Toward a leaner and less stressful lifestyle…

Years of easy credit have led many of us into lifestyles that included a lot of creature comforts that did nothing to advance our careers. Adjustable rate mortgages enabled unwary credit junkies to buy houses that could never be afforded otherwise. The rising tide of an ever-expanding economy kept most of us off the shoals of economic reality that should have sunk us instantly.

It seemed for many years that the perfect antidote to boredom was to go shopping or to go out to dinner at a new restaurant. If that failed, we would take a vacation trip for a week or a weekend in an effort to find satisfaction in a increasingly hectic and unsettling life.

For many of us, life in the fast lane snuck up on us somehow through a series of job changes. We went from being really good at some job where we were seemingly in control of our destinies, although unhappy with the restrictions we worked under, to middle or upper management where we became those managers and directors that we had always viewed with fear, scorn, or envy.

Along the way to knighthood as a manager/director we picked up the accouterments of a different lifestyle. Our automobiles, homes, and wardrobes became far more expensive and somewhat more comfortable. They were badges indicating our success.

In some cases, they were necessary parts of our corporate or business personna, but in many cases, these accessories did little to ensure our success. High end media systems and home theaters, top of the line sport cars, exotic SUVs (Hummers, etc.) do little to help you hold on to your position in a corporation.

When the economy sours, your real estate holdings and other possessions are a huge liability if you have no equity in them. Six years ago, too many people in Silicon Valley lived precariously even with two large incomes. The deflation of the Internet bubble triggered an immediate reaction for these people. Overnight, some went from gorgeous homes in gated neighborhoods to rental units in outlying towns.

The Internet bubble is history, but the lifestyle lives on for many up and coming middle managers in other cities across the USA and probably around the world. I know personally of several talented people who are working their butts off in an increasingly chaotic corporate environment and who have accumulated a debt load that can swamp them in an instant if their careers falter.

These are really competent people, but they have been under such stress that they acquire "things" to give them creature comforts or they take expensive vacations and trips, just to "get away for a while". When the acquisitions or trips are not paid for by cash, they add to the stress. It’s a vicious spiral that gets worse over time.

Take a hard look at your family possessions and the monthly services you are contracted to pay. How many of them are helping you earn a living?

Those things that are not helping you earn a living, are adding to the burden you have to deal with every payday.

See if you can’t lighten your burden by cutting back on non-essential services and activities.

More later. Have a good weekend.

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