10/01/19 Volume 3 Issue 5
Best You Guru™
Spend or Invest Query
Americans spend lavishly to purchase products for themselves. We purchase cars to take us from point A to point B. The primary concern is not always the reliability of the mode of transportation. Americans purchase homes far exceeding livability or survivability requirements. We purchase clothes, jewelry, sound systems, sporting equipment, and the list go on of items that have an allure. Many Americans spend tens of thousands of dollars on entertainment. It is not uncommon for an American to spend a hundred dollars a week on alcohol. We buy timeshares, boats, and vacation packages that help us escape. We are great at spending. We consume at records levels. America is a consumption economy. This is not wrong but is it helpful?
We willingly spend money on our comfort. We are eager to spend money to make us look good. We are proud to spend money to impress. We are experts in spending money. Americans love to spend money. We love to spend money so much that we are willing to spend money we don’t have. We are willing to go into debt to continue our spending. Spending is such an American pastime that we go window shopping so we can view future purchases or just to see what may be available to purchase. We spend money on ourselves better than any other culture. We are the best.
America is the richest country in world history. Americans are led to believe that spending money on themselves will produce happiness. Owning things makes one happy. This is what we are led to accept as a truism. The bigger the house, the faster the car, the more jewelry we wear, the more expensive the clothes we wear the happier we are supposed to be. We consume so much and possess so much to be happy. What we now find is that spending on ourselves does not make us happy. America is the richest country in the world and yet we don’t even rank in the top ten happiest countries. In 2019, the top ten happiest countries are as follows: Finland, Norway, Denmark, Iceland, Switzerland, Netherlands, Canada, New Zealand, Sweden, and Australia are the top ten happiest countries in the world. America ranks 19th. The richest country in the world barley ranks in the top 20 of the happiest countries. What we have been led to believe is wrong.
The problem is not our money. The problem is not that America is the richest country in world history. The issue is we spend money on ourselves instead of investing in ourselves. Americans will proudly spend money on themselves but they tend to become penny pinchers when it comes to investing money in themselves. Americans quickly become paupers when asked to spend on self-improvement courses, seminars, continuing education classes, books, and numerous other areas of investing in themselves. We justify to ourselves why spending $5,000 on a weekend life enrichment retreat is something we cannot afford. But a $5,000 vacation is just what we need. We assume we can’t afford a $10,000 self-improvement course but rarely delay in spending an additional $10,000 for a more prestigious car. Timeshares and vacation packages are a lucrative industry but libraries are begging for our dollars. We easily purchase a six-pack of beer but a book escapes our shopping list. Americans spend $50 billion purchasing alcohol and 10 billion on self-improvement annually. We must focus on creating a happier reality instead of escaping our reality.
If we are to become happy people, we must become investors in ourselves. Purchase healthier food, spend less time on selfies and more time in silence with oneself, invest in a meditation class, hire a coach in an area you wish to improve, invest in an education library, invest in relationships, give to a charity, and other investment choices. We must learn to invest in happiest and fulfillment if we are to solve many of our problems. To be happier Americans must change from spenders to investors.
Action step: Begin a savings program and commit to investing in a personal enrichment program in 2020. Invest now and spend it in 2020.
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