstation’s and Xbox’s are amongst the highest sold game consoles in the world.

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  22. I can tell you that here in Romania, friends of mine, age 30-40, family guys and stuff, buy more computer games (money spent, ranging $100-$200 / month) then 15 year old kids.

    Credits, mortgages and others are SO much easier to get today, especially in not so developed countries.

    Anyway, Playstation’s and Xbox’s are amongst the highest sold game consoles in the world.

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  23. I dunno, but I’d rather spend my 600 bucks on something else – and I was an earlier adopter of both PS1 and PS2. I’m the person that Sony should be worried about, because for 600 bucks (and a rumored 85 for games?!?!?!) I say no thanks.

    I’ll buy a $279 Wii instead.

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  24. I dunno, but I’d rather spend my 600 bucks on something else – and I was an earlier adopter of both PS1 and PS2. I’m the person that Sony should be worried about, because for 600 bucks (and a rumored 85 for games?!?!?!) I say no thanks.

    I’ll buy a $279 Wii instead.

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  25. $60 for a movie for a family of four? I hope you watch movies with table service and plush leather seats because none of my local cinemas (Santa Monica/Beverley Hills/West LA) are anywhere near as expensive.

    Also you neglect to mention the cost of incidentals for the PS3/Blu-ray/HD-DVD. A PS3 game will set you back $60, and a BR/HD-DVD movies, that you can pickup on DVD for about $15, will cost you upwards of $25. That isn’t chump-change for a family of four.

    Aside from the terrible message contained in your post, the finanically-plush and the financially-irresponsible may be able to pick up a PS3, but those demographics certainly aren’t mass-market. I personally think the PS3 is tremendous value given the fact it includes a Blu-ray player, but that’s my informed opinion. To the average consumer, and average doesn’t describe people looking to spend $10k on HDTV goods, $600 dollars is hideously expensive and more expensive than most of the electronics in their homes.

    Price is very much a concern for the PS3. It’s silly to suggest otherwise.

    PS – The whole tone of your post is quite offensive. In the ‘good old US of A’ the figures you are talking about are considerable sums of money to the majority of the population. Are you really that out of touch with the level of wealth in your own nation?

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  26. $60 for a movie for a family of four? I hope you watch movies with table service and plush leather seats because none of my local cinemas (Santa Monica/Beverley Hills/West LA) are anywhere near as expensive.

    Also you neglect to mention the cost of incidentals for the PS3/Blu-ray/HD-DVD. A PS3 game will set you back $60, and a BR/HD-DVD movies, that you can pickup on DVD for about $15, will cost you upwards of $25. That isn’t chump-change for a family of four.

    Aside from the terrible message contained in your post, the finanically-plush and the financially-irresponsible may be able to pick up a PS3, but those demographics certainly aren’t mass-market. I personally think the PS3 is tremendous value given the fact it includes a Blu-ray player, but that’s my informed opinion. To the average consumer, and average doesn’t describe people looking to spend $10k on HDTV goods, $600 dollars is hideously expensive and more expensive than most of the electronics in their homes.

    Price is very much a concern for the PS3. It’s silly to suggest otherwise.

    PS – The whole tone of your post is quite offensive. In the ‘good old US of A’ the figures you are talking about are considerable sums of money to the majority of the population. Are you really that out of touch with the level of wealth in your own nation?

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  27. As for HD-DVD, I belong to Netflix. One movie costs about $2 to rent.

    And, no, I’m not out of touch with the level of wealth in my own nation. Have you walked around a so-called “poor” neighborhood lately? I see big screens in almost every home.

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  28. As for HD-DVD, I belong to Netflix. One movie costs about $2 to rent.

    And, no, I’m not out of touch with the level of wealth in my own nation. Have you walked around a so-called “poor” neighborhood lately? I see big screens in almost every home.

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  29. As for movie costs. Here’s what I get charged locally for a family of four.

    Two adults at $10 each: $20.
    Two kids at $7 each: $14.
    Four hotdogs at $3.50 each: $14.
    Four Cokes at $3.50 each: $14.

    That comes to $62 and we haven’t even bought Maryam her favorite gummy worms yet.

    Oh, and that doesn’t include the opportunity cost of sitting through 25 minutes (or more) of advertising.

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  30. As for movie costs. Here’s what I get charged locally for a family of four.

    Two adults at $10 each: $20.
    Two kids at $7 each: $14.
    Four hotdogs at $3.50 each: $14.
    Four Cokes at $3.50 each: $14.

    That comes to $62 and we haven’t even bought Maryam her favorite gummy worms yet.

    Oh, and that doesn’t include the opportunity cost of sitting through 25 minutes (or more) of advertising.

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  31. Steph: it’s like a car payment. You pay for five years. A TV and Xbox will last five years. Yeah, you overpay due to interest. But most people really don’t care, especially when I pay more for my cell phone every month.

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  32. Steph: it’s like a car payment. You pay for five years. A TV and Xbox will last five years. Yeah, you overpay due to interest. But most people really don’t care, especially when I pay more for my cell phone every month.

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  33. Andrew: that’s true. More than half the world’s population lives on about $2 a day. But I’m talking about people in the average American suburb like Milpitas, Jersey City, Orlando, Chicago, etc.

    Wealth is all relative. Take the average poor guy out of Oakland, for instance, and put him into a third-world country and you’ll have someone who is probably the richest guy in the area.

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  34. Andrew: that’s true. More than half the world’s population lives on about $2 a day. But I’m talking about people in the average American suburb like Milpitas, Jersey City, Orlando, Chicago, etc.

    Wealth is all relative. Take the average poor guy out of Oakland, for instance, and put him into a third-world country and you’ll have someone who is probably the richest guy in the area.

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  35. Wow, Robert. Way to be fiscally responsible. I especially like how you defend everything by “I’d rather ___ with my son right now.” After all, it’s not like you’re ever going to need money in the future for things like, oh, his college tuition. Or your and your wife’s retirement. Or if anyone in your family falls on hard times, due to loss of a job or illness.

    Don’t buy things you can’t afford, and don’t encourage people to spend more than they can afford. It’s stupid and cruel, and reflects extremely poorly on you.

    Oh yeah, my full-1080p HDTV? I waited until I could afford it before I bought it. And unlike on Scoble’s vanted much-more-expensive HDTV that he’s going to be paying off for a while, even a regular DVD and regular PlayStation 2 games look great on mine.

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  36. Wow, Robert. Way to be fiscally responsible. I especially like how you defend everything by “I’d rather ___ with my son right now.” After all, it’s not like you’re ever going to need money in the future for things like, oh, his college tuition. Or your and your wife’s retirement. Or if anyone in your family falls on hard times, due to loss of a job or illness.

    Don’t buy things you can’t afford, and don’t encourage people to spend more than they can afford. It’s stupid and cruel, and reflects extremely poorly on you.

    Oh yeah, my full-1080p HDTV? I waited until I could afford it before I bought it. And unlike on Scoble’s vanted much-more-expensive HDTV that he’s going to be paying off for a while, even a regular DVD and regular PlayStation 2 games look great on mine.

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  37. I’m afraid social commentary really isn’t your métier, Mr Scoble.

    First we have the comment about getting credit “as long as you’ve paid all your credit card bills on time”. For thousands of families, that’s exactly the problem. Because of exactly what you’ve suggested, personal bankruptcies are at record levels in the UK, and I imagine things are pretty similar in the US. Yes, credit can be useful as long as it’s under control; the trouble starts when, for whatever reason, it gets out of control, and going out and boosting your debts by five thousand dollars is a great way to achieve that.

    Your later comment “I see big screens in almost every home” is just insulting, with its implied meaning of “How can they be poor if they’ve got a nice TV?” There was a politician over here (Michael Portillo) who said something similar about video recorders a few years ago and paid the price for his insensitivity at the next election. TV is actually a cheap way of entertaining a family.

    I love reading your blog, but I wish you’d stop to think before posting sometimes.

    Rob

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  38. I’m afraid social commentary really isn’t your métier, Mr Scoble.

    First we have the comment about getting credit “as long as you’ve paid all your credit card bills on time”. For thousands of families, that’s exactly the problem. Because of exactly what you’ve suggested, personal bankruptcies are at record levels in the UK, and I imagine things are pretty similar in the US. Yes, credit can be useful as long as it’s under control; the trouble starts when, for whatever reason, it gets out of control, and going out and boosting your debts by five thousand dollars is a great way to achieve that.

    Your later comment “I see big screens in almost every home” is just insulting, with its implied meaning of “How can they be poor if they’ve got a nice TV?” There was a politician over here (Michael Portillo) who said something similar about video recorders a few years ago and paid the price for his insensitivity at the next election. TV is actually a cheap way of entertaining a family.

    I love reading your blog, but I wish you’d stop to think before posting sometimes.

    Rob

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  39. Also, Robert?

    Only total dorks write things like “bullsh**t”. Have some guts and say “bullshit” when you mean it. Really, nothing says “totally lame” like replacing just part of a curse, as if somehow your delicate sensibilities can’t handle the act of writing the full thing out.

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  40. Also, Robert?

    Only total dorks write things like “bullsh**t”. Have some guts and say “bullshit” when you mean it. Really, nothing says “totally lame” like replacing just part of a curse, as if somehow your delicate sensibilities can’t handle the act of writing the full thing out.

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  41. Rob: I’m just passing along what I observe. One of my brother-in-laws drives a bus in Wales. Another lives in Milpitas, which isn’t a high end neighborhood. I see tons of big screens in both. If noting that makes me an insensitive boob, OK.

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  42. ok, so only rich and upper middle class people can afford a ps3 😛

    seriously, for MOST people $140 is a lot! i always thought you were liberal! 😛

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  43. ok, so only rich and upper middle class people can afford a ps3 😛

    seriously, for MOST people $140 is a lot! i always thought you were liberal! 😛

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  44. Rob: I’m just passing along what I observe. One of my brother-in-laws drives a bus in Wales. Another lives in Milpitas, which isn’t a high end neighborhood. I see tons of big screens in both. If noting that makes me an insensitive boob, OK.

