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The psychology of spending - can we break free?

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posted on Aug, 20 2012 @ 05:10 PM
Hey everyone

So, the general consensus is the more you spend, the happier you will be;

We all chase the elusive "happiness" that we think will be magically granted once we achieve financial awesomeness.

How often do we step back, and actually look at what does, and what does not, provide happiness?

I wanted to write from the viewpoint of someone who has achieved financial freedom and success

Let me explain. I'm 31 years old, and am in the end phases of selling a company I founded 6 years ago, for an amount which will enable myself and my family to live comfortably indefinitely.

My accountant, financial planner and my business friends are all in shock - they see the business as a golden goose which is growing year on year, and has the potential to continue to grow.

Why am I selling a profitable, successful business? One simple reason;

The pursuit of money is the beginning of sorrow

At the start it was fun, and exciting, and fulfilling - but once you have enough to live comfortably, the rest is immaterial. The fast cars (Ferrari 360 and Audi R8), lose their luster after a few months; the big house generally feels empty.

I'm writing this because it's not often someone who has achieved success with money reveals the truth; it does not bring happiness! It sucks you into a cycle of wanting more, you become a glutton for shiny things, and you end up sacrificing your health, your soul, and your happiness chasing the dragon.

Money is like a drug, the more you have, the more you want; at a deep, subliminal level you can never have "enough", and it ends up consuming everything.

posted on Aug, 20 2012 @ 05:28 PM
From a very young age we see ads on billboards, tv, radio etc. and all these ads have similar underlying themes: that the purchase of goods will lead to increased happiness, acceptance by peers or sexual status . The mind at this age is very impressionable and ads on tv usually stand out more then the show even, the jingle they use the flashing colors lights and sounds capture a child and mesmerizes them.

As adults, many of us claim it has no effect on use anymore, but I think its too late by then. Even still, there is no way an adult can decipher the underlying manipulation of an ad during the seconds its playing for. Experts, some of which are psychologists, have dedicated their lives to advertising and spend countless hours on those few seconds, who are we to think that's not effecting us in any way? Plus, if it did not work then why would they waste so much money on it?

I think advertising fits the definition of brainwashing well. It's not about telling us about the goods like it was 100 years ago, in fact I often watch ads where I don't even know what they are selling. Advertising is about convincing you that your want is actually a need, which is why they link is to our primitive desires like sexuality. They may be selling different items but they all repeat the same few messages underneath.

We say on the conscious level that money doesn't make us happy. But our actions suggest that we really think otherwise; our brainwashed subconscious is really in control. It's so sad that many people chase their whole lives after something that will never make them happy, meanwhile sidelining the things that would. Like for example prioritizing career over family. It's like some kind of cruel joke, by the time they realize, if they do at all, its too late.

edit on 20-8-2012 by polarwarrior because: (no reason given)

posted on Aug, 20 2012 @ 05:43 PM
reply to post by ExCommando

I don't think we can break free from spending in a Capitalist society, but can we lessen the lust and blind pursuit, yes. Companies used to be satisfied with viability, and somewherealong the line(me thinks relaxing regulations too much), "greed is good" kicked in and has spun out of control ever since. The intensely aggressive marketing we are all exposed to only fuels the consumptive spirit, leading us to desire things that we do not need.

You make a good point about what is enough? But any answer will draw forth criticism from those that think "nobody should tell me how much money I can/should make." Personally, I think a hundred million is plenty. Not to say there should be a cap necessarily, but at some point the excess should go back into schools, infrastructure and a country's future. I am not saying taxes exclusively, but by some other form of distribution, heck even a private company.

The psychology is deep, from successful conditioning and circumstance, and has twisted so many minds into consumptive machines. There are predators out there and there are people who make bad decisions as well. The only thing I see changing status quo are more self sustainability(careful you may make some kind of list with such suggestions/actions), better technology(come on Replicator), or a collapsing system. For many, consuming is all they know, for they have never taken the time to step back and examine the big picture, or quit watching so many tv commercials, or striving to be like the Joneses. I think today's circumstances are making people reassess their journey and change their spending habits, and I hope any dire situation that may arise may serve as a lesson and usher in a new paradigm
ETA a little relative diddy:

An American tourist was at the pier of a small coastal Mexican village when a small boat with just one fisherman docked.

Inside the small boat were several large yellowfin tuna. The tourist complimented the Mexican on the quality of his fish and asked how long it took to catch them.

The Mexican replied, "Only a little while."

The tourist then asked, "Why didn't you stay out longer and catch more fish?"

The Mexican said, "With this I have more than enough to support my family's needs."

The tourist then asked, "But what do you do with the rest of your time?"

The Mexican fisherman said, "I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, take siesta with my wife, Maria, stroll into the village each evening where I sip wine and play guitar with my amigos, I have a full and busy life."

The tourist scoffed, " I can help you. You should spend more time fishing; and with the proceeds, buy a bigger boat: With the proceeds from the bigger boat you could buy several boats. Eventually you would have a fleet of fishing boats. Instead of selling your catch to a middleman you would sell directly to the processor; eventually opening your own cannery. You would control the product, processing and distribution. You could leave this small coastal fishing village and move to Mexico City, then Los Angeles and eventually New York where you could run your ever-expanding enterprise."

