A new survey found that 27 percent of millennials are saving more money due to the pandemic, but most can't stay within their budgets.
Taking control of bad luck<p>According to <a href="https://themanifest.com/accounting/budgeting-money-tips-for-millennials" target="_blank">a recent survey by The Manifest</a>, a business news website, millennials agree with Cramer. The study found that, of millennials surveyed, their largest expenses were housing (66 percent), educational expenses (9 percent), and health insurance (6 percent). In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, millennials are using the remaining 19 percent of their paychecks to budget and increase their savings.</p><p>About a third of millennials said they are saving more money in response to the pandemic and creating new budgets for themselves. In fact, of all generations surveyed, millennials felt the most comfortable creating personal budgets. They were also willing to think critically and adjust budgets to match financial changes, both signs that this highly-educated generation is willing to learn and adapt.</p><p>Millennials still have a rough road ahead, though. According to the survey, about half of millennials make less than $50,000 a year. That puts them into the upper-lower or lower-middle <a href="https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2020/07/23/are-you-in-the-american-middle-class/#:~:text=In%202018%2C%20the%20national%20middle,(incomes%20in%202018%20dollars)." target="_blank">income class</a>, depending on where in the country they live. That matches <a href="https://www.bls.gov/opub/mlr/2019/article/time-use-of-millennials-and-nonmillennials.htm#:~:text=Among%20full%2Dtime%20wage%20and,with%2031%20percent%20of%20nonmillennials." target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">BLS data</a>, which shows millennials earning less than older non-millennials. <a href="https://www.bls.gov/opub/mlr/2019/beyond-bls/the-kids-are-alright-millennials-and-the-economy.htm" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">The BLS also notes</a> that while millennials have less debt than GenXers, most of that is student loan debt rather than mortgages.</p><p>And despite their budgetary plans, only 11 percent of millennials surveyed were able to stay within budget, while uncertainty still looms in the future job market.<em></em></p><p>With all this said, there are caveats to The Manifest survey. It hosted a relatively small sample size, only surveying 502 Americans. Of those, millennials made up 22 percent of respondents. They weren't even the largest cohort in the study. That was the baby boomers at 32 percent. </p><p>This makes the survey more suggestive than indicative. But the suggestion is that millennials, to borrow a phrase from writer Vicki Robin, are ready to reinterpret their relationship with finances.</p>
A push for financial freedom<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="a463513bfbe5a2b7d5bcc59f8be265a7"><iframe type="lazy-iframe" data-runner-src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/J-B-b393epk?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span><p>While budgeting and financial savvy have always been important, the millennial generation will need to be far more critical of their relationship with the economy. What <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T_tDthUWsVM" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Robin calls the old roadmap</a>—the idea that "growth is good, more is better, game over"—is unlikely to support millennials as it did past generations. They'll need a new roadmap, charting both a new macro (the relationship between our economic and ecological footprints, for example) and micro (our individual relationships with money).</p><p>Because the macro is a whole other article, we'll stick with the micro here:</p><p><strong>1) Track and cut your spending</strong></p><p>The first step to financial freedom is to track your spending and cut unnecessary purchases. For Robin, these are often the things, services, and subscriptions that we buy out of habit, but we no longer consider whether they add value to our lives.</p><p>A pernicious modern example is the subscription economy. We subscribe to services for food, clothes, television, exercise, self-help, video games, bric-a-brac, computer programs, and on and on. These services quickly fade into the financial background as just another bill we pay. </p><p>But if we watch Netflix nine times out of ten, why pay for Hulu and Disney+ and HBO Max and CBS All access? Instead, every month or so, we should scrutinize our subscriptions to ask whether they still add value to our lives. If they don't, unsubscribe.</p><p><strong>2) Kill your debt</strong></p><p>Debt doesn't just take away money we could save elsewhere; it's also a self-replicating devourer of wealth. Your debt interest rates are almost certainly higher than your investment returns, especially on credit cards. Because of this, no matter your saving rituals, you're likely bleeding wealth the longer you remain in debt.</p><p>Instead, focus on removing debt from your life. Again, credit card debt especially. The good news is that most companies have hardship programs to help debtors. You can call them to see if they can lower your interest rates or provide other helpful services.</p><p>"Financial accommodations are generally readily available right now," Amy Thomann, the head of consumer credit education at TransUnion, <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2020/08/29/at-home/manage-finances-save-money-millennials-coronavirus.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">told the New York Times</a><u>.