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  45. In UK we are constantly being warned by the Government about the ‘evils’ of consumer credit, but that doesn’t stop us from being billions £ in debt as a nation.

    But is the PS3 predicted to being the big hit this Christmas? No, a robot is, oh and the Xbox 360.

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  46. In UK we are constantly being warned by the Government about the ‘evils’ of consumer credit, but that doesn’t stop us from being billions £ in debt as a nation.

    But is the PS3 predicted to being the big hit this Christmas? No, a robot is, oh and the Xbox 360.

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  47. Chris: >>After all, it’s not like you’re ever going to need money in the future for things like, oh, his college tuition.

    Already taken care of, thank you very much.

    Did I ever say to spend more than you can afford? Go back and read what I wrote. Didn’t say anything of the sort.

    Most people don’t have $5,000 sitting around, so using credit to buy a nice entertainment system is totally reasonable. At least in my world.

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  48. Chris: >>After all, it’s not like you’re ever going to need money in the future for things like, oh, his college tuition.

    Already taken care of, thank you very much.

    Did I ever say to spend more than you can afford? Go back and read what I wrote. Didn’t say anything of the sort.

    Most people don’t have $5,000 sitting around, so using credit to buy a nice entertainment system is totally reasonable. At least in my world.

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  49. i’m not talking about +140 = upper middle class. most middle class people will probably be Able to save that each month. however, it would probably be more than easy to rearange your economy. saying “dont to to the movies” is a bit oversimplifying.

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  50. i’m not talking about +140 = upper middle class. most middle class people will probably be Able to save that each month. however, it would probably be more than easy to rearange your economy. saying “dont to to the movies” is a bit oversimplifying.

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  51. A typical ‘live now’ post. For a vast number of people who operate good financial management taking on a large debt like this is a no no.
    At the end of the day you have to manager your own finances and if you can afford to add $140 a month to your existing financial burdon for the ability to add better definition tv and a game platform then go for it.
    But to advocate to people that a $600 gameing system is for everybody, you only need to put youselves into debt, is irresponsible and not up to your usual level of commentary.

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  52. A typical ‘live now’ post. For a vast number of people who operate good financial management taking on a large debt like this is a no no.
    At the end of the day you have to manager your own finances and if you can afford to add $140 a month to your existing financial burdon for the ability to add better definition tv and a game platform then go for it.
    But to advocate to people that a $600 gameing system is for everybody, you only need to put youselves into debt, is irresponsible and not up to your usual level of commentary.

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  53. So am I Robert.

    The average American pre-tax wage is around $32k. I’m not going to write out the math, but as a parent yourself I’m sure you can see the hardship in trying to support a family on that sort of annual income (even allowing for a second parent with a full or part-time job).

    I would imagine the last thing a family in that situation would want is to blow $600 on a video game system, or even $150 per month on credit repayments.

    Anyhow, I enjoy your blog but you really need a dose of reality on this one. $600 is a hell of a lot of money, to a hell of a lot of people.

    A.

    PS – R.e movie prices; I didn’t realise you meant coke and snacks for everyone! I always share with whoever I’m with, I’ve no idea how anyone manages to finish one of those gigantic cups by themselves!

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  54. So am I Robert.

    The average American pre-tax wage is around $32k. I’m not going to write out the math, but as a parent yourself I’m sure you can see the hardship in trying to support a family on that sort of annual income (even allowing for a second parent with a full or part-time job).

    I would imagine the last thing a family in that situation would want is to blow $600 on a video game system, or even $150 per month on credit repayments.

    Anyhow, I enjoy your blog but you really need a dose of reality on this one. $600 is a hell of a lot of money, to a hell of a lot of people.

    A.

    PS – R.e movie prices; I didn’t realise you meant coke and snacks for everyone! I always share with whoever I’m with, I’ve no idea how anyone manages to finish one of those gigantic cups by themselves!

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  55. Robert,

    I really can’t believe what you’ve just written. You’ve just dispensed some of the silliest financial that I’ve ever read on a blog.

    First of all, the median salary for an American family (you know the people in the suburbs as you say) is ~42,500 a year. That’s for a family of 3. The median price for a home in the suburbs is ~250,000 a year. In addition to a mortgage, you have a plethora of other costs that you have to take into account. Car payments, homeowners insurance, child care, health insurance, car insurance, and the list goes on and on.

    For most people, saddling themselves with $5,100 dollars (assuming you get the big TV) is sheer fiscal irresponsibility and it’s not reality (even the small TV is nonsense).

    The simple fact that this is being talked about means that some people can’t afford it.

    People DO care about the interest and the payments. To nonchalantly wave that off shows that a real disconnect between you and the average American out there.

    Please step down from your ivory tower and apologize to every “have-not” that has just read your post. You’ve just made them feel worthless.

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  56. Robert,

    I really can’t believe what you’ve just written. You’ve just dispensed some of the silliest financial that I’ve ever read on a blog.

    First of all, the median salary for an American family (you know the people in the suburbs as you say) is ~42,500 a year. That’s for a family of 3. The median price for a home in the suburbs is ~250,000 a year. In addition to a mortgage, you have a plethora of other costs that you have to take into account. Car payments, homeowners insurance, child care, health insurance, car insurance, and the list goes on and on.

    For most people, saddling themselves with $5,100 dollars (assuming you get the big TV) is sheer fiscal irresponsibility and it’s not reality (even the small TV is nonsense).

    The simple fact that this is being talked about means that some people can’t afford it.

    People DO care about the interest and the payments. To nonchalantly wave that off shows that a real disconnect between you and the average American out there.

    Please step down from your ivory tower and apologize to every “have-not” that has just read your post. You’ve just made them feel worthless.

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  57. Spending $5,000 on a home entertainment center is one thing. Spendng $8,000 on a $5,000 home entertainment center is another thing entirely, and that’s if you’re making all your payments on time. Spending money you don’t have on things you don’t need just sounds like asking for trouble to me.

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  58. Spending $5,000 on a home entertainment center is one thing. Spendng $8,000 on a $5,000 home entertainment center is another thing entirely, and that’s if you’re making all your payments on time. Spending money you don’t have on things you don’t need just sounds like asking for trouble to me.

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  59. Sorry Robert, I can;t agree with this. All my life I;ve lived by a simple bit of budgeting advice from my father. If it’s not in your pocket, don’t spend it. Okay I need to expand that now as a parent to if it’s not in your pocket at the end of the month, don;pt spend it. You might want to have a look at the dange overstretching credit can do – and when the economy slows down (which it will, the US defecit is bigger than, oh, some African countires), it’s going to hurt. If an avergae wage couple can spare $150, they’d be best overpaying the mortgage or investing, than buying a games machine and screen.

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  60. Sorry Robert, I can;t agree with this. All my life I;ve lived by a simple bit of budgeting advice from my father. If it’s not in your pocket, don’t spend it. Okay I need to expand that now as a parent to if it’s not in your pocket at the end of the month, don;pt spend it. You might want to have a look at the dange overstretching credit can do – and when the economy slows down (which it will, the US defecit is bigger than, oh, some African countires), it’s going to hurt. If an avergae wage couple can spare $150, they’d be best overpaying the mortgage or investing, than buying a games machine and screen.

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  61. “I’m just passing along what I observe” isn’t really a worthwhile measure of poverty, as what you don’t observe is probably more important. This article (http://observer.guardian.co.uk/world/story/0,,1712965,00.html) from The Observer points out that one in ten Americans are now living in poverty, and that even those working two or three jobs can’t make ends meet.

    To say that such people can just pay another $140 per month shows incredible naivety.

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  62. “I’m just passing along what I observe” isn’t really a worthwhile measure of poverty, as what you don’t observe is probably more important. This article (http://observer.guardian.co.uk/world/story/0,,1712965,00.html) from The Observer points out that one in ten Americans are now living in poverty, and that even those working two or three jobs can’t make ends meet.

    To say that such people can just pay another $140 per month shows incredible naivety.

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  63. Encouraging people to live beyond their means is stupid and irresponsible. Getting credit because you can’t afford a big TV and home entertainment system is living beyond your means and will leave you worse off in the long run.

    If you can’t afford something, you save up for it. You save money and don’t end up in debt.

    The only thing worth taking out a loan for is a house, in my opinion. New car? New entertainment system? Save up for it.

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  64. Encouraging people to live beyond their means is stupid and irresponsible. Getting credit because you can’t afford a big TV and home entertainment system is living beyond your means and will leave you worse off in the long run.

    If you can’t afford something, you save up for it. You save money and don’t end up in debt.

    The only thing worth taking out a loan for is a house, in my opinion. New car? New entertainment system? Save up for it.

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  65. Hmmm,

    Sorry but this whole article is Bulls**t. If you have to get credit to buy a ‘luxury item’ – which let’s face it, a games console is – then you can’t afford it.

    The movie/hotdog analogy is crap, because at least if you can’t afford to go to the movies one month you don’t have to.

    Such an irresponsible attitude to money is the reason so many people are up shit creek these days.

    Coming from you, Robert, I expected more…

    You’re right on one thing though; Not just rich people buy PS3s and XBOXs, stupid/irresponsible poor people do too.

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  66. Hmmm,

    Sorry but this whole article is Bulls**t. If you have to get credit to buy a ‘luxury item’ – which let’s face it, a games console is – then you can’t afford it.

    The movie/hotdog analogy is crap, because at least if you can’t afford to go to the movies one month you don’t have to.

    Such an irresponsible attitude to money is the reason so many people are up shit creek these days.

    Coming from you, Robert, I expected more…

    You’re right on one thing though; Not just rich people buy PS3s and XBOXs, stupid/irresponsible poor people do too.

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  67. Robert,

    I have no idea what your idea of poor is. But having served breakfast at inner city missions before I see people that barely have $10 left over at the end of the month, much less $140. Most people I see who have fallen on hard times are more concerned about little things like food for their kids and having enough warm clothes to get through winter. A big screen TV and a playstation isn’t even on their radar.

