In this episode of Motley Fool Answers, Alison Southwick and Robert Brokamp are back with more warnings about the mind games that advertisers and retailers play on us -- and they play with extra intensity during this most profitable time of the year. Not that they're suggesting you become a Miser (Heat or otherwise), but they do want you to know precisely how you're being manipulated to open your wallet or purse. But first, they'll explain why most of us are better off with term life insurance instead of whole life, and they'll finish up with one Fool's unusual holiday tradition -- an idea you just might want to adopt in your own family.
A full transcript follows the video.
This video was recorded on Dec. 12, 2017.
Alison Southwick: This is Motley Fool Answers. I'm Alison Southwick and I'm joined, as always, by Robert Brokamp, personal finance expert here at The Motley Fool. Hi, Bro!
Robert Brokamp: Ho, ho, ho, Alison!
Southwick: I hope you guys liked last week's episode because I'm back with five more ways that marketers will get you this holiday season. We'll also answer your question about term vs. whole life insurance. All that and more on this week's episode of Motley Fool Answers.
Southwick: It's time for Answers, Answers and today's question comes from Ziff, who I believe we have answered a question from before...
Southwick: ... but Bro likes this one...
Brokamp: We like good questions.
Southwick: ... so we're going to go for it. Ziff writes, "We are a married couple in our mid-20s with kids on our mind. Should we buy term life insurance and deal with its steep premium increases at renewal time, or should we buy into whole life insurance, which will force us to save money for the future despite its higher management costs?"
Brokamp: Ziff, you're doing the right thing that you're considering getting life insurance once you have kids. That's the time of life to do it. If you don't have kids, and if you're married and your spouse is adequately employed, you probably don't need life insurance. But once you have kids it's definitely time to do it and both spouses should consider getting it, even if only one is working. It's a good time to be thinking about it.
The difference between term and whole life is that term is pure insurance. You just buy it for a certain amount of time known as "a term." You can do it for one year, five years, 10 years, 20 years, 30 years.
Whole life has insurance, but also has a tax-deferred savings component. You can build up a cash value that you can either borrow against or use in retirement. It's a combination of insurance as well as building up your net worth. The problem is it often takes over a decade to build up a significant cash value and people often consider it permanent insurance because you can hold onto it for the rest of your life as long as you pay the premiums. The premiums do stay level, which is nice. Once you sign up for it, and you are told it costs a certain amount, you know you just have to pay that every year.
If you set the term -- let's say you buy 20-year term -- 20 years up you need more life insurance. If you go back to get more, it's going to cost you more.
Southwick: Because you're older.
Brokamp: Because you're older. On paper, whole life always looks better until you look at the cost. Because of the savings component, and because, frankly, there's some other embedded costs in there, it's much more expensive. And it's not just a little bit more expensive. According to an article on NerdWallet, let's say you are a 30-year old male and you want to get $1 million in insurance for a 30-year term, it's going to cost you $720 a year. A $1 million whole life policy is going to cost you $9,200 a year.
Brokamp: It's a huge difference. What people often do when they like the idea of whole, but they can't afford that, [is they'll get a smaller policy]. [They'll] get a $500,000 policy instead of $1 million. But then you're underinsuring yourself. And when you think of a couple in their 20s having kids and maybe buying a house, they're not going to be able to afford that type of premium.
At the outset, or maybe later down the road, what often happens with these whole life policies is that people decide five or 10 years into it, "I can't afford this policy," and then they drop it. They're back to square one at that point. For most people it's best to go with the term at least 20 years or 30 years. What you're really looking at is having enough insurance so that you're covered until your kids are out of the house.
I got a 20-year policy the first time a kid was born. The next time we had a kid I got another 20-year policy. That's how I've done it and I think that's a good way to approach it.
Southwick: I think when we shopped around for life insurance, they said to get a policy for your earning years.
Brokamp: You could do that, and a 30-year will probably cover a lot of that. Once the kids are out of the house [assuming that all along the way you've been saving for your retirement, building your career, and assuming your spouse has a career, too], if the kids are out of the house and taken care of, and one of the spouses passes away [let's say in their mid-50s], the other spouse should still be OK. But some people don't feel that way. They want to have that insurance all the way up until retirement and you can do that. You can get a longer-term policy, but it's going to cost you more.