</u> "Lenders, just like consumers, understand the hardships that are going on in the economy."</p><p><strong>3) Have an emergency fund</strong></p><p>Of course, you'll need some savings when the unexpected happens. Say—I don't know—a worldwide pandemic? Experts like Robin and Thomann recommend people have three to six months' worth of expenses on reserve. These should be in liquid assets so you can access them easily and quickly.</p><p>Of course, that's not always feasible, but you should save what you can. </p><p><strong>4) Find social outlets that don't cost</strong></p><p>The economic shutdown has offered one financial boon: It has revealed ways we can enjoy each other's company with overspending. We can host movies remotely with our friends. Play video games online. Enjoy physical-distance strolls through the park. And a host of other creative connections. After the pandemic, the occasional bar hop or Friday dinner out can still be a guilty pleasure. But unlike sitcom characters, we shouldn't be spending our social lives on the set of our favorite coffee shops or local watering holes.</p><p><strong>5) Reconsider your relationship with money</strong></p><p>Robin pushes her readers to be financially free. That is, to understand that there's an economy, people have a relationship with it, but it shouldn't become an obsession that runs their lives. As <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xDaBjc4QyWU" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">she told <em>Big Think</em></a>: "It's like there are so many presumptions that drive us into wage [slavery], and it doesn't matter whether you are at the low end or the high end. If you are engaged in that sort of anxious process of 'more, more, more,' you are not free."</p><p>The millennial generation has certainly been dealt a bum hand, but it's perhaps defeatist, and more than a little premature, to label them the unluckiest generation. Perhaps after being led astray by the old roadmap, they will be the generation to reconsider their relationship with money—not as an end itself but a means to a healthier and more beneficial life. </p>
Finances can be a stressor, regardless of tax bracket. Here are tips for making better money decisions.
- Whether you have a lot of money or a lot of debt, it matters how you handle your personal finances. A crucial step when it comes to saving is to reassess your relationship with money and to learn to adopt a broader, more logical point of view.
- In this video, social innovator and activist Vicki Robin, psychologist Daniel Kahneman, Harvard Business School professor Michael Norton, and author Bruce Feiler offer advice on achieving financial independence, learning to control your emotions, spending smarter, and teaching children about money.
- It all starts with education and understanding. The more you know about how money works, the better you will be at avoiding mistakes and the easier it will be to take control of your financial circumstances.
Johann Hari knows that mental health is really a social issue.
- Johann Hari believes we need to treat universal basic income as an antidepressant.
- In his book, Lost Connections, he writes that 65-80% of people on antidepressant medication are still depressed.
- Instead of treating depression as a chemical imbalance, we need to look at the social causes really driving it.
Depression and anxiety: How inequality is driving the mental health crisis | Johann Hari<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="d7873b6d10e5d3a8dd73fc09c5c3314b"><iframe type="lazy-iframe" data-runner-src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/lRhEIz4GbK0?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span><p>Reports from Italians and South Koreans and Chinese tell us that sheltering at home is hard. These videos also reveal something important: The citizens know their compliance serves a greater good, protecting their health care workers, elderly, and immunodeficient peers. Over here we're experiencing an <a href="https://www.thedailybeast.com/coronavirus-is-making-a-lot-of-people-anxious-and-depressed-but-some-sufferers-actually-feel-better-now" target="_blank">uptick in anxiety and depression</a>. This isn't surprising in a culture that's all about the individual. </p><p>Depression is Hari's wheelhouse. He went through the ringer trying to fight it with prescription meds. In the process of conducting research for his book, a number of uncomfortable truths emerged. Namely, that the normal course for fighting depression—SSRIs and SNRIs—isn't working. They never really did, at least not in the long term. Reporting on extensive research on antidepressant medication, he writes, </p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"The numbers showed that 25 percent of the effects of antidepressants were due to natural recovery, 50 percent were due to the story you had been told about them, and only 25 percent to the actual chemicals."