Personal Finance and the iPhone Affect

June 7, 2010 by  
Filed under Fools of Finance, Spending

How many hours will you waste this year staring at your hand?

That’s the rhetorical question I asked in a comment to this sad admission from a personal finance blogger:  I Want the New iPhone & I Don’t Care What’s In It. It seems that the Latte Factor has now been joined by the iPhone Affect.

Earlier this year I agitated a few folks when I suggested that some personal finance blogs should come with warning labels. In that case, the writer was lusting after a Mac Book Pro that he intended to buy even though he was basically broke.

I get that everyone has their spending weaknesses. We spend a lot of money supporting a horse and on boating. We enjoy these activities. Smithee, the writer with iPhone lust, will “enjoy” his gadget, while exercising his fingers in the process.

But there is a difference. We haven’t had any consumer debt for many years. If you read the entire Consumerism Commentary piece, you will learn that Smithee’s planned purchase of yet another iPhone will coincide with finally paying off his credit card debt, which has hung around since 1997. While I commend him for paying off his credit cards in only 13 years (OK – some sarcasm there), is this the way you celebrate? Buying a gadget because “the faster processor tickles my envy bone?”

How about investing that money, Smithee? Or if you must buy something that you can hold in your hand and stare at, how about a book? Maybe a book about personal finance? I think you have some catching up to do.

Smithee is not alone. There are millions who are obsessively connected to an iPhone. Many of them pay dearly in time and dollars to maintain that connection.

On the other hand, I’m on a bit of a revolt against what the iPhone represents. I’ve owned two smart phones in the past five years, fully loaded and linked to my office. I’m tired of the information overload. I’m tired of paying for a data plan just so I can feel “connected” no matter what I’m doing. I’m tired of watching people stare at their hands while riding up the elevator only 30 seconds from their office. I don’t want to be one of those people anymore.

I believe my next phone will be a simple talk and text device with no contract and no data plan. Two of my adult sons use those phones. They seem to survive just fine. If I am so inclined, I can have my daily calendar, important reminders, and critical email from important clients sent to me as a text message. That’s all the information I need to walk around with.

The iPhone Affect is not a good thing. At least think about it.

Feed Mr. ToughMoneyLove

FREE UPDATES: If you enjoyed this, please subscribe to receive the newest hard truth from Mr. ToughMoneyLove automatically by RSS feed (what is RSS?) or by spam-free Email.

  • Banner


6 Responses to “Personal Finance and the iPhone Affect”
  1. Melissa says:

    Good luck finding a decent ‘Talk and Text’ device. I am intending to upgrade my existing ‘Talk and Text’ device to another basic ‘Talk and Text’ device simply so I stop thinking about fancier phones with expensive plans for another two years. The problem is they are almost universally awful. They’re bulky, cheap feeling and there are only a couple to choose from. They don’t hold a thing to my basic, slim, low key LG. Surely there are more than just you and I who don’t care to pay $30/month for the rest of our lives for a data plan and silly applications?

  2. Rick Beagle says:

    I did not read the other blog, but if he is on sound financial ground (which it sounds like he might be) then I say get your IPhone. Regardless of what we may think of the device, a little reward for fiscal discipline isn’t such a bad idea.

    On another note, I again repeat my oft mentioned mantra on these types of purchases, avoid the peer pressure, and get what you need.

    In the case of the IPhone, AT&T network issues mean that in many markets, the ability to actually place or receive a call is questionable. And don’t even get me started on the new pricing plans….

    Rick Beagle

  3. morrison says:

    I’m getting a ‘new’ iPhone for free soon. Yup. My daughter is giving me her ‘old’ one while she gets a new one. I think the iPhone technology is really neat. It eliminates the need for me to lug around my laptop when I travel. Plus it’s a GPS and comes in handy in the city. I like the fact that I can get instant access to some questions that pop up during the day. The new iPhones have SKYPE availability in the fact that you can now talk and see the person you are talking to. My daughters’ boyfriend works in Hong Kong for months at a time. Plus he is away from his own parents and siblings. It’s fantastic to talk to loved ones and actually see them.

    Technology is a wonder.

    TML, you’re showing your age by rejecting it. Why must you think you will look like others simply because you carry a smart phone? Can’t you still be an individual and be connected?

    I get all my kids ‘hand-me-downs’. Perfect timing because it does take me a while to get used to the innovations. And it’s just another thing that keeps me on par with my children.

    • This has nothing to do with age. Technology can be a wonder when it doesn’t waste time or money. I own and use lots of technology, probably more than most folks. Technology is my business. I no longer have the need or desire to carry it in my pocket 24/7. I have three 20-something sons, each of whom has rejected fully loaded cell phones for the same reasons.

      “Neat” technology is just that, neat. It doesn’t mean its productive or worth the constant upgrades or a monthly data plan from AT&T. If an iPhone is a prime source of entertainment then I get that. But call it what it is, an expensive toy that you pay for month after month.

  4. Lauren says:

    it’s just not with i-phones but other smart phones. The price to have the phone month to month is astronomical… don’t even talk to me about getting a family plan.

    If that is how someone wants to reward themselves, that’s fine. However, they need to consider what percentage of their income is actually going to pay for that device. They also need to ask themselves what they’re going to do in 6 months when the upgrade comes out. Plus, when you get stuck paying those monthly plans and one month you can’t make the whole payment, what are you going to do?

    the problem I have is that a lot of jobs require that you have access to your email 24/7. work, for some people, isn’t just 9-5 anymore. So a simple text/talk plan doesn’t work for those people.

    Great post!

  5. MasterPo says:

    Iphone deinately has some good apps BUT can also be a *MAJOR* time-sinkhole!!

    For someone who can use the apps productively for business it may be worth it. And there are some useful personal apps too. But I have no immediate craving to get one. Someday probably (or something similar, maybe a Droid). But I’m in no rush.

    I have a LG Envy now that I use 90% for texting. Does all I need it to do right now.

Speak Your Mind

Please leave a comment and tell us your version of the hard truth...

You must be logged in to post a comment.