spending money on frivolous things

21 10 2008

Did you hear that the Large Hadron Collider is broken?  It had a minor meltdown, and it will take at least two months to fix.  It may not operate until next year, because CERN has pledged to not run it during the winter months, when Europe needs the most energy.  Yeah, it uses that much energy!

What bothers me about this whole thing is that the LHC costs over $6 billion, and it’s to research something that’s not that important in life.  I know, it helps our understanding of the universe, and it’s interesting, but what about helping people that don’t have enough food to eat or clean drinking water?  I’m not saying all our excess money should be given away, but with that money we could dig wells for fresh water and help people in third-world countries learn to plant crops.

But this is not a new story.  Every day, billions are dollars are spent on frivolous things in the “developed nations”, while most of the world struggles to have enough to eat.  It’s so easy to get caught up in all the stuff we have.

This can be tied in with the current major news, specifically the CEOs and board members of these large banking companies getting millions of dollars in compensation (plus severance packages and pensions) while running their company in the ground.  Why does anyone need hundreds of millions of dollars?  I’ve been thinking more about human nature lately after reading about the CEO of Lehman Brothers taking home $480 million in the past few years.  He can afford anything he wants — even his own private island — and still have lots of money left over.  When do you ever get enough that you think you should help other people?  The truth is, you don’t.  It’s how we view life and others that determines if we want to help people in need.

If you don’t want to help people while you’re in middle class or poverty, you won’t care about helping them if you get rich.  Obviously you can’t give as much when you’re poor, but there are things you can do to help.  My point in all this is that it’s a mindset, and it runs against American culture.  We’re told that acquiring all these goods will make us happy, but that’s not true.  The mentality in our society is to spend all we have (and then some, which is part of the reason for our economic mess).  Most people follow this mentality, too.  In the past two years, the average household in the United States spent more than they saved.  Obviously this trend leads to bankruptcy if continued.

Do you want to know the key to being rich?  Live below your means.  If you don’t spend all your money on monthly payments for your mortgage, cars, and luxuries, you have money left over to invest and for special occasions.  It’s really that simple.  And living that way makes it easier, in that letting your money earn interest for you builds up your savings, as opposed to paying interest and thus paying more for things than you bought them for.

I suppose I’m just ranting now.  Sometimes that happens…  🙂  But hopefully I’ve said something that gives you something to think about (if you’re still reading, although if you’re reading this, you are).  🙂  I’ll stop rambling now.  If you want me to say more on this, leave a comment…

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One response

22 10 2008
Kri'

Say more! Say more!

It truly is a shame… so much of this seems common sense to someone who has Christian values such as myself, but our human nature craves things that are contrary to the Spirit. What we accumulate is never enough and we’ll never be happy enough. So sad.

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