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The Lake News Online
  • Guest column: The purpose of money

  • I grew up with a parent who went through the Depression and was extremely frugal as a result. Her goal was to have enough money to last her until she died. She paid off her home and had quite a nice nest egg.
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  • I grew up with a parent who went through the Depression and was extremely frugal as a result. Her goal was to have enough money to last her until she died. She paid off her home and had quite a nice nest egg. The only problem is she often lived as if she was going to end up tap dancing between two doors for dimes. I used to get really upset with her, because she was always waiting to enjoy her money, which she said was for her old age. She continued to say that until her late 80s. Unfortunately she began to unravel mentally and physically as she went into her 90s. The money she had accumulated went to a nursing home and then when that ran out, she went into a Medicare facility.
    The newer generations have ended up saving less money and spending more on self-satisfaction. Our society is constantly striving for us to have the latest and greatest, and many buy into it in order to feel like one of the crowd. There are many notions and beliefs about what will make us happy, but one of the basic beliefs is that "money makes the world go round." Unfortunately it perpetuates the myth that "more is enough." My mother thought "less was more."
    I personally don't put stock in either one of those beliefs. I think money gives us freedom. If we were taught to see money as a tool that allows us to navigate life without being a slave to it, we would have a better relationship to it. If we are constantly striving to have more money even when our earnings allow us to live comfortable lives we are its' hostage. When we don't have enough money we also are at the mercy of becoming ruled by the thought that we will soon not be able to survive. I have been in such a place and the constant worry is so enervating. I realize that we are often at the mercy of circumstances that are not under our control. But wouldn't it be great if we could get youngsters to start at an early age to start saving whatever they can so they can become financially autonomous. They might discover that you can enjoy the balance of using money for pleasure, but also understanding that having enough means not being at the mercy of bill collectors, or the need to buy stuff that essentially does not give you a bang for the buck.
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