Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Are you sure you don't have enough?

Three years, ago, well-to-do friends of mine, “Nancy and Phil” went on a high-ticket cruise among the Greek islands. Theirs was a luxurious small ship, so the passengers soon became acquainted. Phil, who holds a top-level position in a Midwest corporation, discovered that his fellow passengers held similar or better positions in much bigger East Coast companies, with commensurate incomes.
“Phil fell into such a funk,” Nancy confided later. “He began belittling himself because he wasn’t ‘as important or as rich’as the others. By the time he regained some perspective, he had wasted half the cruise with his ridiculous comparisons.”
It’s all relative, isn’t it?
Before deciding you don’t have enough, consider:
o How many square feet are in your house or apartment? In some societies, two or more families share as little as 600 square feet.
o Do you wish you could lose five or ten pounds? Then apparently, you’re getting enough to eat. Globally, one out of every five human beings is malnourished.
o Do you and your spouse own two cars? It’s not universally possible, but ever since gas topped $4 a gallon, more and more people have discovered busses, bicycles and old-fashioned walking as a means of getting somewhere. Oh, and did I mention carpools?
o I’m a former smoker who remembers how hard it was to quit, so if you smoke, you have my sympathy. But did you know your habit costs your family $41 per pack? That’s according to the Center for Health, Policy, Law and Management at Duke University [Study at the Terry Sanford Institute of Public Policy reported in USA Today, Nov 26, 04 posted on line.] who added up a pack of cigarettes, plus taxes, insurance, medical care and lost earnings due to smoking-related disabilities over an adult lifetime.
This is not meant to guilt-trip any smokers because it is a powerful addiction. It just means that before we think we don’t have enough, we need to look clearly at how we spend our money now.

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