Stop Acting Rich: Debunking the Lies that are Holding Us Back
We are all looking for more. The constant bombardment of what our lives should look like and what we are supposed to own is endless. What we see on television and movies paints a life where people rarely work, they have a huge spotless house, and a romantic relationship that is oh-so unrealistic.
Our perception of reality gets even more twisted by the insane amount of advertisements pushed at us daily. A whopping average of 5,000 advertisements online, on paper, and billboards each day are encouraging us to pull out our credit cards to buy the latest and greatest gadget that will ‘make our lives better.’ Instead of trying to keep up with the Joneses, most of us are trying to keep up or exceed where our parents currently are (and it took them twenty plus years to get there). Our unrealistic expectations lead us to so much debt.
Now, almost everything comes with a payment plan. Car and cell phone commercials only tell you the monthly payment, not the actual price. Heck, there’s a payment plan for everything. You can have a shed payment, a boat payment, furniture payment, and so much more. We are all acting like we have all the things, when in reality we are slowly paying them off and feeling like frauds.
What if we weren’t meant to go after the latest and greatest thing?
What if we lived differently?
What if we actually owned our stuff instead of the other way around?
Would freedom be found?
The world is feeding us a lie that stuff equals happiness and it just isn’t true. Oliver Markus Malloy unloads reality, “Our entire life we chase the wrong things because we think having more money and buying more stuff will make us more happy. But it doesn’t. You know why a billionaire has 100 Ferraris? Because 99 weren’t enough.”
I don’t have a Ferrari, and I’m not even close to being a billionaire. But I do know, that when I stop and pay attention, I find happiness in the simple joys of life that are free. Those memories are priceless. Happiness is found when I push my son on the swings which brings on a slew of deep belly laughs. Snuggling up next to my daughter reading her book after book brings me joy. I don’t want to be so distracted by life and achievement, that I miss the present joys that surround me.
What brings you joy? Buying the newest and latest thing might bring a temporary high, but it won’t be lasting. Shouldn’t we be chasing after those joys we will remember throughout our lives?
Reflecting on Life
When it comes down to the end, all of our stuff really doesn’t matter. I doubt many people will reflect back on their lives and think that their newest iPhone was the highlight of their life. We all know that experiences trump possessions, but we still live the other way around.
We just had a celebration of life memorial for my Gramps and this really hit home for me. I cherish the memories, the photos, and videos of him, but not all of his stuff. My family went through his things and we all chose a few items that embodied our memories of him. I chose the watch that he always wore and a few photos of him. I’m working on creating a shadow box to display these few items that bring back wonderful memories of Gramps. Beyond that, everything has been given away or donated.
Our days are limited and someday someone else is going to go through my possessions and keep what they want and get rid of the rest. I don’t want to have massive amounts of possessions that my loved ones will have to go through. And I sure don’t want to work so hard during my life so I can pay for all the things that will one day be someone else’s burden to deal with.
I want to spend my time with people I care about, buying the necessities and not caring what others think. I may have some brown duck tape holding my super-comfy couch together. And my kids wear hand-me-downs (heck, so do I) and you know what, I’m happy with that. We are living below our means, which gives us freedom. I don’t want to fake it.
Changing Our Expectations
I wish I had the answer or a secret formula to fix our cultures insatiable hunger for more. I do know if we start changing our expectations of what we need to own and actually started to save up and pay for things outright, we would find financial freedom. As Dave Ramsey says, “you’ve got to live like no one else, so you can live like no one else.” I can not agree more with this statement. Most people are broke, so let’s stop doing what broke people are doing.
There are so many different strategies on how to get out of debt, but the root of the issue has to be addressed. Our things cost money and if we start limiting those things, we start to save money. It is as simple as that. If we live minimally, we not only find that we have more time, less to maintain, but we also have more cash in our wallets.
What are some ways you live like no one else? Please leave a comment below…
Excellent article! One way we live like no one else is that we haven’t had a car payment for four years. Which is essentially our entire marriage. We buy inexpensive cars for cash and have a trusting mechanic to turn to. We do our research before we buy and spend quality time making a decision on a purchase. We have only had to buy 4 cars in that 4 years (one totally and one broke down) and our current cars are worth about $10k in total and run great. Our insurance is significantly cheaper and we have more money to pour towards other debt.
I love that you haven’t had a car payment in four years! Cars depreciate so quickly. What a wise move! Keep it up!