Friday, January 17, 2014

The fear factor of MONEY

Sometimes, I look around and when I am aware of people who seem to have much more money than myself, I think about how easy their lives must be that they do not have to worry about money!  But then I realize that having a "certain" amount of money is not what gives people that worry free ticket.  Just because someone has much money, does not mean they have no money worries, however, I believe that most people want more money because they feel that then they would not have to worry about it. The lottery mentality of if I just won the lottery, all my problems would be over is very prevalent in our society.

Although I am no expert, I have found that handling money is somewhat easier when you do not have much of it and when you only spend money that you have.  It is so much easier to stay on track with your spending when you have an exact amount and that is it.  I do not go "shopping" unless I am going because I need to get something specific.  Lets say that my sons need socks.  I go to the store to get them and I may buy something else that is needed like paper towels.  If I go past something that I want like a book, if I do not have enough money in my wallet, I pass it up and think nothing of it.

I can remember back on the years that I would go to the store to purchase something specifically and come out of the store with a whole shopping cart filled with things that I wanted once inside the store.  Then as I was unpacking the bags, I went through so much buyers remorse that it took all the fun out of it!  Buying many things at one time used to make me feel powerful.  Now passing things up that catch my eye and leaving the store with just what I came in to get makes me feel powerful.  I now have a clearer line of the difference of what I want and what I need.

When I was driving down the highway the other day, I was observing all the different cars.  There were so many different sizes, shapes, colors and brands.  I drive a car that is 24 years old (that I just love) and that I paid only $300.  A car is a vehicle to get you from point A to point B.  If people were only interested in a vehicle that would get them back and forth from where they want to go, so much money would not be wasted on all the bells and whistles.  Since I began to drive, I have never been without access to a car.  I have not had a car payment since 1999.  That is 15 years without a car payment.  Since then, I have driven cars that were both comfortable and reliable.  That is 180 months without a car payment.  The average car payment is $300 per month so that is $54,000 that others have paid out over the last 15 years that I haven't!

Please know that I am not bragging in any way.  But I have learned that we all have the same basic needs of food, shelter, clothing, transportation and insurance.  The difference between people who do not have an excess of money and those that do is that those that do pay much more for their basic needs.  People with more pay more for food (because they don't have to find lower food prices), pay more for the room over their head, buy more expensive clothes and accessories, buy higher priced cars and are forced to pay more to insure all these more expensive things.  Are their lives really better because they can pay more for all these needs?  And then again, define "better"!  Is it perhaps that people think that their identity is associated with what they have?  Do people strive to have "better than everyone else" because they will somehow be looked at as smarter, more intelligent and/or more successful than the people who don't have as much?  Have we really come to that point where that is how we think people are more highly regarded because of the quality and quantity of things they are able to buy?

This I will brag about!  Think about the value and esteem of those people who lose all their material possessions in life and wake up everyday putting their lives back together in an unknown to them world.  You basically leave one way of living and enter into a totally different one.  Don't we, as a society, cheer those that overcome a disease?  Those that fight to keep their bodies alive are applauded.  But the people who fight everyday to overcome the loss of life as they knew it and pick up a paintbrush to work on a totally blank canvass with little or no direction of where to begin, are whispered about!  What is wrong with this picture?

Many, many people spend a lifetime worried about losing everything.  Their whole life is designed for making more money off of the money they have and trying to insure that they never get into a situation where they lose everything.  When you have lived a life where you pretty much have lost everything of material value, you no longer fear money.  You can feel disappointed at times, but the fear is gone.