Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Are You Too Materialistic?

As we're in the throes of our annual spending orgy in the name of Christmas, I'd like to remind you that the cost of a materialistic lifestyle is far more than the dollars spent. You must also consider that:
  • To pay for it, you and/or your spouse may have to forgo a less remunerative career so they can make the money to pay for that materialistic lifestyle. It strikes me as sad, for example, when someone who'd love to be a writer must spend 40-70 hours a week for decades as a bond trader to pay for her/his spouse's desire for a more-than-utilitarian home, car, jewelry, vacations, etc.
  • The more you perceive the need to make lots of dollars, the more likely you are to cut ethical corners in your business dealings and to be less generous in your charitable donations.
  • The more you look to "stuff" as a core source of your life's satisfactions, the more likely you are to miss out on life's greater rewards: maximally beneficial work, relationships, beauty, and such no-cost magic as YouTube videos, where you can see the world's greatest performers doing one of their greatest performanced. For example, appropriate for the holidays, HERE is Celine Dion singing Oh Holy Night. For me, few material purchases could give me more pleasure...and I'm an atheist!
  • You convey materialistic values to your children. Is that really what you want to do?


Jeffrie said...

"The season of giving" has become "the season of shopping." Every year, I look for the Christmas spirit, and I never find it at the mall.

My favorite gift I'm giving this year will be an inexpensive one, for my mother. For years, she's wanted me to sing a particular song for her, so I decided to record it at home for her. I think she'll be surprised. She might even like it.

My favorite gift I've ever received I got a few years ago. I arrived home on Christmas Day after visiting my family, and there was an unwrapped bath/shower set, with no card, at my front door. This was my favorite because, for a few days, I didn't know who left it there. For a brief moment, I even wondered if it might be from Santa Claus.

I don't consider myself very materialistic. I like having what I need and a few affordable luxuries. Other than that, I'd just as soon do without it. I'd probably even be just fine if I had a few less of what I already have now.

Anonymous said...

I've wondered this, based on my experience with a close relative: Is it generally true that people in very financially remunerative but otherwise sucky jobs use the extra bucks they earn to buy off-the job satisfaction to make up for the lack of satisfaction they get on the job? For example, this relative who earns quite a bit as a senior manager at a large bank has a huge house, several expensive cars, collects antiques, and goes golfing and hunting as often as he can. He's retiring this spring (he worked as long as possible to amximize his retirememt benefits) and is counting the seconds until then.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting, Marty. I visit your site regularly to keep motivated towards my goal: be out of the corporate grind in the next few years. I'm building a financial cushion right now so I can be somewhat secure when I begin lower paid work (either self employment as a career counselor or some other type of helping role).

Anonymous said...

I have health problems and am a prisoner to coporate medical insurance. If I could buy reasonably priced medical insurance from a single payer (i.e. government), I would start my own business, make a little less, and be infinitely happier than I am now.


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