Southwick: You threw out the numbers $500,000 and $1 million. How do you figure out how much insurance you need?
Brokamp: The rough rule of thumb is 10 times your salary, which is surprisingly good as rules of thumb go. There are plenty of calculators out there on the internet in which you factor in all kinds of things. Whether you want to pay off your mortgage or not. But ten times your salary is pretty good.
Southwick: Gross. Gross salary? Before taxes?
Brokamp: Yes, before taxes. Even though the good thing about life insurance is that it is tax-free, which is nice.
Southwick: Last week we talked about five ways that marketers will getcha. We intended it to be 10 ways that marketers will getcha, but I ended up being kind of long-winded and chatty, so we turned it into two episodes.
Brokamp: Lucky for all of you.
Southwick: Hey, thanks, Bro!
Brokamp: It's the truth.
Southwick: I appreciate that. Before we get into five more ways that marketers will get you this holiday season, let's revisit what we learned last week. We talked about urgency and scarcity. This is when advertisers talk about time being limited or supplies being limited, so you have to act now. I was thinking about Christmas as a day that creates a sense of urgency. Like if you could buy gifts for someone anytime during the year, you would never do it. Rick's shrugging. He's like, "I would never buy anyone a present."
We also talked about decoy pricing. That's where marketers toy around with the prices for items so you feel like you're getting a deal.
We also talked about price anchoring. This is sales and markdowns, so you get context for how much you think something is worth.
We also talked about scents and smells. I went to the outlet mall last weekend. The only place that smelled good was J.Crew.
Southwick: Yes, I noticed. When I would open the doors of some stores; honestly, they were like, "Ugh." They hit you in the face because they didn't smell good. When I walked into J.Crew, I thought, "OK, that does smell familial," because it wasn't quite like pine, or woody, but I was like, "It smells nice in here." I didn't buy anything.
We also talked about "Treat Yo' Self," and how marketers are trying so hard to get you to buy things for yourself while your wallet is already open and you're out there. You can tell I don't really go shopping that much [because all I have to rely on is this one trip to an outlet mall for my examples], but for my aforementioned trip I made a list. I put my blinders on. I stuck with it and I did not buy anything for myself.
Brokamp: Good for you.
Southwick: Thank you. Are you ready for five more...?
Brokamp: I am so ready...
Southwick: ... ways that marketers will getcha? Not just this holiday season but throughout the year. First, we're going to talk about a new trend on Black Friday and that is the tribal bonding aspect. You're making a face at me. A confused face.
In previous years, most stories around Black Friday talked about the frenzy, right? People are waiting in line, and they're all going to get in there, and then they're going to punch each other in the face for a Playstation, and Merry Christmas, everybody!
I noticed a lot of stories, this year, about the death of Black Friday and how we're all going to move to online shopping and how Black Friday won't be as much of a big deal in the future. There were a few articles, however, this year that talked about tribal bonding and how Black Friday is not just about getting good deals. It's about psychologically getting together with your friends and family and how it creates this bonding moment.
If you think about it, it's almost like you're all going into battle together. You eat your Thanksgiving feast and you proceed to put on your battle armor of warm winter coats. You've got your folding camping chairs. You storm the castle [also known as a Best Buy or a whatever]. You then fight with other consumers for items. Then you go home again, sit by the fire, drink from a mighty horn or maybe just a mug, and you share your war stories. You talk about the deals you've got and you're all there together.
It's almost like you're going into battle with your family and it's reinforcing bad behavior, at times, because you're more likely to punch someone in the face for a Fingerling. Apparently, that's the thing this year that is all the rage. If your sister is by your side and irately screaming at you to do it. You're all getting together and going out there in force. One headline in USA Today actually declared Black Friday as "the day of mother-daughter bonding." Aw, isn't that sweet?
Brokamp: That's so nice.
Southwick: Experts think that because of this tribal bonding -- sisters who every year, while the men are watching football, all get together and go to the mall -- that Black Friday probably won't go away anytime soon as long as people make it part of their holiday tradition.
