Tuesday, December 30, 2008

How Do You Feel Rich?

Brace yourself: 2009 may be even more financially challenging than 2008.

Given that our collective American values got us into this mess perhaps we should identify which ones are responsible and replace them with values to help us get through it and avoid the same mistakes in the future.

Here are some values that drove our profligate behavior in recent decades and new ones with which to replace them:

- Greed or excess vs. moderation
- Instant gratification/spend now! vs. patience/save more!
- Materialism vs. generosity

If you're an over-spender, does this create tension with your significant other? If so, controlling your spending would benefit both your bank account and your relationship.

When tempted to buy something unnecessary, ask what do you value more, the item or your relationship, the item or your bank account.

Consciously comparing how much you prefer one thing over another prioritizes your values.

We forget that our grandparents accumulated their possessions after a lifetime of saving for them.

Contrast that with the financial stress many feel today, those who were tempted by the soaring real estate values that made them feel rich.

Those who refinanced their homes took out and spent cash on stuff now have lots of stuff and a home that's worth less than their mortgage.

We need to get back to the novel idea of buying only that for which we have cash. But you can stay on a disciplined budget and still enjoy the convenience of credit cards.

Finally, imagine a world where generosity is valued more than materialism. People literally giving the money they'd otherwise spend to someone who needs it. Or being more generous in spirit.

Thanks to Stephanie, excerpts from News-Press, 12.30.08

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