</p><p>In 2010, journalist Robert Whitaker <a href="https://www.amazon.com/Anatomy-Epidemic-Bullets-Psychiatric-Astonishing-ebook/dp/B0036S4EGE" target="_blank">came to the same conclusion</a>: It's the environment, dummy. The problem is that the story of a chemical imbalance is easy to grasp. Complex social dynamics—income disparity, racism, verbal and physical abuse, gender discrimination, technology addiction—are cognitively taxing, though these are the real drivers of depression. "The medicine clearly doesn't <em>fix</em> a chemical imbalance in the brain," he writes. "Instead, it does precisely the opposite." </p><p>Hari writes that between 65-80 percent of people on antidepressants continue to be depressed. Clearly the drugs aren't working. What then to do? You have to address the root problem. Let's start with income disparity so that the citizens of the richest nation in the history of Earth <a href="https://www.wsj.com/articles/nearly-a-third-of-u-s-renters-didnt-pay-april-rent-11586340000" target="_blank">can pay their rent</a>. Perhaps, as Hari <a href="https://www.vox.com/2020/3/28/21196268/coronavirus-johann-hari-lost-connections-anxiety-depression-failure-rugged-individualism" target="_blank">recently suggested</a>, we should try universal basic income. </p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"The single biggest thing that will affect people's anxiety is not knowing if you're going to be thrown out of your home next month or how you're going to feed your children. And I think there's an element of cruel optimism in telling a country of people living paycheck to paycheck that they should be responding to the anxiety they're experiencing this moment primarily by meditating and switching off the news. That's not going to solve the problem. The single most important thing that has to be done to deal with people's depression and anxiety is to deal with the financial insecurity they're facing."</p>
Bottles of antidepressant pills named (L-R) Wellbutrin, Paxil, Fluoxetine and Lexapro are shown March 23, 2004 photographed in Miami, Florida. The Food and Drug Administration asked makers of popular anti-depressants to add or strengthen suicide-related warnings on their labels as well as the possibility of worsening depression especially at the beginning of treatment or when the doses are increased or decreased.
Photo Illustration by Joe Raedle/Getty Images<p>Rather socialist of him, but really, the "we can't afford this" argument aimed at everything our administration can't monetize has always been wrong. It's getting dangerous out here, and it's not clearing up. </p><p>Hari isn't denying that there can be biological and genetic causes of depression. As he argues in his book, we completely overlook the social causes. Decade after decade, the American social structure has been fragmenting more and more. Our close relationships are shrinking. A million online friends will never replace the one person you can call at midnight to work through troublesome thoughts with. </p><p>Depression isn't a brain malfunction. That might be a <em>result</em>, but it's rarely the cause. Rather, Hari writes, it's "an understandable response to adversity." Right now, we're collectively trying to manage the most widespread adversity in generations. Pretending that you can slay that dragon yourself will only get you burned. </p><p>The first level is individual: strengthen your social connections. This might prove difficult at this particular moment, but framing this challenge as a societal issue is going to serve you better in the long run than taking it personally. Of course, none of this is easy. We've been raised to believe that each one of us can be our own brand—a rather lonely occupation. Humans are social animals. We need to honor that. </p><p>The second level requires participation in our democracy, which means voting for representatives that champion concepts like health care for all and UBI. This nonsensical argument that we can't pay for it while a tiny percentage of the wealthiest citizens pay little to no taxes is ludicrous. In <em>Lost Connections</em>, Hari reported from Berlin's <a href="https://kottiundco.net/english/" target="_blank">low-income neighborhood of Kotti</a>, where rent hikes were driving lifelong residents out. Conservative Turkish immigrants, German hipsters, and the owner of a gay club, usually wary of one another, came together to fight back. Not only did they win (not every victory, but some important ones), they were bonded by their shared sense of community. Many became friends. </p><p>Hari notes that El Salvador, which happens to be among the world's poorest nations, has canceled every citizen's rent and utility bills for the next three months. "If El Salvador can do it," he says, "America can do it." It will require, as he writes, rethinking what medicine actually is.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"An antidepressant...isn't just a pill. It's anything that lifts your despair. The evidence that chemical antidepressants don't work for most people shouldn't make us give up on the idea of an antidepressant. But it should make us look for better antidepressants—and they may not look anything like we've been trained to think of them by Big Pharma."</p><p>If you want to fight depression and anxiety, you need to change the story you tell yourself. As a society, we need to empower everyone so that they can climb the bottom rungs of Maslow's <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maslow's_hierarchy_of_needs" target="_blank">hierarchy of needs</a>—ensure everyone's health and provide enough financial support for basic needs—and encourage group participation instead of espousing the <a href="https://www.huffpost.com/entry/pull-yourself-up-by-your-bootstraps-nonsense_n_5b1ed024e4b0bbb7a0e037d4" target="_blank">bootstraps rhetoric</a>. It's not rocket science and it's certainly not modern psychiatry. It's common sense. </p><p><span></span>--</p><p><em>Stay in touch with Derek on <a href="http://www.twitter.com/derekberes" target="_blank">Twitter</a> and <a href="https://www.facebook.com/DerekBeresdotcom" target="_blank">Facebook</a>. His next book is</em> "Hero's Dose: The Case For Psychedelics in Ritual and Therapy."</p>
More frequent sex has been linked with higher income rates, according to a 2013 study.