Brokamp: I have to say. This is the first year in many years we did not go home to Florida for Thanksgiving, and that is part of the tradition. My mom and my sisters would go out. We didn't do it this year because it was just us at home. I kind of missed it.
Southwick: Did you?
Brokamp: I have to admit I kind of missed it. Because, you do. You sit around and look at all the deals. I have to say that from a retail perspective, when you see someone else spending money, it makes you feel comfortable spending money. My sisters like to spend money. It's probably better for my pocketbook I didn't go with them, but I can understand from a retail perspective why that's a great thing.
Southwick: Yes. Clan Brokamp went out there and they [fought] the other clans for Christmas deals. You miss that! I'm not surprised.
Brokamp: Last year we also had our dog with us, who is like 15 pounds, and I smuggled the dog into a Target. Everyone loved it except for the Target employees.
Southwick: Oh, you'd think someone there would secretly love it.
Brokamp: Probably secretly.
Rick Engdahl: Was it a dire wolf? Ate you on the battlefield?
Southwick: Di doo, doo, doo, di, doo. My sister-in-law loves to go Black Friday shopping and sometimes we'll go do Thanksgiving at their house. But she doesn't like to buy anything when she goes shopping. We're basically just fighting for a parking space for like an hour just to walk around a mall. If I'm in a mall I'm going to buy something, because I'm going to be bored if I don't. I never really got that tribal bonding [thing] because I think we just were there for different reasons.
Brokamp: And if you're with someone who's super frugal...
Southwick: You're not going to spend.
Brokamp: ... you feel a little ashamed to be spending money.
Southwick: The second way that marketers with getcha is Christmas creep.
Brokamp: What's that?
Southwick: Oh, you know what Christmas creep is. It's the idea that marketers start advertising holiday stuff even...
Brokamp: Oh, yeah.
Southwick: ... even before Halloween. There's a psychological reason why that happens.
Brokamp: Oh, I'm glad to hear it, because I'm always curious. It does seem to get earlier.
Southwick: At Costco this year they had Christmas trees up before Halloween.
Brokamp: We went to Michaels to get something for Halloween and the Halloween stuff had already been packed up and they had the Christmas stuff coming out. Crazy.
Southwick: We sound like old people complaining, but it's true. So, there's a reason why this is happening, and it comes also from the concept of anchoring. We talked about price anchoring last week. That's a slightly different concept in that we like markdowns because if we look at a tag and it says, "Originally $10 -- now for $8," we anchor to that first data point which is that it's $10, and now it's $8. We feel good because we got a deal.
Anchoring is at play, here, in that we make decisions based heavily on the first information we receive, so marketers are in a race to be the first information that you get around the holiday season. When the holiday flyer comes from Macy's babbling about their awesome sales, marketers hope you'll be more likely to go to Macy's.
Southwick: Also at work, here, is the Baader-Meinhof phenomenon... Do you know this one?
Southwick: You do know this one. It's when you notice something once, and then you start noticing it everywhere. Christmas creep means that advertisers have more time and have a longer runway to keep getting their ads in front of you over and over again. Their billboards. Their emails. Their catalogs. You're getting hit from all directions.
Because last week I went to the Neiman Marcus website to look at their holiday catalog, I am getting stalked by Neiman Marcus catalog ads everywhere I go online and it's killing me. Er!
Brokamp: You don't want that $50,000 refrigerator?
Southwick: Uh, I'll take it. Are you offering? Do you need to make a return? Don't go to the trouble of making a return on my account. I will take the $50,000 fridge. I don't have room for it in our teeny-tiny house. And the third thing we're going to talk about is classic Robert Cialdini, which is reciprocity.
Brokamp: Yes, the author of Influence.
Southwick: Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion. Reciprocity is the idea that we have this human need and tendency to want to give something back when something is received. We feel a sense of obligation and marketers use this in a number of different ways. I've got many different examples, here, as you can see on my notes.