The Mexican fisherman asked, "But, how long will this all take?"

The tourist replied, "15 to 20 years."

"But what then?" asked the Mexican.

The tourist laughed and said, "That's the best part. When the time is right you would sell your company stock to the public and become very rich, you would make millions."

"Millions?...Then what?"

The American said, "Then you would retire. Move to a small coastal fishing village where you would sleep late, fish a little, play with your kids, take siesta with your wife, stroll to the village in the evenings where you could sip wine and play your guitar with your amigos."

edit on 20-8-2012 by speculativeoptimist because: (no reason given)

posted on Aug, 20 2012 @ 05:44 PM
It's a good thing that I rarely ever watch TV anymore. I also don't listen to the radio anymore either. Commercials have annoyed me for as long as I can remember. I have a few wants that are above my needs, once those are filled then I am happy.

posted on Aug, 20 2012 @ 06:04 PM
reply to post by speculativeoptimist

Bill Gates said it best recently "Once you have your first million, everything else is the same hamburger"

Now the crux with this is the ability for most people to have a million dollars in liquid funds, or as passively returning investments, is not achievable.

Also, it's not really practical or reasonable to expect people to down tools and roam the world on a shoe string budget.

The purpose of this thread was to shine a light on something which we all blindly follow.

I used to hate cliche's, but now I realise that they summarise some of the most valuable lessons in life, and one of my favorite ones at the moment is,

When you are on your death bed, will you look back and regret not spending more time in the office?

I think we can all, no matter what our situation, look at how we spend out time, and what we achieve; we can take count, and make some small changes.

I, for one, would love to spend the rest of my life, spending my soul.

posted on Aug, 20 2012 @ 06:05 PM
We by no means are we rich nor are we well off, that being said we have two neighbours who are both really nice but they never can find that happy station in life.

We learned to live on a reduced income many many years ago due to my unexpected life changing illness.
We don't watch any TV to speak of here, we do not try to keep up with the neighbours, we are both over 50 years of age and neither one of us at any time has bought a brand new car/truck/vehicle for that matter.

When we were looking for a home, (pre-approved mortgage) the freeking real estate agents kept trying to get us to buy a Mc Mansion at least to us it was that size.

We pissed them off when we settled for a bungalow that was about 55k below what we could have bought.

The funny thing is, the same bungalow we still reside in and with just two of us we rattle around here with lots and lots of room.
More than enough house for us and it was the best thing we ever did. Going with what made us happy and piss on everyone else.

We have a single lady next door to us and she took early retirement due to health issues.

She has always bitched and bitched about not having money, so what does she do this year?
Taps out her savings to pay off the mortgage on here home, then takes out a loan on the home for a Florida room on the back and a big covered porch on the front.

Now the Florida room sits unfinished and unused because she has no money.

What I am trying to say is that our neighbour is chasing happiness and she will never find it.

After reading the OP I realized just how content we are here in our little bungalow and our very simple life.

OH you know it seems to go, you just don't know what you got till its gone.

Regards, Iwinder

edit on 20-8-2012 by Iwinder because: (no reason given)

posted on Aug, 20 2012 @ 06:08 PM
reply to post by polarwarrior

We are engineered from a young age to seek satisfaction and contentment from money and success - and I don't think anything will (or possibly should) change this.

The crux of the issue is the whole system is a collection of smoke and mirrors.

People think that if they achieve success, and buy the big house on the water, with the supercar and boat, and have loads of cash in the bank, that they will be happy; they can't really quantify it, but there is a subliminal thought that they will be genuinely happy and will lead a lovely life.

Life is the same, regardless of having $100 or $3,000,000 in your bank account; your relationships are the same. You still have to do the normal things in life, but I would argue that you have less fun and enjoyment.

posted on Aug, 20 2012 @ 06:10 PM
reply to post by Iwinder

Thanks for the post, and I think it's a valuable lesson.

There was a study done awhile ago to measure "base" levels of happiness - using this average baseline, they determined that people who won substantial amounts in the lottery, peaked their happiness for, on average, 6 months, before reverting back to the normal level.

So even winning millions in the lottery only changes your happiness for a short period of time.

posted on Aug, 21 2012 @ 06:53 AM
material desires can be removed through providing abundance and indulgence. if objects of desire are abundant and readily and easily available, then the desire fades away through indulgence.

imagine someone who is an alcoholic.. namely every 20 bux they get they seek to buy alcohol to get drunk. i believe just because this is a difficult to attain goal that this person seeks and rests in peace each time they are able to achieve that 'temporary' goal. now give this person an unlimited warehouse of alcohol. even in just their favourite drink. we let them know it is theirs and that they will never not have alcohol again. in most cases im inclined to believe that after a certain period of indulgence this person will lose interest in seeking alcohol. they may lose interest in alcohol altogether having indulged so heavily without restriction or the judgement of their peers. or at the very least will lose interest or even begin to detest that one drink they once claimed to love... whiskey for example. it may take a week.. it may take some years. but if they dont kill themselves or cause brain damage through unrestricted access to alcohol.. simply, they will grow weary of it and take it for granted.

