Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Appear rich or to be rich?

Buying stuffs has always been a big topic, at least at the back of my head. For me, it is always a decision on whether I need the stuffs or I just want them. What I need are food to keep myself healthy, and clothing to keep myself away from the weather elements. What I want are things that make my life easier, and some of the times, makes me look better(tm).

As far as I can see, the modern society lives on capitalism, with people being persuaded and coerced into buying stuffs that they don't really need. Most of the books that I have read about being successful in life emphasized buying and maintaining a financially heavy lifestyle. The book "The Rules of Work: The Unspoken Truth About Getting Ahead in Business" advocates "buying nothing but the best accessories" in order to make oneself look "great" enough in order to climb the corporate ladder. The writer, Mr. Richard Templer mentioned that we need to behave and walk like the general managers if we want to be promoted soon to their position. This goes to the extent that  we should buy their kind of watches, cars, ties, clothings, handbags, and so on. Of course, there are many more rules that are highlighted in the book, but since those are not the theme of this post, I will not discuss them here.

In the book, "The Secret" Rhonda Byrne touches on the need to change the way our minds think in order to achieve our wishes. So, in order to become a successful high ranked manager or CEO in a company, we have to walk and talk and dress their way. However, it is also subtly hinted that we should start dressing they way they do and use their kind of accessories in order to be able to join their ranks.

It is a well known fact that, in order to join a group, we will need to behave and look like them. But I shudder to think the economic impact this kind of culture is bringing to our world today. Everywhere around me, I see people won't can't really afford things taking loan to buy and tote LV/Bulgari handbags, driving luxurious BMW, Mercedes and high end Toyotas, buying the ever so expensive iPhone, buying the biggest mansion and so on.

During this time of economic downturn, we should really start to think of the implications of our high spending culture on ourselves and the economy in general. This economic crisis itself is caused by the banks in America lending money to people who cannot really afford big homes to do so. When much of these lenders don't get their money back, an economic downpour happens, causing a rippling effect on the world at large.

We as consumers should really start looking into the larger scheme of things, and ask ourselves the main question before embarking on an purchase: "For what do I need to buy this item?" If the answer turns out to be as a show off item, then keep the money safely in the pocket, and turn down the ego. The world now needs more people who can spend wisely rather than more people who spends more on borrowed money.

Remember, in the end, all status items are cosmetic and hence temporary. For me, the real measure of success is a contented life. A person don't really need much to be contented, and most of them cannot be bought by money. For me, a successful life is a life in which I am always surrounded by family and friends who will accompany me through thick and thin, as I will do the same to them as well...

This post is inspired by a post at the Simple Dollar, "Do you want to appear to be rich? Or do you want to be rich?"


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