The first example -- a classic -- is the idea of handing out samples. Some people say that samples work because once we experience it, we become psychologically attached to it. I think a bigger part of it is that once someone gives you something -- once someone goes to the trouble of giving you this thing to try at Costco -- you're going to be more likely to be like, "Eh!" Actually, I would say at Costco I feel this less. When I go to Whole Foods and they're offering a sample [and I can tell it's the person who actually baked that shortbread, and she came all the way out here just trying to get her business off the ground], I end up buying the ten-dollar shortbread.
Another example of reciprocity is when a salesperson is overly familiar or friendly. Even if they've been nice to you, you might feel the need to buy from them. There's a funny Onion article -- I don't know if you saw it -- and the title of it was Report: Shame Of Walking Out Without Buying Anything Drives 90% of Purchases At Small Businesses.
This is so [typical] in Oldtown. The Onion article goes on: "According to our research, 90% of all transactions at independently owned shops throughout the nation -- be they bakeries, used bookstores, or one of those places that sells unusual gifts and knickknacks -- are motivated solely by the intense pangs of guilt experienced after making eye contact with the owner and realizing you'll have to walk past him or her at the register before you leave."
Another example from my sole trip holiday shopping this year is I wanted to get some fleece stretchy pants at the store. I walk in and I'm like, "Hey, do you have any fleece stretchy pants?" And she's like, "No, I don't think we do." I described what I was looking for to her and she's like, "I don't think we do, but we do have these," and she walks me over there. I was like, "Oh, I don't want these pants, but I really feel like I need to buy these stupid pants." But then I went, "No," because I had already done this research. I was like, "No, I'm not going to give into that feeling of reciprocity here."
Brokamp: Good for you!
Southwick: And I did not buy the ugly pants that she was trying to sell me. All she did was walk five feet and say, "Look at this," and I was like, "Ohhh, wow! I feel guilt."
Another example of reciprocity might be if a salesperson says he or she will give you a good deal when their manager's back is turned. A little nudgy-nudge.
Loyalty campaigns are another example of reciprocity, so I've got more key fobs than keys for loyalty programs right now. CVS, Anthropologie, etc. And perks for loyal customers through these programs include like getting a discount. Getting to shop earlier. Attend private events. Prize drawings, etc.
You might get a free report. Have you ever heard of this marketing tactic, Robert Brokamp?
Brokamp: I don't know what company you could be referring to.
Southwick: Free trials are another example of trying to play at reciprocity, like Hello Spotify [although I feel less obligated when I'm not dealing with a real human being and it's an all-online transaction and someone gives me something]. If it were a person handing me something, then I would definitely feel that guilt. I feel less online.
Brokamp: I do, too.
Engdahl: I like the random free week of XM radio that I get once in a while.
Southwick: Oh! I don't get that.
Engdahl: If it's in your car, you get it. Every once in a while, they just turn it on and they expect you to want to buy it. Usually by the time the free week is up I'm done with XM, but it's a really fun week. I like it.
Southwick: That's like when we were kids and every once in a while you would get a free week of like the premium channel. And then you would watch all the movies on HBO. The bottom line is anytime a retailer does something nice for you -- and sorry because this is going to sound really Grinchy -- know that they want something in return, but you don't have to give it.
The next thing we're going to talk about is social proof. Social proof is everywhere in marketing. These tactics take advantage of our need to go with the crowd. To feel validation and identify with things we aspire to. It's about fitting in. No one wants to be the first person on the dance floor unless you're Robert Brokamp.
Brokamp: That may have happened at the last annual meeting.
Southwick: The most obvious example of social proof is online where you'll see reviews for products before you buy them. I don't know if Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) was the first to come up with this, but they were the first I noticed to have reviews. And the first thing I do when I buy something online is I look at the product. If it looks like what I'm looking for then I go straight to the reviews to see what people say.
Social proof is also at play with celebrity endorsements for products, or even just ads with pretty people. If there's an ad with a pretty person living it up with this product, then you're like, "Oh, man! That was a pretty person. I would like to be that pretty person. They look like they're having fun with that product." That's also an example of social proof.