    You need to need to live your little bubble of beach-side suburbs every once in awhile and actually get in touch with what is going on in this country. There is a lot more to life than tech toys.

    Like

  68. Robert,

    I have no idea what your idea of poor is. But having served breakfast at inner city missions before I see people that barely have $10 left over at the end of the month, much less $140. Most people I see who have fallen on hard times are more concerned about little things like food for their kids and having enough warm clothes to get through winter. A big screen TV and a playstation isn’t even on their radar.

    You need to need to live your little bubble of beach-side suburbs every once in awhile and actually get in touch with what is going on in this country. There is a lot more to life than tech toys.

    Like

  69. So what happened to the Robert who earned less than 100K at Microsoft.

    Now he is living up the Podtech Web 2.0 bubble dollars 🙂

    Like

  70. So what happened to the Robert who earned less than 100K at Microsoft.

    Now he is living up the Podtech Web 2.0 bubble dollars 🙂

    Like

  71. Robert, it’s been a *long* time since you’ve been anything close to really poor, if ever. I can tell you that growing up, the only TV we had was given to us by a friend who had gotten a new one.

    Why?

    Well, we were more concerned with mundane things like…”rent” and …”food” and…”clothing”. Yeah, you REALLY need to get out more. On second thought…clueless white guy…um..no, don’t go into the really poor areas of this country. The tolerance for your ignorance there would not be high, and I’d hate to see you stupid yourself into getting shot.

    Like

  72. Robert, it’s been a *long* time since you’ve been anything close to really poor, if ever. I can tell you that growing up, the only TV we had was given to us by a friend who had gotten a new one.

    Why?

    Well, we were more concerned with mundane things like…”rent” and …”food” and…”clothing”. Yeah, you REALLY need to get out more. On second thought…clueless white guy…um..no, don’t go into the really poor areas of this country. The tolerance for your ignorance there would not be high, and I’d hate to see you stupid yourself into getting shot.

    Like

  73. I have to agree with the person who asked who gets a Best Buy credit card? I wouldn’t touch one of those with a ten foot pole. Not to mention, there’s something about financing a gaming console that leaves a bad taste in my mouth. That’s the sort of thing you should really save up for if you don’t have the money to spend on it.

    Your post seems extremely financially irresponsible especially in today’s economic climate. I agree that rich people aren’t the only ones who will buy a PS3, but your post appears to be encouraging them to spend thousands and thousands on something that’s entertainment related.

    The difference between your movies and financing that type of debt is that if you run into financial problems, you can stop going to the movies and stop spending $60….you can’t do that with a $5,000 balance on your credit card (unless you file for bankruptcy).

    Like

  74. I have to agree with the person who asked who gets a Best Buy credit card? I wouldn’t touch one of those with a ten foot pole. Not to mention, there’s something about financing a gaming console that leaves a bad taste in my mouth. That’s the sort of thing you should really save up for if you don’t have the money to spend on it.

    Your post seems extremely financially irresponsible especially in today’s economic climate. I agree that rich people aren’t the only ones who will buy a PS3, but your post appears to be encouraging them to spend thousands and thousands on something that’s entertainment related.

    The difference between your movies and financing that type of debt is that if you run into financial problems, you can stop going to the movies and stop spending $60….you can’t do that with a $5,000 balance on your credit card (unless you file for bankruptcy).

    Like

  75. ref. 35
    All good points. I’ll use your figures if you don’t mind.

    $42,500 income Family of 3
    $250,000 home
    $50,000 CARs
    $40,000 education for child
    $40,000 education for Dad
    $40,000 education for Mom
    $5,000 credit cards ???
    entertainment priceless!

    Housing bust analysis (enter Rocket scientist). LOL
    Get real $$$$ or go out of business (FORD etc.)
    I owe my soul to the company store.lol

    A few more figures.
    Interest rates as high as 30%?? Only impacts the poor.
    The American dream (Advertised daily).

    Divorce rate = 50% (your chances don’t look good)
    Children all screwed up for the future.
    No problem, Buy that XBox-360.
    Isn’t math fun when based in reality.
    Please pass the excargot and Chardonnay.

    Like

  76. ref. 35
    All good points. I’ll use your figures if you don’t mind.

    $42,500 income Family of 3
    $250,000 home
    $50,000 CARs
    $40,000 education for child
    $40,000 education for Dad
    $40,000 education for Mom
    $5,000 credit cards ???
    entertainment priceless!

    Housing bust analysis (enter Rocket scientist). LOL
    Get real $$$$ or go out of business (FORD etc.)
    I owe my soul to the company store.lol

    A few more figures.
    Interest rates as high as 30%?? Only impacts the poor.
    The American dream (Advertised daily).

    Divorce rate = 50% (your chances don’t look good)
    Children all screwed up for the future.
    No problem, Buy that XBox-360.
    Isn’t math fun when based in reality.
    Please pass the excargot and Chardonnay.

    Like

  77. Invest 5000$ at 10% for 5 years = 8,052.55+
    Spend 5000$ at 19% for 5 years = 6,376.06-

    Total difference in income for saver vs. spender = 14,428.61

    (10% return on investment is difficult to do with only 5k, and doesn’t factor in risks. Credit assumes 7% of balance minimum payments.)

    Buying on credit is crazy. I mean, buying 2k-5k worth of stuff that you don’t need at 19% is nuts. Suggesting to people that this is reasonable is offensive. If you can afford to buy on credit like that, you can afford to buy the thing outright.

    Look, I’m related to a bunch of old rich people. White, upper middle class, florida-retirin’, golf-cart drivin’, cadillac ownin’, self-made millionaire old people. You know how they got rich and stayed that way? They never bought a damn thing they couldn’t pay for outright. Yeah, when they were young, right after the war, they had to split ownership of their car with the father-in-law. But they didn’t buy on credit. Now they don’t pay interest – on anything. Ever.

    Have you walked around a so-called “poor” neighborhood lately? I see big screens in almost every home.
    So. What.
    How far in debt are the people who live in those homes? How many crappy jobs do they have to work for the privelege of keeping those screens lit by paying the minimum interest charges? Can you see that when you walk through these neighborhoods?

    Get your ethics calibrated.

    Like

  78. Invest 5000$ at 10% for 5 years = 8,052.55+
    Spend 5000$ at 19% for 5 years = 6,376.06-

    Total difference in income for saver vs. spender = 14,428.61

    (10% return on investment is difficult to do with only 5k, and doesn’t factor in risks. Credit assumes 7% of balance minimum payments.)

    Buying on credit is crazy. I mean, buying 2k-5k worth of stuff that you don’t need at 19% is nuts. Suggesting to people that this is reasonable is offensive. If you can afford to buy on credit like that, you can afford to buy the thing outright.

    Look, I’m related to a bunch of old rich people. White, upper middle class, florida-retirin’, golf-cart drivin’, cadillac ownin’, self-made millionaire old people. You know how they got rich and stayed that way? They never bought a damn thing they couldn’t pay for outright. Yeah, when they were young, right after the war, they had to split ownership of their car with the father-in-law. But they didn’t buy on credit. Now they don’t pay interest – on anything. Ever.

    Have you walked around a so-called “poor” neighborhood lately? I see big screens in almost every home.
    So. What.
    How far in debt are the people who live in those homes? How many crappy jobs do they have to work for the privelege of keeping those screens lit by paying the minimum interest charges? Can you see that when you walk through these neighborhoods?

    Get your ethics calibrated.

    Like

  79. This interactive tool:

    http://www.globalrichlist.com/

    Might help put things in perspective. I think enough people have pointed out how distorted your view is here. It reminds me of people who are genuinely surprised to discover that not everyone has 2 PCs and high-speed broadband.

    Like

  80. This interactive tool:

    http://www.globalrichlist.com/

    Might help put things in perspective. I think enough people have pointed out how distorted your view is here. It reminds me of people who are genuinely surprised to discover that not everyone has 2 PCs and high-speed broadband.

    Like

  81. “Have you walked around a so-called “poor” neighborhood lately? I see big screens in almost every home.”

    Actually no Robert, I haven’t walked around any poor neighborhoods in a large city. Nor could you convince me that you have either – making absurd statements like that.

    In my rustbelt town of 125,000 most families of 4 are on budgets. Most families of 4 do head out together to movies – but they wait until things hit the second-run theaters that charge $2 admission.

    Do you want to know why some people get concerned about another bubble burst coming? It because out-of-touch people making uninformed statements like the one you made above.

    Two more related quotes of yours Robert:

    “But I’m talking about people in the average American suburb like Milpitas, Jersey City, Orlando, Chicago, etc.”

    “One of my brother-in-laws drives a bus in Wales. Another lives in Milpitas, which isn’t a high end neighborhood. I see tons of big screens in both.”

    Just a wee bit inconsistant, eh? You first use the word poor – once again making a point by going over the top – and when people call you on it you backtrack. Damn.

    “Sorry but this whole article is Bulls**t.”

    Robert words in the comment section make his article smell like a rose in comparison.

    Like

  82. “Have you walked around a so-called “poor” neighborhood lately? I see big screens in almost every home.”

    Actually no Robert, I haven’t walked around any poor neighborhoods in a large city. Nor could you convince me that you have either – making absurd statements like that.

    In my rustbelt town of 125,000 most families of 4 are on budgets. Most families of 4 do head out together to movies – but they wait until things hit the second-run theaters that charge $2 admission.

    Do you want to know why some people get concerned about another bubble burst coming? It because out-of-touch people making uninformed statements like the one you made above.

    Two more related quotes of yours Robert:

    “But I’m talking about people in the average American suburb like Milpitas, Jersey City, Orlando, Chicago, etc.”

    “One of my brother-in-laws drives a bus in Wales. Another lives in Milpitas, which isn’t a high end neighborhood. I see tons of big screens in both.”

    Just a wee bit inconsistant, eh? You first use the word poor – once again making a point by going over the top – and when people call you on it you backtrack. Damn.

    “Sorry but this whole article is Bulls**t.”

    Robert words in the comment section make his article smell like a rose in comparison.