- A 2013 study associated more frequent sex with higher income rates. The initial hypothesis suggested that medical, psychological and physical positive effects of sexual activity could influence wage factors in working adults.
- Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs all tie in with a healthy sex life, according to several studies listed below.
- Scoring high on Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs is directly linked to securing and maintaining high-wage income and making smarter financial decisions.
Maslow's Heirarchy of Needs<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMjg2ODgyNy9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY1NDU4MjU3MX0.ir1UBRR6mybW0P9EUbZp7-lzuAGwZ_jtM149kUDdknc/img.jpg?width=980" id="51749" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="7152b6185534098c8c6d0ebf5b1f4e41" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="maslow's hierarchy of needs concept businessman saving money" />
When our basic needs are being met, we are more motivated to excel in our careers, earning (and saving) more money in the process.
Image by Shutter_M on Shutterstock<p>The study referenced <a href="https://www.simplypsychology.org/maslow.html" target="_blank">Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs</a>, which outlines the basic human needs that need to be met before other motivations for better-living occur. This has been deemed as a "theory for human motivation," as American psychologist Abraham Maslow stated that when these needs are met, the individual can lead a happier, more fulfilled life.</p><p><strong>The five basic needs are: </strong></p><ul><li>Physiological </li><li>Safety</li><li>Belongingness</li><li>Esteem</li><li>Self-actualization </li></ul><div>Several studies (including <a href="https://news.illinois.edu/view/6367/205291" target="_blank">this University of Illinois study</a>) have supported Maslow's Needs theory, with the caveat that the definition of having these needs met can vary depending on where in the world you live.</div><p><strong>The link between Maslow's Needs and your sex life</strong></p><p>While there are many ways to fulfill Maslow's Needs, a healthy sex life (or happy relationship) checks a lot of the boxes.</p><p>Physiological needs such as the need for sleep, food, and oxygen don't require a mate, however the physiological need for reproduction does. </p><p>Safety and belongingness are qualities often associated with relationships, either romantic or platonic. Whether it's a lifelong friendship or a close intimate one, that human connection satisfies the second level of Maslow's hierarchy.</p><p>Esteem for Maslow refers to the need for respect, self-esteem, and confidence. Confidence and high self-esteem have been directly linked to active sex lives and vice versa, according to <a href="https://www.health.harvard.edu/mens-health/improving-your-self-esteem-can-improve-your-sex-life" target="_blank">Harvard Medical School</a>. </p><p><a href="https://www.interaction-design.org/literature/article/self-actualization-maslow-s-hierarchy-of-needs" target="_blank">Self-actualization</a> represents the highest motivations that we have as human beings. These are things that drive us to realize our full potential and help us become our most ideal self. According to <a href="https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.2466/pr0.1922.214.171.1241" target="_blank">this 1995 study</a> published in Psychological Reports, self-actualization and empathy are key predictors of high marital satisfaction.</p><p><strong>The link between a healthy sex life and a satisfying high-income career</strong></p><p>The reasoning behind Maslow's Needs is that if these basic human needs aren't being met, the human will not be able to function or thrive in society. People who have these needs met are happier, more fulfilled individuals, and are more successful in work and relationships. The more successful you are in your career, the better chance you have for higher-income jobs or salary bumps.</p><p>A healthy, active and happy intimate/sexual relationship is key to accomplishing Maslow's 5 Needs, which in turn is critical to helping you land a high-income job that you care about. </p>
Couples in successful relationships have mastered the skill of “financial harmony”<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMjg2ODgzMC9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYxMTQ3ODMwNX0.1tUYC84R6BbTrr7tBiRBchonYPWHLaI72QMmScH9TXM/img.jpg?width=980" id="16913" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="72763b9e40f525f26698a94c291aa76a" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="concept couple fighting over debt money finances" />
"Of all the intimacies you share, the sharing of money sparks the most arguments and creates the most resentment and confusion."