Another example. I remember as a kid that my grandmother used to love Home Shopping Network. Such a stereotype, but whatever. Live your truth, Grandma. And they would sometimes show a counter on the screen to show how many people have bought that item. And as a little kid I would just be transfixed watching that counter, because I would be like, "Is it going to hit 2,000? Is it going to hit 2,000?"
Facebook also uses social proof. For example, they'll show you when your friends have liked something. Or when a retailer says they'll give you a discount if you refer a friend. I just took example of Kara Chambers' HelloFresh Refer a Friend discount, which was nice. I assume she got a kickback. These are all examples of social proof.
The interesting thing about product reviews is studies show that 70% of consumers say they look at product reviews before making a purchase, and that product reviews are 12 times more trusted than product descriptions from manufacturers. So, we love a good review. We love good social proof.
Brokamp: Did you read anything about whether the reviews are valid? I just read an article about a guy who was paid by a company to write reviews for restaurants that he never ate at.
Southwick: That's so funny. Adrian is the woman who sits next to me at work who suddenly was screaming about when Black Friday ends. We were talking about this episode and I was talking to her about social proof. She's like, "And what about the sponge? You'll just be on Amazon. It will be this stupid sponge, and it's got like 10,000 reviews. I'm not going to believe that! Who goes to Amazon and reviews a sponge?"
Brokamp: If it were a loofah, it would be different.
Southwick: I mean, come on. That was a deep cut, Bro. I don't know if people are going to remember that one. There are fake ones out there, and her thinking was that there's 10,000 reviews for a sponge. This has got to be fake. All of these reviews have to be fake to bump it up, and then she won't buy it. There's this window of a good number of reviews.
I've seen that before, where people will be up front about it and they'll disclose, "I was given this book to review, so I reviewed this book for them." They'll say at Amazon if they were given a free copy of the book. I guess, if you disclose someone gave it to you, and then they give an honest...
Brokamp: And then there's a whole verified purchase thing, too. This article was about how this guy was able to make his shed the top-rated restaurant on Yelp! by writing fake reviews. Taking stock pictures of food and stuff like that.
Southwick: Oh, it sounds like so much effort.
Brokamp: Yeah, but he used to be paid to do it.
Southwick: The last one we're going to talk about today is an actual physical store layout and things that they do in stores to get you to stick around, because that's the whole goal. The thinking is we want you to stick around as long as possible because the longer you stick around, the more likely you are to buy things. So, here's why stores want us to stay in there longer, and that's because they want us to go just a little crazy.
According to a study by Bangor University of brain scans, rational decision-making is exhausting and after about 40 minutes of shopping, people stop being rationally selective and instead they just begin shopping emotionally. This is the point at which we accumulate about 50% of the stuff in our cart...
Brokamp: Oh, really?
Southwick: ... that we never intended to buy. Stores want you to stay as long as possible so that they exhaust you mentally and you start going on a crazy spending spree.
Brokamp: Wear you down.
Southwick: Yes. With that in mind, here are a number of general things that stores do. They provide great, big carts for you push around, because once your cart is full, you'll feel compelled to check out. Also, if you're holding a bunch of stuff. That's one of my secrets for when I go to Marshalls or TJ Maxx [we all know that's my Achilles' heel], is that I don't let myself pick up a cart, because at some point I just look like...
Brokamp: You have too much stuff.
Southwick: ... an idiot holding all this stuff and I'm dropping stuff everywhere. That's when I'm like, "OK, Alison, you've got to leave now." People tend to go counterclockwise when they enter a store. If you imagine yourself entering a department store, you're going to go to the right. Entering a grocery store you're going to go to the right.
Sometimes you'll see very expensive items right there because that's the place that you're likely to notice. Or you might actually see really cheap items right as you enter a store, like socks or a travel mug. These are called open the wallet items. The idea is that once you start buying stuff, even if it's just a six-pack of socks, you will then just keep buying more and more stuff. If I'm going to go the register, I'm going to keep buying more stuff. The dam's already leaking.
Grocery stores will put staples along the outside aisles, forcing you to cover the whole store. Maybe everyone knows this one. The fruits and vegetables are going to be way over here on this side of the store. Dairy's going to be way over on the other side of the store. The bakery's back here. The butcher is back here.
