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Amazon Addiction

Who swears by their Amazon Prime account? If you’re in the club (I can honestly say I’m not. Weird, I know), you’re in very good company.

Outgoing CEO Jeff Bezos published his letter to shareholders last week and — no huge surprise here — noted that Prime subscription grew remarkably over the past year, thanks to the pandemic shutdown.

“But, Sarah,” you may be asking, “how much growth is ‘remarkable’?”

Excellent question! If you want to throw numbers at it, Prime membership grew from 50 million people in the beginning of 2020 to over 200 million subscribers now. That’s a 4-times growth in one year for a company that was already one of the most valuable in the world. It’s a lot of people watching The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel because there’s nothing else to do and having stuff delivered while they couldn’t go out.

Customers complete 28% of purchases on Amazon in three minutes or less, and half of all purchases are finished in less than 15 minutes. 

– Amazon Chairman & CEO Jeff Bezos

I think it’s also very telling that “[c]ustomers complete 28% of purchases on Amazon in three minutes or less, and half of all purchases are finished in less than 15 minutes.” While our friend Jeff the-richest-person-in-the-world Bezos writes about the time saved because of Amazon’s convenience, I (the very humble financial advisor) worry about the ease of hitting “Buy it Now”.

It’s well documented that we humans like things to be easy. As easy as possible. Our pre-historic monkey brains love easy. And Amazon has freaking mastered that concept. They oh-so-helpfully save your credit card and your address, and they suggest other items that you might like, all to make the shopping process absolutely seamless. You barely have to think about it. Reducing the time to purchase also reduces the time our evolved human brain has to assert itself and ask “do I really need this?”.

As part of my relationship with my clients, I look back at their most recent 3 month’s worth of statements to get a feel for their spending as well as help them construct a budget they’ll actually want to stick to. The number of times I see “Amazon.com” on statements is amazing. Let me be clear: I’m not saying you need to immediately cancel your account and block yourself from ever visiting the site again! It’s just that I often hear clients express regret that the money they spent on something that felt good in the moment is now money they don’t have to put towards their financial priorities. All because that damn monkey brain was in control.

Do you have an Amazon addiction you want to kick? Or a financial goal that you feel like you just can’t seem to make any progress on? Sign up for a free 45 minute consultation here and let’s talk.

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