    Like

  83. Wow, I can’t believe you just seriously suggested that people go into debt for a game console… I think you missed your calling as a financial adviser.

    On the topic at hand though, it’s not about being able to afford it, it’s perceived value for your money that matters. For really hardcore gamers, $800 (console+game+HDMI cable) might be worth it. For the less than hardcore gamer though? I doubt it.

    Every console in history that’s been released into this price range (and there have been quite a few, inflation adjusted) failed dismally in the market. I expect the PS3 to do better than the 3DO, Jaguar, Neo Geo, and Sega Saturn. But it won’t be nearly the success that the PS2 was, and that’s what really matters. If Sony falls to second or third place this generation, they’re sunk.

    Like

  84. Wow, I can’t believe you just seriously suggested that people go into debt for a game console… I think you missed your calling as a financial adviser.

    On the topic at hand though, it’s not about being able to afford it, it’s perceived value for your money that matters. For really hardcore gamers, $800 (console+game+HDMI cable) might be worth it. For the less than hardcore gamer though? I doubt it.

    Every console in history that’s been released into this price range (and there have been quite a few, inflation adjusted) failed dismally in the market. I expect the PS3 to do better than the 3DO, Jaguar, Neo Geo, and Sega Saturn. But it won’t be nearly the success that the PS2 was, and that’s what really matters. If Sony falls to second or third place this generation, they’re sunk.

    Like

  85. So far I haven’t seen a single comment that supports the original post (except from Scoble). And I’m not going to be the one to break that, but it’s gotta show how far off the mark your reader’s think you are on this one. Time for a more detailed post?

    Like

  86. So far I haven’t seen a single comment that supports the original post (except from Scoble). And I’m not going to be the one to break that, but it’s gotta show how far off the mark your reader’s think you are on this one. Time for a more detailed post?

    Like

  87. Here in Argentina that’s completely impossible.
    A PS3 will cost aroud USD$1200 for us. And our monetary unit “peso” it’s devaluated 3 times under dollar (USD1= $3.10 peso).
    Believe it or not, a 41 inch LCD screen cost about $15.000.
    So, don’t be sad about your credit. Sure it will always be better than ours.

    Like

  88. Here in Argentina that’s completely impossible.
    A PS3 will cost aroud USD$1200 for us. And our monetary unit “peso” it’s devaluated 3 times under dollar (USD1= $3.10 peso).
    Believe it or not, a 41 inch LCD screen cost about $15.000.
    So, don’t be sad about your credit. Sure it will always be better than ours.

    Like

  89. You guys crack me up. Robert, have you ever considered that maybe the big screen TV is the reason those people are poor in the first place?

    My sister told me once about a class she went to with a debt adviser. The teacher told them that words like “big screen TV” make her nervous, because so many of the people she counsels have one.

    I could make all sorts of arguments here, like the fact that movies at the expensive theaters in my town cost less than $8, or the fact that eating a home-cooked meal before or after the movie is cheaper and tastier than any movie theater hot dog I’ve ever seen. But that’s not really the point, is it? Do you really need a big screen TV? Are you really that willing to enslave yourself to an extra $140/mo for the next few years? Where will that leave you if you get laid off in two years and haven’t been “saving for a rainy day”?

    I guess the PS3 will let you pass the time while you’re looking for another job, at least until the power company kills your power. Hey, there’s always a bright side, right?

    Like

  90. You guys crack me up. Robert, have you ever considered that maybe the big screen TV is the reason those people are poor in the first place?

    My sister told me once about a class she went to with a debt adviser. The teacher told them that words like “big screen TV” make her nervous, because so many of the people she counsels have one.

    I could make all sorts of arguments here, like the fact that movies at the expensive theaters in my town cost less than $8, or the fact that eating a home-cooked meal before or after the movie is cheaper and tastier than any movie theater hot dog I’ve ever seen. But that’s not really the point, is it? Do you really need a big screen TV? Are you really that willing to enslave yourself to an extra $140/mo for the next few years? Where will that leave you if you get laid off in two years and haven’t been “saving for a rainy day”?

    I guess the PS3 will let you pass the time while you’re looking for another job, at least until the power company kills your power. Hey, there’s always a bright side, right?

    Like

  91. i was waiting till the end of that post for the punchline…. but it never came.

    This is completely irresponsible advice to hand out. American’s have a HUGE problem with credit already. It’s a simple fact – people need to STOP buying extravagent items (like “just a $1500 HDTV”) on credit. Your hypothetical $5000 purchase would take years to pay back with a typical ~20% rate. The PS4 could be out by the time they pay off their PS3!

    Borrowing money to buy stuff like houses and cars is one thing. To buy a damn TV and game console is irresponsible. Someone link up the SNL commerical with Steve Martin selling a groundbreaking financial book “IF YOU CAN’T AFFORD SOMETHING, DON’T BUY IT!”

    Like

  92. i was waiting till the end of that post for the punchline…. but it never came.

    This is completely irresponsible advice to hand out. American’s have a HUGE problem with credit already. It’s a simple fact – people need to STOP buying extravagent items (like “just a $1500 HDTV”) on credit. Your hypothetical $5000 purchase would take years to pay back with a typical ~20% rate. The PS4 could be out by the time they pay off their PS3!

    Borrowing money to buy stuff like houses and cars is one thing. To buy a damn TV and game console is irresponsible. Someone link up the SNL commerical with Steve Martin selling a groundbreaking financial book “IF YOU CAN’T AFFORD SOMETHING, DON’T BUY IT!”

    Like

  93. After getting some sleep I agree my post here is stupid.

    Regarding my salary, I’m not making that much more now than I was at Microsoft. And, you gotta factor in our mortgage payments — they are a lot higher now cause Silicon Valley housing prices are twice what Seattle’s are.

    On the other hand we’re saving $2,000 per month because we aren’t flying every other weekend to come down and see Patrick like we used to.

    I also admit that my whole worldview is built around Silicon Valley which is over the top in wealth concentration.

    Like

  94. After getting some sleep I agree my post here is stupid.

    Regarding my salary, I’m not making that much more now than I was at Microsoft. And, you gotta factor in our mortgage payments — they are a lot higher now cause Silicon Valley housing prices are twice what Seattle’s are.

    On the other hand we’re saving $2,000 per month because we aren’t flying every other weekend to come down and see Patrick like we used to.

    I also admit that my whole worldview is built around Silicon Valley which is over the top in wealth concentration.

    Like

  95. “There is WAY too much being made about the price of these things.”

    Um, no, actually you are making WAY too light about the price of these things. What about people who have families and can’t afford an extra $140 a month? Or even $40 a month?

    Some of your other comments:

    “I love the “save your money” kinds of folks. But you’d rather me go to a movie or go out for a dinner with Patrick and Maryam instead of stay at home and spend some money on a credit bill.”

    “And, no, I’m not out of touch with the level of wealth in my own nation. Have you walked around a so-called “poor” neighborhood lately? I see big screens in almost every home.”

    “Jonas: $140 a month gets you into upper middle class? Damn, where do you get your economics?”

    What’s your deal lately? It’s tiresome to watch this trend continue: you make a somewhat absurd claim (not meaning to be rude or out of touch with reality) on your blog, people call you on it in the comments, you reply with some truly snarky comments, then eventually apologize. Why not cut out the snark-factor? It harms your reputation and your image as a friendly and agreeable guy.

    Like

  96. “There is WAY too much being made about the price of these things.”

    Um, no, actually you are making WAY too light about the price of these things. What about people who have families and can’t afford an extra $140 a month? Or even $40 a month?

    Some of your other comments:

    “I love the “save your money” kinds of folks. But you’d rather me go to a movie or go out for a dinner with Patrick and Maryam instead of stay at home and spend some money on a credit bill.”

    “And, no, I’m not out of touch with the level of wealth in my own nation. Have you walked around a so-called “poor” neighborhood lately? I see big screens in almost every home.”

    “Jonas: $140 a month gets you into upper middle class? Damn, where do you get your economics?”

    What’s your deal lately? It’s tiresome to watch this trend continue: you make a somewhat absurd claim (not meaning to be rude or out of touch with reality) on your blog, people call you on it in the comments, you reply with some truly snarky comments, then eventually apologize. Why not cut out the snark-factor? It harms your reputation and your image as a friendly and agreeable guy.

    Like

  97. Good to see you reconsidered your post.

    I saw a stat a couple of months ago that showed that the average american family has $10,000 in credit card debt. Most have pretty bad interest rates, too.

    Add to that the median household income is $46000. Do the math for a family of four to live on that – and then the math for say an APR of 19% on $10,000 and see what kind of trouble you will run into. A major car repair or dental work if you don’t have insurance will pretty much put a huge dent in your regular monthly budget.

    The fact is our consumer culture pushes us to have more, have more. We should be saving a whole hell of a lot more!

    –*Rob

    Like

  98. Good to see you reconsidered your post.

    I saw a stat a couple of months ago that showed that the average american family has $10,000 in credit card debt. Most have pretty bad interest rates, too.

    Add to that the median household income is $46000. Do the math for a family of four to live on that – and then the math for say an APR of 19% on $10,000 and see what kind of trouble you will run into. A major car repair or dental work if you don’t have insurance will pretty much put a huge dent in your regular monthly budget.

    The fact is our consumer culture pushes us to have more, have more. We should be saving a whole hell of a lot more!

    –*Rob

    Like

  99. > Why not cut out the snark-factor? It harms your reputation and your image as a friendly and agreeable guy.

    I think Robert’s a great guy, but I don’t think he has cultivated an “agreeable” image. The controversial statements and rash claims are very much a core part of the appeal 🙂

    That said, this particular post could have really used an addendum. Even though someone _can_ buy outside of their means using the silly amounts of credit that get extended to US consumers who cannot really afford it – they should think twice about actually doing it.

    A quick google search reveals that “$44,389” is the median US household income for 2005. Do you really think that someone who makes that much money for let’s say a two person family, can or should afford a PS3 or an HDTV? Come on.

