Buy Now. Pay (and Pay, and Pay, and Pay) Later.
— May 23, 2022
By Scott Galloway
It seems smart, almost responsible. You know credit-card debt is how boomer-economy consumers wrecked their finances. And BNPL isn’t credit — it’s debit with fixed payments taken right from your bank account, and you’re told there’s no interest or late fees. It helps you plan your spending, letting you spend more now — so you do. You use Afterpay to buy sneakers from Reformation, and Klarna to defer payments on tickets from Live Nation, and Affirm to get a Peloton. Your approach to spending feels New Economy — the traditional laws of finance don’t apply.
But now it’s May 2022. Inflation is at a 40-year high, there’s war in Europe, and the NASDAQ just registered its worst month since 2008. Crypto is awash in scams; unicorns are talking layoffs. And soon, when the student-debt vacation ends, you’re going to start getting a three- or four-figure bill every month. Good luck finding the cash to make payments you still owe on fast fashion and that Peloton.
Read the full New York Magazine article.
Scott Galloway is a Professor of Marketing at NYU Stern.