Because it’s what I do…

No real reason here except to say that I always do this this time of year…. I’ve been thinking a lot about the recession and the money crunch and so much more that relates to all of this. I just read a report on the food bank situation in the US and how many new participants are well-educated middle class citizens. I also noted that the report said that around 36% of them were actually employed or had someone employed in the household.

It certainly seems this is the new America my friends. At least it is for now, and few, if any, experts believe it is going away any time soon.

So be careful.

Take the time to save and prepare while you can. Take the time to build that emergency fund, to kill your debts, and especially to reduce your reliance on the unessential and wasteful. Learn to live on less and especially learn that happiness is not predicated on wealth.

I saw a report on CNN some months ago claiming that psychologists had proven that happiness is “bought” at around $75,000 a year. With the exception of one free lance contract, I’ve never made anywhere close to that, and happiness has been mine more strongly since that time.

Our tenants are leaving this Thursday, and we’re not renting again. It’s scary, because the value of that rent is a little more than 10% our total income, but it’s also comforting to know that we’ve put ourselves in a position where we have options. We can take the whole house and have the room for our children because we chose to forgo most of the things that people around us claimed were necessary.

So be careful. When making choices with your money, with your careers, think long term. Think about the future. Think of how this will help or hurt you in caring for your family.

While I feel a great deal of sorrow and empathy for this newly hungry middle class and all those who suffer with want and need, I do wonder how much of this pain is caused by being overextended, by putting a false financial face on our lives. Part of happiness is surely related to honesty, and it’s important that you be financially honest. Your children don’t care about the brand names. Your children don’t care about the new car in the drive way. Your children can’t tell the difference between a 24 inch TV and a 48 inch TV. Most importantly, they never cared.

Be honest with yourself and happily live the life you can afford. Do it grateful, graciously, and fully. Happiness is not bought at $75,000. It’s bought at the point that you make the choice of being satisfied with what you have and honestly living within your means.

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