By Jacqueline Wales
Money and Baby Boomers is a favorite topic at this point, but there seems to be a lot of divergence about whether we have money, need money or are giving it all away.
I don’t know where you are in the equation, but my thoughts are we’ve all had a pretty good run for our money.
If I had a penny for every dollar wasted over the course of my lifetime, I don’t think I’d be concerned at all about what the future holds for me. For the most part, we earned more money than our parents ever did, but we also created more debt than them. We’re consumers with a capital C. We have more toys than are good for us, and we do expect to have it all, because we always have. Some people say we are the narcsissistic generation concerned only about immediate gratification. Well, that might have been true, but it’s not anymore.
We have been called the ‘shallowest generation” and been blamed for many of the ills that society is suffering through at this time. I think it’s a heavy rap, frankly. There are lots of other generations involved in this present debacle.
We have lived the good life, but unfortunately, we have gone into tremendous debt in order to finance it. We’ve gone from a 12% savings rate in 1980 to O% in 2008. This refusal to take fiscal responsibility is now coming home to haunt us. But it is not just the Boomers to blame. Government has had a heavy hand in this over the last 8 years and it’s time for a change.
Many of us are tightening our belts, taking a hard look at where we spend our money, and cutting out all the extraneous expenses. In my own life, I had a hard look at what we spend money on, and found there were quite a few things we could live without. But here’s the thing I’d like to think about.
I have no problem with the idea that we are in a recession; but it’s no more than an important course correction that’s taking place. We are getting our priorities straight and hopefully, in the coming year, we will see a plan evolve that will help get us out of this mess. But more importantly, as I see it, many of us are in a recession of the mind. We are living in a state of deprivation, and that deprivation mentality will make you crazy.
There are some serious issues at hand here. Deprivation is caused by the fear of loss; of living with less; of being poor. It causes great mental anxiety, and bring out our worst fears. While we are cutting back on some of the things we’ve had in our lives, most of us still have a roof over our heads, a job that pays the bills, and money in the bank. For that reason alone, for this moment, everything is the same. Where we get off track is when our mind casts forward to a year from now, or five years from now, and we start worrying about whether we will have a job, a home, enough to live on for the rest of our lives.
The trouble with this way of thinking is that you are placing yourself into the future, projecting where you will end up, and you have absolutely no way of knowing if you are correct. The depressing thing is, if you really believe that it will be that way, then there is a good chance you will create the very scenario you don’t want.
Now, I’m not advocating the Pollyanna approach, or the head in the sand mentality, but I’d like you to consider this. If nothing changed in your life, and you continued to move through it as you are now, comfortable to a degree with your finances and the ‘things’ in your life, would that be enough? If the answer is yes, then I suggest you concentrate on that thinking. In truth, there is no other reality than the one we are presently living. In the moment, as I write this article, everything in my life is in balance. Tomorrow could be a different story, but I’m not a fortune-teller, so I have no way of knowing. I can only keep my thinking in the present. That way, I’m almost guaranteed to have peace of mind. This is the only time I can control. Right this minute.
So move beyond the recession mind and get into the abundance of NOW. Peace of mind is within your grasp if you can keep yourself out of the negativity. Turn off the television, don’t immerse yourself in the news. It’s generated to keep you in discomfort. Most of it is spin, and frequently the numbers are fudged. Create your own reality. It’s the only one that counts.
Jacqueline Wales is the author of The Fearless Factor: Thriving Beyond the Jungle of Life and When The Crow Sings, a novel. She is also the founder and CEO of Fearless Fifties LLC dedicated to helping women in midlife find solutions to the challenges presented at this time. For further information and to pick up your complimentary introduction to the 10 Healthy Habits of Fun, Fearless People go to www.fearlessfifties.com She is also an inspirational speaker and host of Fearlessly Speaking on AchieveRadio.com