The young billionaire

Kyle Jenner image.jpg

Can you imagine being a billionaire?

Well that’s the fortunate situation for US reality media personality, model and social media influencer Kylie Jenner. At just 21 she is reported to be the world’s youngest billionaire, primarily based on the success of the beauty and clothing products business she has built since her teens.  

And with a reported 129 million followers on Instagram, one post can generate her many millions of dollars in revenue within minutes.

In my view the reason Kylie is so successful is because she seems to have created an emotional connection with her target market - mainly young women.

Kylie developed her audience through appearing on reality television from her early teens and they have literally grown up with her. She shares lots of details of her private life including her relationship with the rapper Travis Scott, her daughter Stormi and her interactions with her extended family – The Kardashians.

The mix of fame, beauty, youth and financial success is a heady cocktail for many people and the unspoken message must surely be that ‘You too can be like me by buying this [insert name of product].’

But Kylie Jenner is not your friend.

She is a seriously successful businesswoman who influences lots of people to spend money on things they don’t need, but which they think they want.   

German fashion designer, the late Karl Lagerfeld summed it up nicely when he said: “We created a product nobody needs, but people want. If you need an ugly old car, it can wait, but if you want a new fashion item, it cannot wait.”

We are all being bombarded with marketing messages each day, which aim is to make us feel inadequate and unfulfilled unless we buy the product or service on offer. For many people this causes them to overspend and either not be able to build savings or accumulate expensive debt like overdrafts and credit cards.

But there are some simple things you can do to reduce the amount of money you waste of unnecessary purchases:

Reduce or stop watching reality TV (like Love Island!). Studies show that this increases the propensity for people to feel inadequate and become more likely to impulse spend.

Decide in advance your ‘fun’ budget. Making a conscious decision at the beginning of each month on how much you will allow yourself to spend on fun stuff like clothes and cosmetics, will reduce the likelihood of overspending.

Defer the spending. Every time you are thinking of buying something you want but don’t need, put off the actual process of buying to the next day. If you still want it, you can then buy it, but chances are the impulse might have passed.

Reduce the buying triggers. Unsubscribe from marketing emails, app alerts and text messages to reduce the chance of you being tempted to buy stuff.

Lift your mood. Avoid buying things when you feel sad, stressed or upset. Studies show that we are more susceptible to impulsive and unnecessary spending when we are down. Take a walk, do some exercise, read a book, mediate, listen to music or speak to a friend to lift your mood.

You are entitled to spend your money on whatever you wish, including fun and unnecessary things like fashion and cosmetics. But by making sure it’s intentional and proportionate, it won’t be at the expense of your financial wellbeing.   

Jason Butler