So Hubba-hubba, lucky for me, is very into money. When I say that, I mean that he is into the particulars of money. Stock markets, bonds, savings accounts, interest rates, investments, all the different ways that money can be used. This works to my advantage, because I just let him do most of the work when it comes to making our money work.
His reading rubs off on me once in a while, and I rather lazily glanced at a website he had recently visited. What it said shocked and surprised me, although I really should have been neither. It said that the savings rate for America has dropped to a -.4%! Do you know what that means? It means that since the first time since the Great Depression, people are either dipping into their savings or spending money they don't have just to live on a daily basis!
The economy has been driven largely by consumer spending in the last 4 or so years, perhaps even longer. If it were not for consumer spending, the economy of the United States would most likely crumble.
But why are people spending so much?
And really, to get so little?
There is a horrible disease I see around me, and it isn't bird flu. It is the mindset that your possessions define who you are. Don't have a plasma flat screen? Then you're a loser. Drive a car older than six years? Pathetic. No cell phone with custom ringtones and a camera feature? Then you should be living back in the Stone Age where you belong.
People seem to think that the more things they have and the more they have paid for them, the better they are. I am not sure if it is a sign of low self esteem or lack of self-control or a combination of both. Where is the realization that we cannot have everything we want, right now? I see both teenagers (who I expect it more from than anyone) to baby boomers spending money like it is going out of style.
Even worse, is that there will always, always be someone who has stuff that's better than yours. It is a game that is impossible to win. But people keep trying, hoping that Wolf rangetop will make them feel superior to their neighbors, or that somehow they are a better parent because they bought a Bugaboo stroller.
To be truthful, I have jealous feelings about friends and family that own nicer things than me, that get to travel and go to fancy restaurants. Hey, it's not hard to have nicer things than me, since when I began staying at home things like basic cable and DSL were luxuries way beyond our means. I wear clothes that are over ten years old. Most of the really nice things I have, like my iPod, and even the songs I bought to go on it, are gifts. But when I stand back at look at my life, I am pretty satisfied with how it has turned out so far, and how it is shaping up.
Is it just so difficult to discern between needs and wants?
Or are we just a nation of mindless, irresponsible fools?