Do you control your money or does it control you? Ideally, money and the pursuit of it is a means to an end (i.e. a more comfortable life). But money and the pursuit of it can become a very controlling, in some cases obsessive, all-consuming force. How do you put this in the right perspective?
Affluenza (af-loo-en-zuh) affluence + flu is a growing phenomenon that affects more than the children of overly indulgent parents. This extreme form of materialism affects people of all ages and income levels. Other names for the condition include: “brand abandonment” and “the new wealth effect. “
Each of us knows people who have given substantial wealth to their children and feel no appreciation in return. We have heard complaints that children have no interest in doing anything meaningful in their lives. They show no gratitude or respect.
Don’t lose sight of the fact that money is about providing freedom for what you really want, a means to an end. But even middle-income families are likely to accumulate high levels of debt to buy more goods, whether or not they can afford it or need it.
It is easy to think that we live in an age of “instant gratification” and “extreme materialism”. Affluenza is the term that describes this phenomenon of extreme materialism that affects people of all income levels and ages, afflicts young and old. The truth is, each of us has probably experienced the flu to some extent. For example:
- Have you ever given someone a gift and felt unappreciated?
- Do you think you would be happier if only you had more money?
- Do you regularly buy items that you cannot afford or need?
Consider the following: What do you say to the teenager who sees his new sports car for the first time and instead of saying “Thank you, mum and dad”, says “You know I wanted a red one” and sulks?
Look at the iPhone and iPad phenomena. We are in a society where high levels of debt are rampant, but you can hardly find a sixth grader without one of these devices. These items are great to own, but should we be spending money that we don’t have or need elsewhere to buy them?
Less than half of non-retired Americans (46%) are confident they will meet their financial goals in retirement, recent study finds American Institute of CPAs survey. Likewise, many Americans are ill-prepared for a financial emergency. If they were to face an unexpected expense of $ 400, four in ten adults would not be able to cover it or would have to sell something or borrow money to do so, according to the reports. US Federal Reserve.
How do we solve this problem?
There are professionals who deal with this problem. Many psychologists and therapists recognize this and offer ways to deal with it. Often the first step is to take an honest look and see how money or the relentless pursuit of it can affect your life.
- Do you measure yourself by how much you own?
- Do you control your money or does it control you and your family?
Are you a victim of “the flu”?
- Do you think it is important to “have things” just for the sake of having them?
- Are you taking an extreme amount of debt to acquire non-essential items?
- Are you overwhelmed by the amount of stuff you have?
- Are you unable to delay gratification?
- Do you control your money or does it control you?
If we are in control of our money problems, it is likely that we will know someone who does not know about them or that we can see the results around us in our daily life. Keep in mind that the whole point of money is to give you freedom for what is really important: a comfortable and secure life for you and your family. May the iPhones be damned.