    They could buy a new TV, or you know.. eat, pay rent, or save money for college…

    Like

  100. > Why not cut out the snark-factor? It harms your reputation and your image as a friendly and agreeable guy.

    I think Robert’s a great guy, but I don’t think he has cultivated an “agreeable” image. The controversial statements and rash claims are very much a core part of the appeal 🙂

    That said, this particular post could have really used an addendum. Even though someone _can_ buy outside of their means using the silly amounts of credit that get extended to US consumers who cannot really afford it – they should think twice about actually doing it.

    A quick google search reveals that “$44,389” is the median US household income for 2005. Do you really think that someone who makes that much money for let’s say a two person family, can or should afford a PS3 or an HDTV? Come on.

    They could buy a new TV, or you know.. eat, pay rent, or save money for college…

    Like

  101. Igor: I assume my readers are smart and won’t just listen to me when I tell them to jump off the Golden Gate bridge.

    Also, I never advocated taking money away from essential budget items to buy an HDTV. I advocated taking money off of the other entertainment expenses families often spend money on. My brother-in-law, who has two kids, often goes to the movies. I know other people who spend thousands on tickets to football games and other entertainment venues. I walk around Las Vegas and see many families there spending money like it’s going out of style. Certainly more than $140 a month worth. Or, go to Disneyworld in Orlando. A trip there costs thousands for a family, yet I always have to wait in line to get on roller coasters there.

    Like

  102. Igor: I assume my readers are smart and won’t just listen to me when I tell them to jump off the Golden Gate bridge.

    Also, I never advocated taking money away from essential budget items to buy an HDTV. I advocated taking money off of the other entertainment expenses families often spend money on. My brother-in-law, who has two kids, often goes to the movies. I know other people who spend thousands on tickets to football games and other entertainment venues. I walk around Las Vegas and see many families there spending money like it’s going out of style. Certainly more than $140 a month worth. Or, go to Disneyworld in Orlando. A trip there costs thousands for a family, yet I always have to wait in line to get on roller coasters there.

    Like

  103. Robert,

    Please stop trying to defend your limited economic view of America. It’s obvious that you still don’t get it.

    I’m glad that you get to travel to LV and Orlando but I have a feeling that some of the people that are complaining that PS3s and XBOX360s are too expensive aren’t at Las Vegas and Orlando spendy money Willy Nilly. They are at home worrying about their next paycheck.

    I have a feeling that you didn’t by any chance drive into North Las Vegas, you know where real people live and see such rampant spending on everything and anything.

    This is one of those times where you say, “I’m sorry” and stop.

    Like

  104. Robert,

    Please stop trying to defend your limited economic view of America. It’s obvious that you still don’t get it.

    I’m glad that you get to travel to LV and Orlando but I have a feeling that some of the people that are complaining that PS3s and XBOX360s are too expensive aren’t at Las Vegas and Orlando spendy money Willy Nilly. They are at home worrying about their next paycheck.

    I have a feeling that you didn’t by any chance drive into North Las Vegas, you know where real people live and see such rampant spending on everything and anything.

    This is one of those times where you say, “I’m sorry” and stop.

    Like

  105. @18 and @55. After reconsidering, you seem to be on the same page as rest of the world. The rationale that you see big screen TVs in poor neighborhoods just tells you 1 thing: gives you an explanation of why we have so many foreclosures & repos. Someone buying a big screen TV does not mean they can afford it. It doesn’t mean anything. But when you see the debt figures of the nation as a whole, it does give you some answers. Fiscal irresponsibility has become the norm here. I think PS3 is extremely expensive. Just to put things in perspective, I bought a condo last year costing $150K for which I paid in cash(no mortgage). But, I still drive my 97 Toyota which also I had paid in cash. I have no loans/mortgages, which means in the long run, I can not be thrown out in the street ever. BTW, did I mention I am 28? That would make me Sony’s prime target consumer with enough $$ to spend, but who refuses to spend huge amounts of money on a PS3. Price it under $400 & we will talk about it. Till then, I will donate to charity. There are enough hungry & poor people in the world.

    Like

  106. @18 and @55. After reconsidering, you seem to be on the same page as rest of the world. The rationale that you see big screen TVs in poor neighborhoods just tells you 1 thing: gives you an explanation of why we have so many foreclosures & repos. Someone buying a big screen TV does not mean they can afford it. It doesn’t mean anything. But when you see the debt figures of the nation as a whole, it does give you some answers. Fiscal irresponsibility has become the norm here. I think PS3 is extremely expensive. Just to put things in perspective, I bought a condo last year costing $150K for which I paid in cash(no mortgage). But, I still drive my 97 Toyota which also I had paid in cash. I have no loans/mortgages, which means in the long run, I can not be thrown out in the street ever. BTW, did I mention I am 28? That would make me Sony’s prime target consumer with enough $$ to spend, but who refuses to spend huge amounts of money on a PS3. Price it under $400 & we will talk about it. Till then, I will donate to charity. There are enough hungry & poor people in the world.

    Like

  107. Robert,
    My son has an X-box that I bought for him (I thought it was way to expensive).

    The view of the forest from Space looks different than the view from the within the forest.

    You see the swarm you stired up talking about money from even from the most well off people. Now you know why it is so hard for couples to talk about money or even … heaven forbid; say no once in a while to a wanty want.

    Keeping up with the Jones’is a way of life. Gettin the big Johnson is not what everyone has been told they will get if they exceed the bounds of reason.

    Now that the conversation is beat to death, lets talk about religion or how about Politics. LOL

    Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar! Right Bill. ; )

    Like

  108. Matt: I do dumb things once in a while. Like my disclaimer says, I don’t guarantee the quality of the info here.

    One thing, though, is I trust my readers to be smart. If I said to jump off of the Golden Gate Bridge, I expect that none of my readers would do that.

    Like

  109. Matt: I do dumb things once in a while. Like my disclaimer says, I don’t guarantee the quality of the info here.

    One thing, though, is I trust my readers to be smart. If I said to jump off of the Golden Gate Bridge, I expect that none of my readers would do that.

    Like

  110. Robert,
    My son has an X-box that I bought for him (I thought it was way to expensive).

    The view of the forest from Space looks different than the view from the within the forest.

    You see the swarm you stired up talking about money from even from the most well off people. Now you know why it is so hard for couples to talk about money or even … heaven forbid; say no once in a while to a wanty want.

    Keeping up with the Jones’is a way of life. Gettin the big Johnson is not what everyone has been told they will get if they exceed the bounds of reason.

    Now that the conversation is beat to death, lets talk about religion or how about Politics. LOL

    Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar! Right Bill. ; )

    Like

  111. 46 — Not a bad point, but it’s based on the assumption that you have $5,000 for the full five years. If they had $5,000 at the start, they wouldn’t need to borrow it at 19%, would they?

    Like

  112. 46 — Not a bad point, but it’s based on the assumption that you have $5,000 for the full five years. If they had $5,000 at the start, they wouldn’t need to borrow it at 19%, would they?

    Like

  113. The things you own end up owning you. That being said, for the cost of PS3 plus accessories, I’d rather build a MAME arcade cabinet or buy a Mortal Kombat or Street Fighter arcade cab for the gameroom. Cool item to have and would be at least as much fun to play with friends, IMHO.

    *Runs towards Golden Gate Bridge.

    Like

  114. The things you own end up owning you. That being said, for the cost of PS3 plus accessories, I’d rather build a MAME arcade cabinet or buy a Mortal Kombat or Street Fighter arcade cab for the gameroom. Cool item to have and would be at least as much fun to play with friends, IMHO.

    *Runs towards Golden Gate Bridge.

    Like

  115. Robert, you are right on with this.

    “I walk around Las Vegas and see many families there spending money like it’s going out of style. Certainly more than $140 a month worth. Or, go to Disneyworld in Orlando. A trip there costs thousands for a family, yet I always have to wait in line to get on roller coasters there.”

    The questions you have to ask is what the entertainment value of this setup versus 3 trips for the family @$2800/ea over the 5 year period. Personally, I would choose the trips over TV and video games. (I would choose the TV & gaming over going to the movies though.)

    The biggest problem is or society just wants to have it all. The big vacations, TV, gaming, and movies. And too many people get into uncontrolable debt because of it.

    Like

  116. Robert, you are right on with this.

    “I walk around Las Vegas and see many families there spending money like it’s going out of style. Certainly more than $140 a month worth. Or, go to Disneyworld in Orlando. A trip there costs thousands for a family, yet I always have to wait in line to get on roller coasters there.”

    The questions you have to ask is what the entertainment value of this setup versus 3 trips for the family @$2800/ea over the 5 year period. Personally, I would choose the trips over TV and video games. (I would choose the TV & gaming over going to the movies though.)

    The biggest problem is or society just wants to have it all. The big vacations, TV, gaming, and movies. And too many people get into uncontrolable debt because of it.

    Like

  117. Re: 65

    I can’t see spending that kind of money. I am all for spending money on entertainment, but the cost to enter that game is far too high. I’m a young, single professional. Basically, the prime target for these systems.

    I will be investing in Nintendo’s offering and hoping for the best. Otherwise, I’ll stick to PC gaming where dollar/entertianment hour is a lot cheaper.

    World of Warcraft, anyone?

    Like

  118. Re: 65

    I can’t see spending that kind of money. I am all for spending money on entertainment, but the cost to enter that game is far too high. I’m a young, single professional. Basically, the prime target for these systems.

    I will be investing in Nintendo’s offering and hoping for the best. Otherwise, I’ll stick to PC gaming where dollar/entertianment hour is a lot cheaper.

    World of Warcraft, anyone?

    Like

  119. Scoble, I don’t care what the hell you do with your money or how you choose to spend time with your family. That’s for you and your wife to decide. But, don’t come off like you know WTF you are talking about when it comes to personal financial advice and how the other half lives, because it’s clear you don’t. But, hey, if you have no problem showing yourself to be a moron, it makes for great entertainment.

