Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Enough

Not sure where this is going to go or how long it is going to go...

I guess I'm just wondering when does a person decide that enough is enough? Like how much money does one need to have before one realizes that its enough. And by the way, I already think the word enough sounds funny since I've written it 5 times already.

I've been following the state of the economy pretty closely - well, if by reading the newspaper and listening to talk radio = closely. I've also had many interesting conversations with people. I've been appalled at the bahavior of public officials, of corporate ceos and the opinions of some of those that I hold dear...

In MY opinion - why in the heck does a corporate CEO feel it is necessary to earn multi-millions of dollars each year, receive a hefty (multi-million dollar) bonus each year, + stock options and other fringe benefits? I mean really, how much money is enough? Does one NEED $10 million dollars each year? And what about the people who are commanding that salary and at the same time are laying thousands - or hundreds of thousands - of people off. What is that about? Seriously, how much money is enough? I had a conversation with someone who's response was, "Why shouldn't he make as much as he can make?" I'm not sure that my jaw was able to be picked up off of the floor.

There was an article on CNN.com about how the CEO of Merill Lynch asked his board of directors for a $10 million dollar bonus this year because - get this - he deserves it because the company lost *ONLY* $11.67 Billion dollars this year. Really? And they're laying people off. They are putting people on the street without jobs, but this guy DESERVES a $10 million dollar bonus? Really?

Now, I'm not in favor of "distribution of wealth" and socialism, however, I am greatly in favor of responsibility and compassion to those around us. I'm just wondering when a person decides that he/she has enough and doesn't need to earn/command MORE.

I don't know - its kind of a tricky question, right? I mean, its easy to have these opinions when you're talking about ludicrous amounts of money like X million per year... but what about when you're in the middle class suburbs and $100,000/year doesn't stretch as much as you thought it would? (just using a round number). Polls show that most people feel like they'd be comfortable - and happy - if they earned just 20% more than what they currently earn. Really? What about when you get there - then is it enough? Are you done, then?

We all want to live the good life. Take trips. Have nice cars, nice clothes, nice houses. But when is what you've got enough for you? Do you need a bigger house? More clothes? A newer car? What about when what you have is sufficient to meet your needs? Do you still need more? bigger? better? Are we always going to be trying to move to the next level? 3,000 square feet instead of 2,400? and soon we'll need 4,000 square feet because 3,000 just isn't big enough. Nevermind the fact that an extra 1,000 square feet means more furniture, more carpet, more maintainence, etc. 1,000 square feet ends up costing a LOT more than what you thought.

Current events - the economy, the auto bailout, the bank failures, the IL governor - certainly have got me thinking about this, however, it is a nearly continuous conversation in our house. We want to live simpler - people don't understand that desire, but we do. We don't want bigger, better and more. We want to drive our stake right here and stay here. I feel like it is a constant battle though - trying to drive our stake, yet wanting more and better. I do want more and better, but I don't want to want more and better, you know?

At some point a person needs to recognize that what he/she has is enough and doesn't need more - right? Am I the only one that wonders this?

4 comments:

Marissa 10:07 PM  

Absolutely not. Last year, I hit my house hard "decluttering", but what came out of it was more of a sense of realizing how much excess I had. It's still a process. We still have way too much stuff (even though we are WAY below the yearly income dollar amounts you stated), and though we seem to have a hard time saving a whole lot, I must say that even when we have had emergencies we have always found a way to make it (either through help from family, unexpected gift, etc). Which at times has been stressful, but also just goes to show that even when you don't think you have enough, you have more than enough.

Amy 3:13 PM  

This post made me think of our food budget situtation. When Rob was in seminary our food budget was very LOW. Like it's embarassing to say how low it is and how simple we ate. We were excited to increase it once we moved here and have more creative meals. We kept going over our food budget every single month. So we kept increasing it and increasing it and still kept going over. I think that's the problem. Once you get more, you want even more and more and more.

Honestly sometimes I hate shopping at the mall because I see all these clothes I want for myself and my kids. Mall shoppers dress so trendy compared to Wal Mart and Target shoppers. I start to feel inferior in my second hand jeans. Then I think of the people in my life I look up to and respect. It is not even based on the clothes they wear so I wonder why I sometimes obsess over it.

April 3:22 PM  

Indeed things I do think about and really agree with yoU!

Missy Eagen 12:45 PM  

I agree.... I don't get it and after I watched the news this morning and saw the rejection of the bail out plan for the auto industry and why... because the company's would rather loose their company than take a pay cut? really?? makes my eye brow go up and I'm not very good at money, budgets, ecomony etc but I really don't get it, how did it get so bad so quick or has it just been bad and now it's getting attention. Not sure so I'll quit rambling :)

I do think at the point where I want more is the point where I've crossed enough.... don't ya think?

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