When it comes to “stuff” I’m really beginning to learn this lesson. It’s taken a while but I’m finally getting it.
When I look around my house, I have to ask myself… where did all this stuff come from? How have I accumulated so much “stuff”? What am I going to do with all of this stuff? Who is going to want this stuff? What were we thinking?
Our young adult selves thought we needed to have stuff. Having lots of stuff made us feel successful. Massing material possessions was almost a sport in our twenties and thirties. In our forties we didn’t give it much thought because we were too busy paying for it. In our fifties now we start to think about a simpler life, a life with less stuff.
If I didn’t have so much stuff I could have a smaller house. A smaller house would cost a whole lot less to maintain. All the money I saved in maintaining this stuff could go a long way toward building my retirement nest egg. Having more savings would allow me to travel more, to spend more on experiences that would bring more joy into our life and create memories. Memories of spending time with the people I love, deepening relationships that are important to me. Now that I’m in my fifties it’s these things that make me happy. It’s not the stuff.
What really matters is the flexibility that financial security can provide. It’s the opportunity to disconnect, to take a job that I want instead of working for a paycheck that I have to have. Just think about what it would be like to have less pressure on your work life. It’s the peace of mind that financial security provides that we are searching for at this point in our life. At least that is true for me. What about you?
It seems that everywhere I turn I’m hearing about good hard-working folks that are struggling financially. Many have lost everything and are starting over. It’s mainly due to the financial crisis and the resulting loss of a job or a business failing in the recent recession. But some financial woes are a result of mismanagement and poor decision-making. I bet a lot of these same folks are wondering now… why they needed so much stuff. Why that took on so much debt.
I ran across this video recently and it really spoke to me. Please take a moment to view it. It will be 8 ½ minutes of time well spent. The video is a clip from Amitai Etzioni, a professor of Sociology, The George Washington University. Click the link below to watch the video.