Last week I was snowed in and I got introspective. Why do I own so much stuff? What is it’s purpose? I used that introspection to create my column for the Indy Star this week.
“Our incomes are converted into stuff. At first it feels like our incomes are used for food, medicine, and shelter, but this isn’t the Oregon Trail, and typhoid isn’t as much of a concern anymore. Our incomes not only take care of the essentials, but also our self-catalyzed obligations, and our stuff acquisition.” (courtesy of the Indy Star)
When is enough enough? My theory on money has always been that it gives us the ability to be flexible, but are we taking away money’s ability to give us flexibility by buying so much stuff? Because stuff is not flexible. Stuff is the opposite of flexible.
“And while the point of life is certainly not hoarding money, the point of life certainly isn’t about hoarding stuff either. You could try to argue that you could sell your stuff and convert it back into money, but depreciation sets in and you end up with cents on the dollar.” (courtesy of the Indy Star)
This hoarding of stuff is nowhere more apparent than in the self- storage business. It’s a 24 billion dollar a year industry! While it’s possible that not everyone using a storage unit is just using it to hold stuff they don’t use, a good portion of them are. The idea of “permanent storage” is baffling to me. The money being wasted on storing stuff you don’t use really stresses me out.
I want you to seriously evaluate your life. What I want for you is financial wellness but having a happy home ties into how well you can budget and get out of debt. So take a moment and consider these questions:
“— Do you have stuff? Not memories in boxes, but stuff.
— Is more than one room in your house filled with boxes of stuff?
— If you had less stuff, would anything change?
— If you had less stuff, would you buy more stuff?
— If you had less stuff, would you care more about the stuff you had?” (courtesy of the Indy Star)
These are the questions we need to be asking ourselves regularly. I’ve been privy to thousands of financial lives over the years and one thing I know for certain: The less you have the more you appreciate it.
Peter Dunn a.k.a. Pete the Planner® is an award-winning financial mind and a former comedian. He’s a USA TODAY columnist, author of ten books, and is the host of the popular radio show and podcast, The Pete the Planner Show. Pete is considered one of the foremost experts on financial wellness in the world, but he’s just as likely to talk your ear off about bass fishing.