Growing up I lived in a nice middle class neighborhood right on the edge of a very wealthy part of town. Everyone in town knew that South Shore Dr. was where the mansions were. South shore drive runs right next to the lake shore (nice private beach front properties) and there are some fabulously elaborate and enormous houses there. Several CEO's, Dentists, Doctors, and state Representatives and Senators live along that road. My house was only a few blocks from South Shore Dr. and I had a paper route as a kid so that I had to deliver news papers to many of them (none of them tipped by the way).
Today on the radio I heard someone say, "I remember the days when you could tell who was the richest person in the neighborhood by who drove the crappiest car." She was commenting about how wealthy people, truly wealthy people used to be very wise with their money and they didn't spend it on things like fabulous cars and enormous houses. In fact the wealthiest people drove the ugliest cars. Hearing her say that brought to mind of when I was young and sometimes when it was pouring rain, or there was an enormous Sunday paper, or there was four feet of snow outside my mom would drive me on the route. I remember pointing out to her the biggest houses and the nicest cars and I would say something like, "wow, that person is sooo rich." Without fail she would always say, "No [inserting my entire name here] chances are they don't have any money at all." As a kid I did not get it. She tried to explain what she meant to me but I did not get it.
I get it now. More often than not, people who spend $200,000 on a car or $5million on a house probably don't have much money in the bank and in fact they probably are severely in debt. That's just the way it works now a days. The bigger your income the more debt you can rack up. The bigger your toys the more likely you have enormous amounts of debt. Obviously households are run this way, more often than not, businesses are run this way, cities are run this way, heck countries (mine included) are run this way. We LOVE our debt!
I'm sorry but where did we go wrong and when did this happen? I want to live how they used to. I want to be the person on the block with a nice small house and a comfortable older car who has money in the bank, money that I can give to charity, money that I can pass down to my child(ren), money that I can use in case of an emergency without borrowing. I want to own what belongs to me, not owe some banker man who lent me the cash to make the purchases. I'm not saying by any means that I want to collect and horde money and never spend it on things I will enjoy. But if I travel (and I will) I don't want to ever stay in the $20,000 a night penthouse sweet on the top floor of any hotel. I don't ever want to pay $300 for a meal out. I don't ever want to just waste money because I can.
I'm working to get there. It's taking a long time but I journeyed down a long road of debt and borrowing before I started to see the light. Someday. Every day we're a little closer to someday and I choose to smile about that.