    Like

  120. Scoble, I don’t care what the hell you do with your money or how you choose to spend time with your family. That’s for you and your wife to decide. But, don’t come off like you know WTF you are talking about when it comes to personal financial advice and how the other half lives, because it’s clear you don’t. But, hey, if you have no problem showing yourself to be a moron, it makes for great entertainment.

    Like

  121. It’s true in the US, but here in Colombia where movie and hotdogs+coke for 4 people is just USD25 and a guy like me who holds a MCSD earns USD12.000 a year, 600 buck for a game console it’s WAY off.

    Maybe we are not Sony’s target market, but the situation it’s pretty much the same starting at Texas’ border and all the way down to Argentina, IMHO THAT is a significant market!!!!

    Like

  122. It’s true in the US, but here in Colombia where movie and hotdogs+coke for 4 people is just USD25 and a guy like me who holds a MCSD earns USD12.000 a year, 600 buck for a game console it’s WAY off.

    Maybe we are not Sony’s target market, but the situation it’s pretty much the same starting at Texas’ border and all the way down to Argentina, IMHO THAT is a significant market!!!!

    Like

  123. #67 said
    46 — Not a bad point, but it’s based on the assumption that you have $5,000 for the full five years. If they had $5,000 at the start, they wouldn’t need to borrow it at 19%, would they?
    Comment by Jeremy — October 12, 2006 @ 11:45 am

    Caught me! Good eye!
    You are right – and most people don’t have 5k lying around to invest, and investing 5k for 5 years does deprive you of its use, no doubt.

    My point is that if you can defer a 5k purchase, you can end up with 3052.55$ extra on hand, AND your original 5k. Sure, you give up having a ps3 and a big HDTV for 5 years, but you paid yourself 3k to do that. Getting paid 3k to NOT do something for five years isn’t such a bad deal. If you don’t have 5k on hand, and can’t save that much, (like me!) you still aren’t spending 1,376.06$ for the privelge of borrowing money. That difference might be the total cost of an equivalent HDTV+PS3 in five years, anyway.

    The point that I think is more important is that if you want to know why rich people tend to stay richer, and poor people get poorer, it’s that even in this tiny case, you get an income difference of 14,400$/5yrs. That works out to an income gap of about 3k per year (rounded up), all other expenses remaining equal. For some of us, that is a lot of cash.

    ==original scenario, repeated for clarity==
    Invest 5000$ at 10% for 5 years = 8,052.55+
    Spend 5000$ at 19% for 5 years = 6,376.06-
    The credit card calcuation was done using:
    http://www.webwinder.com/wwhtmbin/java_cci.html

    Total difference in income for saver vs. spender = 14,428.61

    Like

  124. #67 said
    46 — Not a bad point, but it’s based on the assumption that you have $5,000 for the full five years. If they had $5,000 at the start, they wouldn’t need to borrow it at 19%, would they?
    Comment by Jeremy — October 12, 2006 @ 11:45 am

    Caught me! Good eye!
    You are right – and most people don’t have 5k lying around to invest, and investing 5k for 5 years does deprive you of its use, no doubt.

    My point is that if you can defer a 5k purchase, you can end up with 3052.55$ extra on hand, AND your original 5k. Sure, you give up having a ps3 and a big HDTV for 5 years, but you paid yourself 3k to do that. Getting paid 3k to NOT do something for five years isn’t such a bad deal. If you don’t have 5k on hand, and can’t save that much, (like me!) you still aren’t spending 1,376.06$ for the privelge of borrowing money. That difference might be the total cost of an equivalent HDTV+PS3 in five years, anyway.

    The point that I think is more important is that if you want to know why rich people tend to stay richer, and poor people get poorer, it’s that even in this tiny case, you get an income difference of 14,400$/5yrs. That works out to an income gap of about 3k per year (rounded up), all other expenses remaining equal. For some of us, that is a lot of cash.

    ==original scenario, repeated for clarity==
    Invest 5000$ at 10% for 5 years = 8,052.55+
    Spend 5000$ at 19% for 5 years = 6,376.06-
    The credit card calcuation was done using:
    http://www.webwinder.com/wwhtmbin/java_cci.html

    Total difference in income for saver vs. spender = 14,428.61

    Like

  125. @69 – “Robert, you are right on with this…”

    Actually he’s dead wrong with that.

    Attempting to back up one’s financial views of the average American family by citing the spending habits of people (not necessarily Americans) at two popular vacation destinations is pure madness.

    Most people go to these places with the explicit intent of spending money. How they get the money is inconsequential. They could have saved up for it, they could be burying themselves in debt for it.

    Filtering America through a narrow lens is not reality.

    If you go by Robert’s view of Las Vegas (which I have a feeling doesn’t extend beyond tourist locations) everyone there should have HDTVs and the latest tech toys in their home.

    Oddly enough, last time I went to visit my folks in Las Vegas, I didn’t see a HDTV sitting in my their living room.

    Like

  126. @69 – “Robert, you are right on with this…”

    Actually he’s dead wrong with that.

    Attempting to back up one’s financial views of the average American family by citing the spending habits of people (not necessarily Americans) at two popular vacation destinations is pure madness.

    Most people go to these places with the explicit intent of spending money. How they get the money is inconsequential. They could have saved up for it, they could be burying themselves in debt for it.

    Filtering America through a narrow lens is not reality.

    If you go by Robert’s view of Las Vegas (which I have a feeling doesn’t extend beyond tourist locations) everyone there should have HDTVs and the latest tech toys in their home.

    Oddly enough, last time I went to visit my folks in Las Vegas, I didn’t see a HDTV sitting in my their living room.

    Like

  127. One of the main problems with living in an ivory tower is that one doesn’t realise one is doing so; the ivory-clad domicile of one’s associates is assumed. That is precisely what you’ve done here, Robert.

    Please consider the possibility that jetting around the world to event after event has de-sensitised you to the realities of poverty.

    Please consider retracting – not apologising for – your original statement. I don’t think an apology is necessary, but you’ve demonstrated before that you’re big enough to go back on what you’ve said; this is another time when you should do so.

    Please consider considering the world outside A-list blogging when making posts in the future.

    What’s next? Telling people their blogs aren’t blogs or something? 😉 (see, I really do read your stuff regularly!)

    Like

  128. One of the main problems with living in an ivory tower is that one doesn’t realise one is doing so; the ivory-clad domicile of one’s associates is assumed. That is precisely what you’ve done here, Robert.

    Please consider the possibility that jetting around the world to event after event has de-sensitised you to the realities of poverty.

    Please consider retracting – not apologising for – your original statement. I don’t think an apology is necessary, but you’ve demonstrated before that you’re big enough to go back on what you’ve said; this is another time when you should do so.

    Please consider considering the world outside A-list blogging when making posts in the future.

    What’s next? Telling people their blogs aren’t blogs or something? 😉 (see, I really do read your stuff regularly!)

    Like

  129. I’m surprised nobody has suggested the logical reason that Robert is seeing big screen TVs in “poor” neighborhoods.

    I’ve seen them too, though I know that most of the people likely didn’t have the credit to buy them. No, I’m not suggesting that they’re watching stolen goods, but that they’ve been suckered into the Rent-to-Own sphere. Between Rent-to-Own and payday loans, the people who can least afford it can live the American Dream.

    Ever wonder why so many of these places are around military bases?

    It’s not because enlisted men are full of cash.

    Like

  130. I’m surprised nobody has suggested the logical reason that Robert is seeing big screen TVs in “poor” neighborhoods.

    I’ve seen them too, though I know that most of the people likely didn’t have the credit to buy them. No, I’m not suggesting that they’re watching stolen goods, but that they’ve been suckered into the Rent-to-Own sphere. Between Rent-to-Own and payday loans, the people who can least afford it can live the American Dream.

    Ever wonder why so many of these places are around military bases?

    It’s not because enlisted men are full of cash.

    Like

  131. Rob: I do live in a luxury bubble, something I’m very grateful for. But I’m gonna let my post stand cause it’s reflective of my experience.

    Like

  132. Rob: I do live in a luxury bubble, something I’m very grateful for. But I’m gonna let my post stand cause it’s reflective of my experience.

    Like

  133. @77. Wait! Don’t tell me. When you opened up your 19% interest account with Best Buy you also purchased the extended warranty on your TV they were offering,right?

    Like

  134. @77. Wait! Don’t tell me. When you opened up your 19% interest account with Best Buy you also purchased the extended warranty on your TV they were offering,right?

    Like

  135. I agree with a lot of posters here that buying a game console and TV on credit seems like a really bad idea.

    However, I generally agree with Scoble that a game console is not that expensive.

    The entertainment value per hour is FAR cheaper with games than with movies or with eating out, especially if you buy the used games at Gamestop, EB, etc. Eating out in a restaurant or watching a movie in a theatre is $5-$10 per hour, per person, whereas games are $0.50-$1.00 per hour. My recommendation is to stop eating out and stop going to the movies, and invest a little bit in a game console instead. I’d recommend a Playstation 2 instead of a Playstation 3 though, and I would recommend using a cheap TV instead of a big screen TV. (I have a secondhand Playstation 2 hooked up to a secondhand but nice 27″ TV I got for $75.) You’ll get almost as much entertainment value at a far lower cost.

    A side effect is that many games bring people together. I interact with my kids when we’re playing Guitar Hero. When I’m in a movie theatre we’re watching a movie without talking to each other. The game is a much better “family” activity.

    Like

  136. I agree with a lot of posters here that buying a game console and TV on credit seems like a really bad idea.

    However, I generally agree with Scoble that a game console is not that expensive.

    The entertainment value per hour is FAR cheaper with games than with movies or with eating out, especially if you buy the used games at Gamestop, EB, etc. Eating out in a restaurant or watching a movie in a theatre is $5-$10 per hour, per person, whereas games are $0.50-$1.00 per hour. My recommendation is to stop eating out and stop going to the movies, and invest a little bit in a game console instead. I’d recommend a Playstation 2 instead of a Playstation 3 though, and I would recommend using a cheap TV instead of a big screen TV. (I have a secondhand Playstation 2 hooked up to a secondhand but nice 27″ TV I got for $75.) You’ll get almost as much entertainment value at a far lower cost.

