The Cost of Materialism. Can you really afford it?

jonesesAre you a victim of materialism? What is materialism?

Materialism is the overwhelming desire to buy material goods. Enhancing ones social status through buying and accumulating material wealth.

Lock the Doors, Close the Shades, Turn Off the Lights

This is the scenario used when people want to lay low, be left alone. But with technology today advertisers can infiltrate your home through cable, the Internet, radio, newspapers, and of course your mail box. You’d have to be locked up in a box and dropped to the bottom of the ocean to escape.

Do you remember when cable TV was advertised as “pure content” in exchange for a monthly subscription fee? Cable started out that way, back in the 70’s, where it was virtually commercial free. Now, there’s more advertisements on cable stations than ever before.

Calling your local cable company is like going to a used car dealer. You can’t ask a simple question without being offered all the products they sell, and will never use. There’s no a la carte so instead we have hundreds of channels we never use.

You would have to live on a deserted island or become a Monk to escape the onslaught of companies trying to pry money from your wallet – it’s that bad.

Keeping Up With the JONE$es

In the world of materialism a man has an image to uphold. A nice house, an expensive car, and all the frills that go with it. All this “stuff” comes at a cost, and that cost can go well beyond just money.

Health is an area most people take for granted in the scheme of things. If you’re working a job, what is the cost of materialism if stress and anxiety compromise your health? If you can’t work you lose you job, and this equals losing your stuff.

How about time? You spend so much time making money to pay for stuff; how costly was giving it to trade away that time? Did you miss being with your family? Did you miss your daughters play? Or you sons baseball game? A high price to pay for your stuff.

Needs vs Wants

Everyone has needs. Food, water, air, and utilities are all basic needs, but do you really need to stand in line for days at Best Buy, in the freezing cold, just to buy a discounted TV (black Friday)?

This is where things get a little screwy. Lets also give a big round of applause to the folks at Apple. They are masters at rolling out products where people stand in line for hours upon hours, waiting to pay a premium for products that become obsolete in a matter of months.

Are we really victims? Or have we been well trained to include wants as needs? And what is the cost in terms of debt, stress, and health? Can you really afford it?

Escaping the Grip of Materialism

The path to which this article was created probably wouldn’t have reached you without the technology of today. We would also consider the Internet a need in these times.

Having said that, do you really need 300 cable stations where a quarter of them are home shopping networks and the other quarter are stations in languages you can’t even understand?

Do you really need an iPhone, iPad, a laptop, a desktop, and a smart TV just to say “how are you doing?”

Have you looked at the taxes and other surcharges lately? It’s sort of disgusting to see these “extra costs,” some which have nothing to do with the service itself.

In this new age of technology, we can bring all types of content and entertainment, from all over the world, right to where we sit – how exciting, but there’s a cost.

There’s nothing wrong with having stuff. The key is having stuff work for you, not you working for it. Are you the Jones or are you trying to keep up with them? Either one is a bad choice.

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  1. […] Writing a retirement plan begins at figuring out (an estimation) of what your retirement expenses will be. Core living expenses such as housing, vehicles, health care, and food. Beyond that, account for non-essentials as well as those fantasy cruises or cross-country RV-ing you’ve been dreaming of. […]

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