Excerpt: 'Enough Already'

Clear the clutter of unreal expectations

Before you lock the vision you just defined into place, I want you to think again. This will sound harsh, but most of us today have inherited an outrageous sense of entitlement. We have come to accept our high standard of living as normal, another of the many "rights" we assume as a citizen of this country. We think we deserve a big house just because we were born in or moved to this country. If we want it, we should be able to have it. This "self--first" mentality is relatively new and, I believe, inherently destructive. Think back just a generation ago. We don't carpool—we think each family member is entitled to a car. Did our grandparents have two cars? Did they pay for cable and multiple cell phones and the Internet and movie rentals? Did they have computers and digital cameras and printers? Did your grandmother get manicures, massages, and highlights in her hair? How many pairs of shoes did your grandfather own? The mindless consumption that I see day after day in the homes I work in is staggering. Consumption is perceived as our right, seemingly regardless of the consequences. Our country is experiencing an explosion of luxurious living that transcends economic class and it simply cannot last. We -can't spend with abandon, rack up debt buying whatever we want, and not expect the bill to come due someday. Someday soon!

So go ahead, envision your ideal financial life, but try to focus on living your life, not filling it with objects. Remember that extra stuff always comes at a cost. When you make a decision to spend money today, you are responsible for that decision. If you spend all your income on luxury goods when you are young, -you'll pay the price later. Try to appreciate what you have. -It's not about depriving yourself, -it's about striking a balance that enables you to spend responsibly and live without the stress and anxiety that come with financial problems. Curb the urge to acquire, and -you'll have more time and means to take pleasure in life.

Watch out for obstacles

People are scared of money. The easiest thing to do is to put your paycheck in your bank account, spend what you spend, and hope for the best. But the wisest thing to do is to be aware of in and outflow, to clear up bad debt, and to invest your savings so that it grows over time. Unless you are in a financial crisis, you can clear up the clutter around your finances little by little, without making high--risk investments. -There's nothing to be scared of, but fear is the biggest obstacle to clearing financial clutter. -Let's talk more about the other obstacles that stand in the way of your best financial future.

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