Friday, May 25, 2007

Get Rich... Slowly

Who wouldn't like to have that one silver bullet to get rich quick. But the fact is, most of us will never find it. Still, we can accumulate wealth slowly over time. One way is to earn more. But another way is to spend less - think smaller, be satisfied with what we have instead of wanting something else.

I recently saw an ad for a credit card that was targeted toward people who have poor credit, over their heads in debt. It showed images of people that looked like clips from "Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous". I thought it must be so appealing to folks who've found themselves in difficult situations that resulted in high debt.

Getting over your head in debt is easy to do - an illness, a job loss, or a divorce and before you know it creditors are calling every day. It's an overwhelming, stifling and oppressive place to be because it's so hard to resolve. Ads like that credit card ad I saw don't help.

Many years ago I had too much debt, and I didn't know how I'd ever get out from under it. It really took years of living simply that made the difference: cutting back, living with less and thinking smaller. And paying off the bills slowly but surely. That's a difficult task in our culture because our society encourages spending more than saving or not spending. I'm grateful to say that my finances are significantly more healthy today.

Even if you're not in debt over your head, I hope you're not, living simply can help you accumulate wealth, too. There are two books that changed the way I think about money and helped me get out of debt:

Voluntary Simplicity, by Duane Elgin (Quill/William Morrow Publishers NY ISBN 0688-12119-5)- This book taught me about living "toward a way of life that is outwardly simple but inwardly rich." It's about learning to appreciate what you have instead of looking outside yourself for happiness. The tenets of Elgin's voluntary simplicity are frugal consumption, ecological awareness and personal growth.

Your Money or Your Life, by Joe Dominguez and Vicki Robin (Penguin Books NY ISBN 014-016715-3) - I learned how to determine what to spend money on by looking at my values and my goals and putting more money into things that propel me toward my goals. The subtitle is called "Transforming Your Relationship With Money and Achieving Financial Independence".

These books are great reads, regardless of your financial health. But if you are over your head in debt, we have a program that can help relieve some of the stress of living with debt every day. Check out Balance Pro on our website or contact Member Services for more information.

1 comment:

  1. This is so true. Some of the weathiest people I know got that way by just spending conservatively throughout the years. They lived in the same modest house for 40 years, put a little money away every month, and appreciated simple things.

    Thank you for saying this.