Clark and Lois – post consumption consumers

I called some new clients in a recent meeting ‘post consumption consumers’, and had to immediately explain to them I meant they have everything they need and most of the things they want, except time.

Let’s stop and think about that for a second.

  • They have everything they need.
  • And most of the things they want.
  • Except time.

The clients, let’s call them Clark and Lois, are really, really busy people. It took quite a while for them to find a convenient time to meet up. There were just so many things to do, Clark has a business to run with staff, clients and suppliers to keep happy, Lois has a very demanding employer. They have children to think about, parents that are not as young as they used to be and so forth. Busy, busy, busy. If only there were a couple of more hours in the day, they could get so much more done.

The question is, what do Clark and Lois want to do with their time? It’s probably everyone’s most valuable resource and I can guarantee it’s the one thing we are all running out of.

Modern advertising is struggling to satisfy the post consumption consumer. They want to sell you more “stuff” but you probably have enough “stuff” already. You are too busy to pay attention to their advertising (and if you’re like me, skip them if you’re watching TV on playback), but desperate to find quality solutions to solve any problems.

Clark and Lois were struck by my description. I’ve been to their house so I know it’s very nice. They have two well-educated children both now at university. They drive good cars. But when I said they were probably done with consuming and needed to think about what to do with time instead they had never really thought of this before.

They explained how Clark’s parents now live in Spain (no, not Krypton) and one of the number of examples they talked about was spending more time hiking in the Spanish hills. After more discussions Lois was quite positive they can live on less money and spend more wisely. In essence, Clark and Lois want to get to the point where they know they have enough money to spend on what they value so highly and never run out of it.

For me, this is the key to successful financial planning. Whether you should pay money into a pension, an ISA, invest in another buy to let or anything else is secondary to these main questions: what do want to do with your time? And why?

When you know the answer to this you can plan your finances accordingly. And if what you want to do changes, that’s fine. It’s far better to plan and then adjust that not plan at all.