17 November 2008

Shock Coming for Those Who Bought into Consumerism

For those who bought into the consumerist ideology over the past decade, this writer suggests there's a nasty shock coming.

I've watched in amazement as young people bought houses twice the size of mine, went on fabulous vacations and purchased $65,000 vehicles. Their children wear designer clothes from birth and restaurant meals are weekly events.

Meanwhile, my husband and I have both worked full-time throughout our adult lives, drive older vehicles, live in the starter house we bought 21 years ago and mainly vacation at the family (read my father's) cabin on Shuswap Lake.

Despite this, we still have a small line of credit that we can't quite get rid of. I blame that entirely on the Children Who Won't Leave, as well as the fact that neither hubby nor I have any talents whatsoever in home repair.

I admit feeling a little envy at the free spending in other households. How are they managing their finances, I wondered aloud. She doesn't even work full-time.

Debt, said husband.

The dreaded debt word. It makes me anxious. I ruminate on the what-ifs.

Good, reflective article. I recommend reading the whole thing.

It's true that those of us already bad off aren't going to feel the hit as hard as those who've never experienced hard times. I say this as someone who once did, for a brief while, quite well, relatively speaking.

But believe me, a fall into the well of poverty can be extremely damaging to one's health and self-esteem, more so than if one had always lived on the edge. Because there's no time to adjust. And no matter what you do, nothing stops the slide.

Which is not to say that the cupboard getting even barer than before is all that great either. But you get used to deprivation - eventually. It becomes as much a part of your life as breathing. So what's one more thing you can't have? One less meal? It's all part of the same thing.

So I do feel sorry for those who bought into consumerism. They've tough times ahead.

Recommend this post