men love sex generally.. well all humans do but men are more open to admit it
. men are always chasing after a partner for sex. but what if we gave them sex in abundance? 20 women a day. except in the most extreme circumstances of the extreme nymphomaniac 5 years of 20 women having sex with them day in or day out whether they want to or not will have them lose a significant degree of interest in chasing after sex. in fact.. they may be anxious even for the day when they get a break. though it may happen much sooner than 5 years.

so that is my solution. negate desire through abundance. remove it as a goal that must be achieved and let apathy for that subject settle in. we all take something for granted after realizing or believing that we possess it permanently... your husband or wife.. for example LOL
edit on 21-8-2012 by 0mage because: (no reason given)

posted on Aug, 21 2012 @ 07:23 AM
If I stay at home I do not spend anything. When I go to town I spend lots of money though. I buy things I need for projects. Trying to conserve doesn't always work because we have needs and they get us into the markets where we buy things we desire. Rewarding ourselves for things we do that are good is not bad. Trouble is we think many things we do need rewarding but they are just everyday things. Our ancestors didn't reward themselves all the time, once a week they treated themselves to a little entertainment or a nice meal for their reward if they could afford it. Now we give ourselves rewards on a daily basis. This feeling we deserve rewards makes us spend more than we need to and then we have to make more money to supply these rewards. We have got so spoiled as a society that we are getting farther and farther in debt. I don't need cable, I get enough channels with the antenna. I don't need a cell phone. I had a cell phone long before others here had one because of my business but don't need it now. I need a telephone and like the internet, it is my reward but I gave up other things as part of my life to make sure I could keep it. Internet can be used for shopping to buy things you do not need also. You have to be careful, it has lots of stores and the prices seem cheap. Just because the price is cheap doesn't mean you need or deserve it. Shop wisely.

posted on Aug, 21 2012 @ 03:04 PM

Originally posted by ExCommando
reply to post by polarwarrior

The crux of the issue is the whole system is a collection of smoke and mirrors.

posted on Aug, 22 2012 @ 05:19 PM
reply to post by ExCommando

Sorry, but for some reason this quite angers me.I don't like it because its a bad emotion, but i guess you could say im a bit jealous.

Were you ever on the other side of the spectrum though? I believe the only way you can truely be satisfied with a lump sum of money is if you work your way up from the bottom. Then, and only then will you be happy with what you've accomplished monetarily.Either way good luck in your future endeavors.

Just a small bit of advice, don't get too pretentious and flaunt it about. That's where the void starts.


posted on Aug, 22 2012 @ 06:42 PM

Originally posted by PsyMike91
reply to post by ExCommando

Sorry, but for some reason this quite angers me.I don't like it because its a bad emotion, but i guess you could say im a bit jealous.

Were you ever on the other side of the spectrum though? I believe the only way you can truely be satisfied with a lump sum of money is if you work your way up from the bottom. Then, and only then will you be happy with what you've accomplished monetarily.Either way good luck in your future endeavors.

Just a small bit of advice, don't get too pretentious and flaunt it about. That's where the void starts.


Hey Mike

Was definitely on the other end of the spectrum - my father committed suicide when I was 12 years old, and my mother was (and is still) on a disability pension. We ended up in emergency government housing.

Have built this business from the ground up, with no lending or finance - saved the money and did it the old fashioned way.

Appreciate your comments - jealousy is a good feeling to have, because it can motivate oneself to achieve the same goals.

posted on Aug, 23 2012 @ 04:16 PM
After thinking about this thread for a couple of days I decided to add this very true story to the mix.
Our next door neighbour (not the ones chasing that elusive happiness) was hired part time to paint apartments.
He was very grateful for the work and liked his co-worker and semi boss man.

He speaks highly of his partner to us every time he is over for a beer and a visit to our home.
Then lo and Behold he finds out his partner inherited over 13 million Canadian, to beat that he also gets another 18 million when his mother passes away.
He is an only child and his Dad was a doctor who put all of his money into real estate for the past 70 years.

What does this guy do? you ask, well I will tell you now he still paints apartments and drives a dinged up truck and has no other car or truck.

If you guessed that he paints apartments that he now owns you are correct, only the on site super's know who he is and the tenants treat him like you would a painter.......they bitch about the job he does and he bows down to them and tries to make them happy.

He loves to get up in the morning and go to work and nobody is the wiser and .......No it is not a power trip to him it is the way he wants it.

In the year gone by since his inheritance he has bought two things, one is a motorcycle and two is a Sea-Doo
That is it for his spending and to this day he comes around and picks up our neighbour and friend to paint with him and loves what he does.....

Long but true story short, the guy gets 13 million now, 18 million in a few years and on top of that he owns probably 50 million worth of apartment buildings.....

He is happy.
Regards, Iwinder

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