    A side effect is that many games bring people together. I interact with my kids when we’re playing Guitar Hero. When I’m in a movie theatre we’re watching a movie without talking to each other. The game is a much better “family” activity.

    Like

  137. Amit,

    The counterpoint is that movies and dining out are some of the last communal activities we share as a society.

    We’re all going to become net-connected, game playing shut-ins.

    Like

  138. Amit,

    The counterpoint is that movies and dining out are some of the last communal activities we share as a society.

    We’re all going to become net-connected, game playing shut-ins.

    Like

  139. $10,000? Are you mad? That’s a good chunk of my take-home pay from my last year of work!

    I can’t say not having the latest games console or an enormous hi-res television has really damaged my enjoyment of life. Wise up. It’s the biggest low-benefit-return money sink industry since the snake oil peddlers. Or indeed, the buying-a-new-car-on-finance one.

    (Mark is a uk resident who has a used car, that’s 8 years old, bought for the equivalent of ~$3750… it’s run beautifully for the 22 months since then and has represented a fantastic return on investment, even after 2 1/2 services including a cambelt change. In the same time, a family friend has got through two brand new Saab 95s. I doubt his motoring enjoyment improved by anything like the same magnitude as the spend. Similarly my brother has a room filled with consoles and a 32″ widescreen. My PSX, bargain bin dvd player and 21″ standard are doing me just dandy thanks, there’s still classic games and movies (at 4.99 – 9.99 each) I haven’t got to play yet, mainly because I’m usually doing better things with my time. One day, I will get a PS2, or maybe a GP2X handheld. Yes… I did pay ~$1400 on a new laptop… but only because the old pentium had finally hit a wall of obsolescence – AND I HAD SAVED THE CASH IN ANTICIPATION whilst researching the absolute shiniest, appropriately specced machine that offered good value and plenty of useful freebies. I fear for just how much of my remaining income after rent, food, fuel etc would have been swallowed up by interest-inflated repayments had I fallen into the usual “new! shiny! buy it on credit and pay (a hell of a lot more) later!!” traps. Given my wages thus far, and current unemployment (being remedied on monday with a casual building site job, whilst I continue applying for better paid technical things), I’d likely be well below the poverty line and having my various material goods repossessed at much below their true value)

    Good god man… borrowing 10 big ones at in-store finance prices (I almost laughed right in the PC World guy’s face when he offered me the option and I saw the interest rate! Sorry mate, you’re not getting any commission off this one, here’s my DEBIT card)… to get something that is, in effect, a toy that has no use other than entertaining you in a slightly more overblown fashion than what your neighbours can manage. It won’t mow the lawn or get you some food, and when the power’s off, it makes for a pretty ugly ornament. All the while you’re chucking the best part of $2000 in EXTRA payment at the shop (assuming a common 15-20% APR) simply because they think you should in return for buying the thing in chunks rather than putting a little aside each month (and if it goes into a savings account, your available cash INCREASES as if by magic, rather than the other way around – my “Mini Cash ISA” savings generated nearly £100 extra on a £6000 balance last year… or about $160 on a $10k balance, i.e. $2160 benefit :D) and rewarding yourself for being so good with that selfsame toy… and a little something extra along with it.

    Besides, all the early adopter stuff is always crap and overpriced. By the time you’ve saved you’ll be able to afford something that, today, would easily cost twice as much, and what you can buy right away will look primitive in comparison.

    Have I made my point yet? Stop scorning those who are smart with their money as being cowardly, when, in fact, they are going to end up *considerably* richer than you. Stop being such an advertisement-hypnotised, brand-led sheep. Or at least, continue.. but don’t get on your high horse about it, like a heroin addict may slight a “straight” man for not wanting to feel the same rush… as they vainly try to push another needle into a collapsed vein.

    Like

  140. $10,000? Are you mad? That’s a good chunk of my take-home pay from my last year of work!

    I can’t say not having the latest games console or an enormous hi-res television has really damaged my enjoyment of life. Wise up. It’s the biggest low-benefit-return money sink industry since the snake oil peddlers. Or indeed, the buying-a-new-car-on-finance one.

    (Mark is a uk resident who has a used car, that’s 8 years old, bought for the equivalent of ~$3750… it’s run beautifully for the 22 months since then and has represented a fantastic return on investment, even after 2 1/2 services including a cambelt change. In the same time, a family friend has got through two brand new Saab 95s. I doubt his motoring enjoyment improved by anything like the same magnitude as the spend. Similarly my brother has a room filled with consoles and a 32″ widescreen. My PSX, bargain bin dvd player and 21″ standard are doing me just dandy thanks, there’s still classic games and movies (at 4.99 – 9.99 each) I haven’t got to play yet, mainly because I’m usually doing better things with my time. One day, I will get a PS2, or maybe a GP2X handheld. Yes… I did pay ~$1400 on a new laptop… but only because the old pentium had finally hit a wall of obsolescence – AND I HAD SAVED THE CASH IN ANTICIPATION whilst researching the absolute shiniest, appropriately specced machine that offered good value and plenty of useful freebies. I fear for just how much of my remaining income after rent, food, fuel etc would have been swallowed up by interest-inflated repayments had I fallen into the usual “new! shiny! buy it on credit and pay (a hell of a lot more) later!!” traps. Given my wages thus far, and current unemployment (being remedied on monday with a casual building site job, whilst I continue applying for better paid technical things), I’d likely be well below the poverty line and having my various material goods repossessed at much below their true value)

    Good god man… borrowing 10 big ones at in-store finance prices (I almost laughed right in the PC World guy’s face when he offered me the option and I saw the interest rate! Sorry mate, you’re not getting any commission off this one, here’s my DEBIT card)… to get something that is, in effect, a toy that has no use other than entertaining you in a slightly more overblown fashion than what your neighbours can manage. It won’t mow the lawn or get you some food, and when the power’s off, it makes for a pretty ugly ornament. All the while you’re chucking the best part of $2000 in EXTRA payment at the shop (assuming a common 15-20% APR) simply because they think you should in return for buying the thing in chunks rather than putting a little aside each month (and if it goes into a savings account, your available cash INCREASES as if by magic, rather than the other way around – my “Mini Cash ISA” savings generated nearly £100 extra on a £6000 balance last year… or about $160 on a $10k balance, i.e. $2160 benefit :D) and rewarding yourself for being so good with that selfsame toy… and a little something extra along with it.

    Besides, all the early adopter stuff is always crap and overpriced. By the time you’ve saved you’ll be able to afford something that, today, would easily cost twice as much, and what you can buy right away will look primitive in comparison.

    Have I made my point yet? Stop scorning those who are smart with their money as being cowardly, when, in fact, they are going to end up *considerably* richer than you. Stop being such an advertisement-hypnotised, brand-led sheep. Or at least, continue.. but don’t get on your high horse about it, like a heroin addict may slight a “straight” man for not wanting to feel the same rush… as they vainly try to push another needle into a collapsed vein.

    Like

  141. Mark: here’s the deal. My mom saved everything during her life. Never had any fun. Never bought herself anything nice. Rarely came and visited us. Didn’t listen to rock and roll. Went to church every weekend. Ate healthy food.

    She died when she was 66 and left her money to me and my brothers.

    So, excuse me. By the way, I’ve done the used car thing. Drove an Acura I paid $4,000 for four years. I’ll tell you, yes, the BMW IS that much better. So is my big screen.

    If you haven’t figured it out yet, this whole post was a repudiation of my mom’s choices.

    We’re all going to end up in a cardboard box someday heading into the fire. Hope you enjoy that money you’re saving. Or maybe your kids will.

    Like

  142. Mark: here’s the deal. My mom saved everything during her life. Never had any fun. Never bought herself anything nice. Rarely came and visited us. Didn’t listen to rock and roll. Went to church every weekend. Ate healthy food.

    She died when she was 66 and left her money to me and my brothers.

    So, excuse me. By the way, I’ve done the used car thing. Drove an Acura I paid $4,000 for four years. I’ll tell you, yes, the BMW IS that much better. So is my big screen.

    If you haven’t figured it out yet, this whole post was a repudiation of my mom’s choices.

    We’re all going to end up in a cardboard box someday heading into the fire. Hope you enjoy that money you’re saving. Or maybe your kids will.

    Like

  143. @64 … I agree on the charity front… given the rock bottom prices of some things I saw when buying a few electronics essentials online — things like 1000Gb hard drives and max-speed dual layer DVD drives that, only two or three years ago, would have been somewhere on the border between fantasy and hellishly expensive — followed up by a TV advert for a store selling 14.99 DVD players and 24.99 3-megapixel digital cameras… it did prompt me to comment to a friend: Look at how far we’ve come. All this mindblowing technology that, given a couple months sacrifice of bubblegum, an 8-year-old could afford. Yet people still die of hunger in their millions. What the damn hell are we doing wrong?

    The good thing about being wise with your money – and, i guess, hanging on to your 35mm camera and VHS player until these particular products came along – means you have much more left over with which to be generous. I can’t claim a great superiority in these stakes, as I have to be careful until I’ve got a steady job again. But I don’t stinge either, as I know I can at least afford some, and when I’m settled, comfortably afford quite a bit.

    PS what would Scoble’s view be on the “get out of debt now! buy that new TV/Car/etc! We can give you credit even if you’ve been previously refused!” doorstep collection loan sharks who specifically target the poor and money-clueless with their relentless ad campaigns and very shiny, legit- and caring-looking businesses… that quietly charge them a frankly otherworldly and almost completely unaffordable 177% annual rate (or far, FAR more!) ??? Surely one of the best examples that mindless reliance on credit is a bad thing.

    Don’t totally cut up your credit cards – they can be handy to get you out of a scrape (saved my ass once or twice when an urgent, beyond-bank-balance emergency payment was needed QUICKLY, I had no chance of getting an equivalent loan, but knew i could comfortably pay it and it’s interest off ASAP later).. but don’t go purposely putting large luxury items on there, that you WANT but don’t NEED and can’t easily afford otherwise. That’s just dumb.