Photo by fizkes on Shuttestock<p><a href="https://www.theforumjournal.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/Financial-harmony-A-key.pdf" target="_blank">A recent FFCI (Forum for Family and Consumer Issues) study</a> which took place over a period of two years and included a total of 161 participants showed a direct link between what is described as "financial harmony," or agreeance over financial roles and ideas, and happiness of the overall relationship. The study was completely voluntary and confidential.</p><p>Money can be a major cause of conflict and stress in relationships and because of this, there is a significant link between good finances and happy relationships. More than 60% of participants in this survey stated that financial problems increased the amount of stress in their romantic lives. </p><p>Citing an article by Felton-Collins and S.B. Brown, the authors of the FFCI study wrote that "Of all the intimacies you share, the sharing of money sparks the most arguments and creates the most resentment and confusion.<em>"</em> </p><p>Marriage therapist Barton Goldsmith is quoted saying that "couples may find it harder to talk about money than about sex." This idea that sex is a delicate and controversial topic even in the most intimate relationships furthers the notion that being in "financial harmony" with your significant other is a key to a successful long-term relationship. </p>
The impact of sex on your finances, and vice versa, according to a marriage therapist<p>If given a choice between answering two questions (your favorite sex position or how much money was in your savings account right now), most people would choose to describe intimate details of their sex lives rather than list a number in a bank account. Why? Because sex is easier to talk about than money.</p><p>Sex is fun, interesting, and feels good - money is known to cause stress. Add to that each person's individual history and view on finances, and you can understand how talking about finances in any kind of romantic relationship can feel extremely difficult. </p><p>However, according to marriage and family therapist Lisa Bahar, not only does financial stress impact intimacy, but the lack of financial stress can improve intimacy (and vice versa). </p><p>"Couples who are experiencing financial strain have a higher likelihood of experiencing disruptions or difficulties in the bedroom", <a href="https://www.gobankingrates.com/saving-money/relationships/improve-sex-life-saving-money-financial-stress/" target="_blank">she explains in a 2015 interview</a>. "I see more and more with the strain that the economy/financial impact has on couples that there is a decrease in interest and a feeling of disconnection, which plays out sometimes by withholding or shutting down among partners." </p>
Is obsessive shopping a compulsion, an addiction, or both?
- Shopping might be one of the most socially acceptable addictions, but it's still a very powerful one that up to 6% of our population struggles with.
- Shopping addiction is a predominantly female problem, with around 90% of shopaholics being women.
- The neurotransmitter dopamine (which is also activated when we indulge in addictive substances such as alcohol or addictive behaviors like gambling) floods our system when we buy new things.
What is shopping addiction?<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMjg0MDYyMy9vcmlnaW4ucG5nIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYzOTcxNDYzM30.QprVRdQCOgWcIF5nc4irSckH3gY4yextLmbJTrvfSYc/img.png?width=980" id="60235" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="72e3e40ed441495a2a4096d6ca5cf275" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="woman holding shopping bags" />
Photo by gpointstudio on Shutterstock<p>According to this <a href="https://www.psychguides.com/behavioral-disorders/shopping-addiction/" target="_blank">American Addiction Centers resource</a>, there are different types of "shopaholics":</p><ul><li>Compulsive shoppers who buy things when they are feeling emotional distress.</li><li>Trophy shoppers who are always looking for the next perfect item.</li><li>Flashy shoppers who crave the attention and adoration that comes with having nice, new things.</li><li>Bargain shoppers who purchase things through couponing and sales, even if the items are not needed or desired. </li><li>"Bulimic" shoppers who purchase and return items as part of a vicious cycle. </li><li>Collective shoppers who find emotional value and wholeness in having "complete sets" of things (for example, one specific shirt in each color).</li></ul><p><strong>Why is shopping addiction more socially acceptable than other addictions?<br><br></strong>On your way to work, you likely pass dozens of posters, adverts, and signs that are urging you to spend your money on the latest tech trends, clothes or fast food. However, the fact that consumerism is pushed on us by society isn't the only thing that can affect a shopaholic's behaviors; shopping is a way of life.