Brokamp: Where's the candlestick maker?
Southwick: That's trying to get you to cover as much ground in the store as possible. I don't know if you've noticed this, but when you enter a grocery store, there will often be flowers right there. That's so you start associating freshness with the store immediately.
Brokamp: I thought about that last week when we talked about smells, because I associate fresh cut flowers and all that with very pleasant memories and I figure that's a good smell to hit once you enter a store.
Southwick: Maybe that, too. It's better than putting French cheese as soon as you enter the store.
Brokamp: Or the butcher shop? Oh, my gosh.
Southwick: Or the butcher. Eye level in a store is a very prime location because as humans we're apparently so lazy we don't want to squat or reach up. If you're looking eye level, that's where the more expensive stuff is. Generics are going to be lower. Or, if you're a kid, that's where they're going to put all the stuff that's going to appeal to kids at their eye level. Supposedly, if you go to a grocery store and go to the cereal aisle, the sugary cereals are going to be kid eye level and lower, and the adult cereals are going to be at our eye level.
Here's another crazy thing that stores do. If you have ever been lost or disoriented in a mall or store...
Brokamp: It was on purpose?
Southwick: Ikea. It was on purpose. It's called the Gruen Transfer, and it's named after this mall architect named Victor Gruen. Stores like that are trying to slow you down and make you lost on purpose so that you'll shop more.
Southwick: Yes. I think Ikea is the best example of this.
Southwick: Whenever you walk through an Ikea, you're just like, "What? I know maybe side tables come after couches. I don't know where I am."
Brokamp: Big department stores, too. Macy's (NYSE:M). I felt disoriented at Macy's this year.
Southwick: Yes, did you? Oh! Old man Brokamp getting lost in Macy's. We're going to hear the name over the PA. "Mrs. Brokamp, your husband is lost and looking for you."
Brokamp: Please take him out of the lingerie section. Please!
Southwick: Similarly, when you're shopping [and maybe this happened to you at Macy's], if you suddenly come across a traffic jam and people are trying to navigate a tight spot, you're thinking, "Oh, my gosh. What idiot decided to put a display, right here, in the middle of the aisle?" That was no idiot. That idiot did it on purpose. It's a speed bump in the store to slow you down and get you to notice things around you to buy.
Brokamp: Got you.
Southwick: Here's a bonus crazy story that I also ran into. According to National Geographic, sales records indicate that customers bought more bananas if their peels were colored Pantone Color 12-0752, which is called Buttercup, rather than the brighter Pantone Color 13-0858, which is called Vibrant Yellow. Banana growers responded by planting their crops under conditions tailored to produce the Buttercup-colored bananas. So, as marketers have figured out what color the banana needs to be to get you to buy it, you should assume that every store decision was scientifically engineered to get you to spend money.
Brokamp: That's pretty amazing.
Southwick: Bro has a voracious appetite to hear about other people's holiday traditions. Every year he wants our listeners to email us.
Brokamp: I don't get that many responses.
Southwick: I know! You maybe get like one response and you're so heartbroken. So, employing the tactic of reciprocity this year, Bro is back again to try to get you guys to send him your holiday traditions...
Brokamp: Well, we have a guest, here. Hi, Ed!
Ed Gaughran: Hi!
Southwick: Yes, Ed Gaughran... He is a technical project manager, here, at The Motley Fool.
Brokamp: Ed came and told me what he does for his nieces, and he'll describe it, but I loved it because I think I'm going to suggest that my mom do it, as well. Ed, tell us what you do with your nieces every year for Christmas.
Gaughran: It's an interesting story. My nieces are now in highschool, and I started this about 10 years ago. I've been working at The Fool for about 12 years. About 10 years ago, I realized that it's very expensive to buy gifts and send them across country for my nieces. There are two nieces and they're about two years apart.
What I started doing is I would take a gift card. I started off with a $25 gift card for each of them, and wrote up a nice little card using crayons, and things like that.
Brokamp: Which we have, here, at The Fool by the way.
