Maslow and how we spend

Maslow’s needs pyramid collapses into three basic categories.

  1. Self (Friendship, esteem, family, belonging and self-actualization)
  2. Safety (Personal and financial security of self and family)
  3. Physiological (Shelter and food)

Pretty easy, right. The history of capitalism is appealing (okay, cajoling) to those needs. Emotionally at the bottom of the pyramid is being driven by fear and the top by love.

How does that break down into dollars? Thankfully the US Bureau of Labor Statistics is happy to break down the numbers.

The average consumer has a budget that is split into a large number of monthly and yearly spending. The average US household spends roughly $50K a year on a range of necessary and desired expenditures. There are over 112 million households with an average of 2.6 persons per households.

The largest expenditure is in health and housing with over 39 percent of the total yearly spend. Adding transportation lifts that to 50 percent.

In other words, 50 percent of household spend is in satisfying physiological needs. On top of that a household spends an additional 35 percent on safety and security. And only 15 percent on self.

Emotionally that means 85 percent of consumer spend is being driven by fear and security and only 15 percent by love.

How can we flip that?

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