Faith Popcorn, the noted futurist and marketing maven, recently issued a press release detailing the lifestyle changes she sees the wealthy making during these tough economic times. The analysis reads like a tongue-in-cheek social commentary.
Popcorn refers to her target audience as the Nouveau Poor. But these folks are a far different makeup than the people who send me emails with financial questions -- families desperately trying to save their homes from foreclosure, students dropping out of school because their student loans have dried up, or senior citizens trying to stave off bankruptcy because they charged their uncovered medical expenses on their credit cards.
I thought Popcorn's latest views were comic relief. But it turns out she's quite serious about calling a major turn in public attitudes. And coming from the woman who coined the term "cocooning" to identify an increasingly insular generation, it's an interesting take.
"People are finding shame in consuming. Consume is an evil word," says Popcorn. This change in attitude applies to "anyone who is financially well off, but not optimistic anymore, mainly people with discretionary income that won't have it any more," she says. These folks are behaving differently, she says, "They're acting like they need to cut out stuff."