IT SEEMS so ironic: Even when people face the threat of losing their job, their home, and even their pension, many of them are still obsessed with getting anything and everything that money can buy.
Such people are easy targets for advertisers, whose seductive marketing campaigns tell us that we must have a bigger home, a better car, and brand-name clothes. No cash? No problem
Of course, sooner or later reality sets in. “Buying flashy consumer goods on credit in order to look and feel like a winner is similar to hitting the crack pipe in order to improve your mood,” says the book The Narcissism Epidemic. “Both are initially cheap and work really well
1. FAMILY UNITY
Brianne, a teenager in the United States, feels that her father places too much importance on his job and the money it provides. “We have everything we need and more,” she says, “but my dad is never home because he is always traveling. I know it’s because of his work, but I think he has a responsibility to his family too!”
To think about: What regrets might Brianne’s father experience later in life? By putting too much emphasis on material things, how is he affecting his relationship with his daughter? What does his family need from him more than money?
The bottom line: Money cannot buy family unity. That only comes from spending time with your family and giving them adequate love and attention.
2. GENUINE SECURITY
“My mom is always telling me that I need to marry a man with a lot of money and learn a trade so that I can have a good job to fall back on for the rest of my life,” says 17-year-old Sarah. “The only thing that seems to be on her mind is where her next paycheck is coming from.”
To think about: When contemplating the future, what legitimate concerns do you have? When does legitimate concern cross the line and become inordinate worry? How might Sarah’s mom provide a more balanced approach to financial security?
The bottom line: There is more to a secure future than stockpiling money. After all, money can be stolen
3. PERSONAL CONTENTMENT
“My parents raised me to live simply,” says 24-year-old Tanya. “My twin sister and I were happy growing up, even though much of the time we had only enough to get by.”
To think about: Why might it be difficult to be content with basic necessities? When it comes to attitudes toward money, what example do you set for your family?
The bottom line: There is more to life than money and the things it can buy.