</p><p>You need food from the grocery store, you need clothing, you need gas for your vehicle. Even if you try to curb your compulsive buying addiction by not going to stores in person, the world of online shopping is much more dangerous. With a credit card and a few strokes of your keyboard, you can purchase just about anything you can think of. </p><p>There is some debate between therapists, psychologists, and researchers over whether or not shopping addiction is a "real" addiction. <em>"</em>Very rarely,<em>" </em>says <a href="https://www.verywellmind.com/is-compulsive-shopping-really-an-addiction-22462" target="_blank">psychologist Elizabeth Hartney</a>, "is shopping addiction taken as seriously as addiction to substances like alcohol and drugs or other behavioral addictions such as compulsive gambling…"</p><p>Hartney suggests that most research on the topic of compulsive shopping is done by marketing companies, which means it's not seen as often by clinical professionals. The motives behind these kinds of research journals are purely from a marketing and consumerism standpoint and leave out the psychological behaviors that make up a shopping addiction.</p>
Is being a shopaholic an addiction or a compulsive disorder?<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMjgzOTQ4NC9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYwODI3NTc1OH0.kyXb_KpqUsZN_xba_4dNr1V_XAbTIxR9Q7xgScbCyYM/img.jpg?width=1245&coordinates=0%2C52%2C0%2C52&height=700" id="e2129" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="f7797eec627edfb8de19d865333925fe" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="concept compulsive online shopping man holding credit card online shopping" />
What is the difference between shopping addiction and a compulsion to buy things?
Photo by Ivan Kruk on Shutterstock<p>Part of the confusion around shopaholics (and why society has deemed this specific behavior as more acceptable than a gambling addiction, for example) may be the thin line that separates "addiction" from "compulsion".</p><p>Shopping addiction can be referred to as compulsive shopping, but it's important to note that a compulsion is quite different than an addiction. </p><p><u>Addiction:</u></p><ul><li>A broad term that describes an entire process: trying something (a substance such as alcohol or a behavior such as gambling), becoming emotionally and physically dependent on it, and then becoming psychologically and physically addicted to it. </li><li>Addictions have been described as all-encompassing: they are psychological, physical, emotional, biological things.</li><li>People who struggle with addiction have explained feeling euphoric, elevated, happy, complete and whole when they partake in their addiction. </li></ul><p><u>Compulsion:</u></p><ul><li>A more narrow term that often refers to a specific, intense urge to do something. </li><li>Compulsions have been described as "an itch you can't scratch" or a persistent thought process that won't leave you. </li><li>People who struggle with a compulsion explain feeling immense relief and relaxation from completing behaviors that they feel compelled to do. </li></ul><p>The characteristics of shopping addiction tend to blend in with what would be considered a buying compulsion. This may explain the hesitation to declare this phenomenon as either addiction or compulsion - because it can be either, or both, depending on each individual situation.</p><p><strong>Some commonly known characteristics of compulsive shopping disorder can include: </strong></p><ul><li>Shopping for unneeded items, so much so that it becomes a preoccupation, taking you away from daily responsibilities such as work duties and home life. </li><li>Spending much of your time shopping (online shopping counts) or doing intense research on items you wish to buy. </li><li>Extreme difficulty resisting the urge to purchase something, even if it's not needed or even desired. </li><li>An elevated sense of self-worth or euphoria when making purchases. </li><li>Continuing a shopping spree or unnecessary purchasing despite negative consequences such as debt or financial trouble. </li><li>Problems at work or with loved ones due to your uncontrollable shopping urges. </li><li>Deep satisfaction and calm state after making a purchase. </li></ul><p>Compulsive shopping and buying addiction have been well-recognized in the past century (with Hollywood even making movies that dress-down the issue, such as "<a href="https://www.imdb.com/title/tt1093908/" target="_blank">Confessions of a Shopaholic</a>"). As of the 2018 edition, it is still not listed in the <a href="https://www.psychiatry.org/psychiatrists/practice/dsm" target="_blank">DSM</a> (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) as a compulsive disorder, despite its similarities to other disorders such as OCD or bipolar disorder.</p><p>For example, compulsive shopping can be linked directly to mood disorders such as anxiety, depression or bipolar - where compulsive buying and shopping serve as a "coping mechanism" for emotions they can't deal with. </p>