Money and Happiness |  When Jeff Bezos tells us not to buy a TV

Money and Happiness | When Jeff Bezos tells us not to buy a TV

in the newsletter money and happiness, sent by email on Tuesday, our journalist Nicolas Bérubé offers reflections on enrichment, investor psychology, financial decision making. His texts are reproduced here on Sundays.

It’s always weird when billionaires offer personal finance advice. These people are so disconnected from the life of the average citizen that exercise can quickly become a nuisance.

Last week, Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, entered this delicate territory.

Bezos, one of the world’s richest men and the owner of a new $500 million yacht, suggested that people avoid buying large items like a TV, fridge or even a car.

“If you’re considering buying a big-screen TV, maybe delay your decision, save that money, and see what happens,” he told CNN in an interview. Same with a refrigerator, a new car, whatever… Just take a little risk. The economy isn’t looking great right now, things are slowing down, we’re seeing layoffs in many, many sectors. »

It’s not every day that a man who made his fortune in retail recommends that people stop spending their money in retail.

Personally, I welcome Bezos’s advice. After all, giving up spending $2,000 is the equivalent of finding $2,000 on the ground while walking down the street.

I’ve said it before, I hate debt with a fervor usually reserved for phone scammers and bedbugs. When the unexpected happens, having cash on hand can be the difference between solving a problem quickly or going into debt.

I experienced this recently during a trip abroad, when I had the excellent idea of ​​jumping into the sea without realizing that the electronic key to our rental car was in the pocket of my jersey. .

This experience freed me from $888. My insurance company should normally cover this amount, but while I was waiting for the claim to be processed, I was able to resolve the issue in seconds without going into debt.

When we talk about saving and investing, we often get the impression that it is boring because we will only benefit later, in retirement, for example. But it’s wrong. Having an emergency mattress gives us freedom from day 1, and that freedom accompanies us throughout our lives.

Expensive and unpleasant contingencies will arise. Sometimes the unexpected can be more serious: the loss of a job, for example. Personal finance specialists advise people to have an emergency cushion equivalent to three to six months of our expenses.

Many suggest leaving this money in a bank account. Personally, I prefer to invest my emergency fund. In case of failure, I sell a small part of my investments. It only takes me a few minutes.

Yes, you may have to sell them in a year when they have lost value. But the amounts withdrawn represent only a fraction of my assets and I am willing to take this risk; By definition, an emergency does not happen often.

The Chinese save an average of 50% of their income and the Vietnamese around 35%. They know financial, medical, or other surprises will eventually come their way, and they don’t want to suffer unnecessarily when it does.

In a world where debt is the norm, having access to a sum of money quickly and without having to borrow is practically a superpower. A superpower that can make the difference between heroes and zero as the economy slows.

I was asking you last week if you were affected by the perceptible economic uncertainty and anxiety these days. These are some of the responses received.

My spouse and I earn good wages in low-risk jobs. […]. Despite everything, I see that my purchasing power is no longer the same as before. I have never made that much money, but it is as if I had the same salary as five years ago. Despite the discomfort of this feeling of floating on water, I haven’t lost my good saving and investing habits, rain or shine, even if it means cutting back on certain expenses.


The inflation that we are experiencing in 2022 forces us to review our budget. We must be careful not to shell out our savings too quickly. The federal government has increased the Old Age Insurance pension for those over 75 years of age. But 65-year-old retirees need help, too.


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