    Like

  144. @64 … I agree on the charity front… given the rock bottom prices of some things I saw when buying a few electronics essentials online — things like 1000Gb hard drives and max-speed dual layer DVD drives that, only two or three years ago, would have been somewhere on the border between fantasy and hellishly expensive — followed up by a TV advert for a store selling 14.99 DVD players and 24.99 3-megapixel digital cameras… it did prompt me to comment to a friend: Look at how far we’ve come. All this mindblowing technology that, given a couple months sacrifice of bubblegum, an 8-year-old could afford. Yet people still die of hunger in their millions. What the damn hell are we doing wrong?

    The good thing about being wise with your money – and, i guess, hanging on to your 35mm camera and VHS player until these particular products came along – means you have much more left over with which to be generous. I can’t claim a great superiority in these stakes, as I have to be careful until I’ve got a steady job again. But I don’t stinge either, as I know I can at least afford some, and when I’m settled, comfortably afford quite a bit.

    PS what would Scoble’s view be on the “get out of debt now! buy that new TV/Car/etc! We can give you credit even if you’ve been previously refused!” doorstep collection loan sharks who specifically target the poor and money-clueless with their relentless ad campaigns and very shiny, legit- and caring-looking businesses… that quietly charge them a frankly otherworldly and almost completely unaffordable 177% annual rate (or far, FAR more!) ??? Surely one of the best examples that mindless reliance on credit is a bad thing.

    Don’t totally cut up your credit cards – they can be handy to get you out of a scrape (saved my ass once or twice when an urgent, beyond-bank-balance emergency payment was needed QUICKLY, I had no chance of getting an equivalent loan, but knew i could comfortably pay it and it’s interest off ASAP later).. but don’t go purposely putting large luxury items on there, that you WANT but don’t NEED and can’t easily afford otherwise. That’s just dumb.

    Like

  145. Mark: I shouldn’t have advocated getting into debt that way. But, for a family who goes to the movies twice a month in a major city, this is an entertainment choice that makes a lot of sense.

    As for saving the hungry, I support that too. But most people are self interested and want to have decent entertainment, nice meals, good transportation, etc etc.

    I’m not going to apologize for buying a big screen on credit. Even expensive credit.

    Heck, even that’s helping someone feed their families and stay employed.

    Like

  146. Mark: I shouldn’t have advocated getting into debt that way. But, for a family who goes to the movies twice a month in a major city, this is an entertainment choice that makes a lot of sense.

    As for saving the hungry, I support that too. But most people are self interested and want to have decent entertainment, nice meals, good transportation, etc etc.

    I’m not going to apologize for buying a big screen on credit. Even expensive credit.

    Heck, even that’s helping someone feed their families and stay employed.

    Like

  147. Lol, where did I say I’m going to follow your mom and save all my money my entire life? No. A sense of balance sir. I’ll save for my retirement, because unlike her tragically early death, the overwhelming likelihood is that I’ll live into my 80s, and there’s no sense betting on a short, fun-filled life only to be in abject poverty later. And I’ll save up for the things I want, to have a sense of pride and acheivement that I managed to do it, rather than relief and release when it’s finally paid off later.

    But I’m not going to pour every last penny into my savings and not have some fun now either; that’s just scroogelike and is saving for the heck of it, just like spending for the hell of it. I’m enjoying life, while I’m young enough too. I’ve just also got one eye on the future and am not being suckered into the idea that I need to get an HDTV so bad that I’ll put it on credit and ultimately pay way over the odds.

    Just because your mother went totally to one extreme and then found the choice was wasted doesn’t mean you have to go completely the other way and preach to us to follow it. Besides, you have the liberty to do all this stuff, as you had that inheritance. My GRANDPARENTS are still alive, let alone my parents. Inheritance – what little I’ll get, as they grew up in poor neighbourhoods and had little money left even WITHOUT buying masses of stuff – is still a long way off.

    And just to belatedly climb off my own hypocritical high horse… you folks all do what you want. I don’t really give a crap, which is why this is the first time I’ve felt motivated to make such speeches (in response to your own post). Wreck it if you like, or work hard, buy stuff on credit, and still come out shiny side up because you have the leeway. But I know which way I’m going, and it involves giving as little needless payment to moneylenders as possible.

    PS My dad, before he nose-dove into bankrupcy, had BMWs, Mercedes, whatever, in a brief fling with thinking he knew how to spend big and not lose out. The SLK was quite nice, but impractical for most daily use. The Beemers were mostly awful pieces of metal that he couldn’t get rid of fast enough; the modest Citroen that replaced them and ran for a good 10 years was a far nicer, more comfortable (cruised all the way across europe and back, no problem), and more reliable vehicle, if just not as fast or as “bling”. Plus it had this neat trick where you could make it go up and down when stuck in traffic thanks to it’s standard-fit air suspension.

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  148. Lol, where did I say I’m going to follow your mom and save all my money my entire life? No. A sense of balance sir. I’ll save for my retirement, because unlike her tragically early death, the overwhelming likelihood is that I’ll live into my 80s, and there’s no sense betting on a short, fun-filled life only to be in abject poverty later. And I’ll save up for the things I want, to have a sense of pride and acheivement that I managed to do it, rather than relief and release when it’s finally paid off later.

    But I’m not going to pour every last penny into my savings and not have some fun now either; that’s just scroogelike and is saving for the heck of it, just like spending for the hell of it. I’m enjoying life, while I’m young enough too. I’ve just also got one eye on the future and am not being suckered into the idea that I need to get an HDTV so bad that I’ll put it on credit and ultimately pay way over the odds.

    Just because your mother went totally to one extreme and then found the choice was wasted doesn’t mean you have to go completely the other way and preach to us to follow it. Besides, you have the liberty to do all this stuff, as you had that inheritance. My GRANDPARENTS are still alive, let alone my parents. Inheritance – what little I’ll get, as they grew up in poor neighbourhoods and had little money left even WITHOUT buying masses of stuff – is still a long way off.

    And just to belatedly climb off my own hypocritical high horse… you folks all do what you want. I don’t really give a crap, which is why this is the first time I’ve felt motivated to make such speeches (in response to your own post). Wreck it if you like, or work hard, buy stuff on credit, and still come out shiny side up because you have the leeway. But I know which way I’m going, and it involves giving as little needless payment to moneylenders as possible.

    PS My dad, before he nose-dove into bankrupcy, had BMWs, Mercedes, whatever, in a brief fling with thinking he knew how to spend big and not lose out. The SLK was quite nice, but impractical for most daily use. The Beemers were mostly awful pieces of metal that he couldn’t get rid of fast enough; the modest Citroen that replaced them and ran for a good 10 years was a far nicer, more comfortable (cruised all the way across europe and back, no problem), and more reliable vehicle, if just not as fast or as “bling”. Plus it had this neat trick where you could make it go up and down when stuck in traffic thanks to it’s standard-fit air suspension.

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  149. Eh, never mind. Disregard that. I don’t fancy getting into a flamewar and hope i haven’t started one. It’s past 4am for gods sake – not a good idea to be on the net at this time 😀

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  150. Eh, never mind. Disregard that. I don’t fancy getting into a flamewar and hope i haven’t started one. It’s past 4am for gods sake – not a good idea to be on the net at this time 😀

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  151. Heheh. A good flamewar is fun once in a while.

    One thing I appreciate is I have smart readers. I expect that they’ll make their own choices to fit their own lifestyles.

    Me, I haven’t splurged on a whole lot in my life and so I have an HDTV screen that costs me $140 a month and a BMW that costs me $750 a month.

    I used to pay $1,100 a month in alimony (that ended in July), so I’m still ahead of the game there.

    And I really don’t care that I paid too much in interest. I have my big screen now and can enjoy it for four years while you’re saving up and waiting for Moore’s law to bring yours down into reach.

    And it is beautiful. When you get yours you’ll ask, like my wife did “why did we wait so long?”

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  152. Heheh. A good flamewar is fun once in a while.

    One thing I appreciate is I have smart readers. I expect that they’ll make their own choices to fit their own lifestyles.

    Me, I haven’t splurged on a whole lot in my life and so I have an HDTV screen that costs me $140 a month and a BMW that costs me $750 a month.

    I used to pay $1,100 a month in alimony (that ended in July), so I’m still ahead of the game there.

    And I really don’t care that I paid too much in interest. I have my big screen now and can enjoy it for four years while you’re saving up and waiting for Moore’s law to bring yours down into reach.

    And it is beautiful. When you get yours you’ll ask, like my wife did “why did we wait so long?”

    Like

  153. HAVE YOU BEEN LOOKING FOR A SUPPLIER OF XBOX 360’S AND PLAYSTATION 3’S. I KNOW WHAT YOU ARE GOING THOUGH. NOBODY WANTS TO ANSWER ANY QUESTIONS BUT EVERYONE WANTS YOUR MONEY. STOP GIVING IT AWAY TO THE SCAMMERS. BUY FROM ME. CALL 562 234 1814 TO GET YOUR PS3’S OR XBOX 360 CONSOLES DELIVERED OVERNIGHT. EMAIL WHOLESALEPLAYSTATION3@GMAIL.COM OR CALL TODAY 562 234 1814

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  154. HAVE YOU BEEN LOOKING FOR A SUPPLIER OF XBOX 360’S AND PLAYSTATION 3’S. I KNOW WHAT YOU ARE GOING THOUGH. NOBODY WANTS TO ANSWER ANY QUESTIONS BUT EVERYONE WANTS YOUR MONEY. STOP GIVING IT AWAY TO THE SCAMMERS. BUY FROM ME. CALL 562 234 1814 TO GET YOUR PS3’S OR XBOX 360 CONSOLES DELIVERED OVERNIGHT. EMAIL WHOLESALEPLAYSTATION3@GMAIL.COM OR CALL TODAY 562 234 1814

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  155. LOL! That is why most people are now in foreclosure. This is the most stupid advice I've read in a looong time!

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  156. LOL! That is why most people are now in foreclosure. This is the most stupid advice I've read in a looong time!

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