Gaughran: In abundance, yes. But I took those gift cards and I sent them to each of them. And I said, "Can you do me a favor? Can you take this money and buy a gift for your sister and vice versa?" They each got one and the same note, basically. My sister would take them out to the store. They started at the dollar store, and the thrift store, and they would buy things for each other.
And they loved it. The first Christmas that I did this, I called on Christmas morning. I'm on the East Coast. They're on the West Coast. I said, "How is Christmas?" and my sister said, "Oh, my God! The [first thing the girls] did on Christmas morning was they ran downstairs, grabbed the gifts that they got for each other, and shoved them at each other, and said, 'Open this first! Open this first!' They were so excited."
For me it's a great opportunity for kids to learn the value of money. Learn [about] spending money. "OK, you have $25 to spend, and now all of a sudden you only have $10 to spend because you bought a $15 item." My elder niece, Kate, is in high school. She's become much more politically aware. She's on Facebook. She's got opinions on different causes. Last year I wrote, "Anything left over, feel free to donate to whatever cause you want," and she was just taken aback by that. She said, "I never thought about it."
Southwick: That's great! That's awesome!
Brokamp: I love it for my mom, because my mom at this point [my kids are all teenagers] has trouble determining what the kids want. But my kids do like to shop, so I could totally see them [enjoying] getting the money and being the ones responsible for buying the gifts for the other kid. Then the whole process of opening up the gift I got you that Grandma paid for. I could see how it's very appealing to kids.
Gaughran: They say it's the thought that counts, but honestly it isn't. It's the giving. For my nieces it's the giving. They're great kids. I love them to death, but at the same time, it's easier financially for me to not have to ship these things across the country. Amazon obviously [AMZN] makes things easier.
Southwick: Did you just ticker that?
Gaughran: I just tickered that, yes. Amazon makes things easier.
Engdahl: You'll need a disclaimer, now.
Gaughran: Whoops! Sorry.
Southwick: We may buy and sell... Have formal recommendations for or against the stocks you heard, here. Don't buy and sell, so blah, blah, blah.
Gaughran: Sorry. Online makes it easier to ship things at this point than when I started this tradition, but honestly, it's one of my favorite parts of Christmas is being able to call. They are so excited.
Southwick: That's awesome. So, there you have it. Bro was able to steal one holiday tradition from someone this year. Could he steal yours? Please? Drop us a line, care of Bro so he can...
Brokamp: Actually, Bro@Fool.com is his name.
Southwick: Oh, I didn't know that. So, you can send it to Bro@Fool.com. Of course, you can also email us at Answers@Fool.com, and we'll make sure Bro sees it, so he can steal all of your holiday traditions. Please! Please! Just one holiday tradition. That's all we ask. It will feed Bro for a whole year.
Brokamp: That's true.
Southwick: Well, that's the show. And if you're out shopping and you're thinking, "Boy, I sure would love to give my friends at Motley Fool Answers a present," then may I suggest leaving us a review on iTunes? It always is the right size and it helps raise our profile on iTunes and will bring more people to the show. And it also brings us joy to hear your feedback. And we filled all our five stars! Can you believe it?
Brokamp: That's great.
Southwick: On iTunes. You can rate up to five stars and we've filled all five of our stars.
Gaughran: And the fun part is that after people give a review, they can then get in touch and write to Bro@Fool.com and say, "Hey, check this out! Go read my review. I want you to read this one, first."
Brokamp: There you go!
Southwick: So, make it your holiday tradition to leave us...
Brokamp: Leave us good reviews.
Southwick: That's a place where Bro and I can align up pretty easily. Again, our email is Answers@Fool.com or Bro@Fool.com. I didn't know that. The show is edited recipro-ci-tive-ly by -- it's fine and we'll just roll with it -- Rick Engdahl. Thank you for joining us! For Robert Brokamp, I'm Alison Southwick. Stay Foolish, everybody!
John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods Market, an Amazon subsidiary, is a member of The Motley Fool's board of directors. Alison Southwick owns shares of The TJX Companies. Ed Gaughran owns shares of Amazon. Robert Brokamp, CFP owns shares of Facebook. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Amazon and Facebook. The Motley Fool recommends CVS Health, The Michaels Companies, The TJX Companies, and Yelp. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.