How to Feel Good About Affluence in Tough Economic Times

Yesterday we signed our escrow papers for our first second-home.

It’s been a goal of ours for a long time, and we were excited. As I sat there with my (on-loan) Fendi bag and (on-sale) Chanel sunglasses, I listened to our notary, Karin.

She told us about how she used to get 3-4 jobs a day as a traveling notary, and now she is thankful when the phone rings for any job because the offers come only 3-4 times a week. Apparently, we’re the only people buying real estate right now. (Of course, we’re only able to do it because of the depressed market).

How do I feel ok about doing well when others are struggling? Here are 5 things I’m trying to do to help:

1. I have increased my charitable giving, particularly to the local food bank.

2. I’ve cut down on visible extravagances. I plan to throw myself a more subdued 35th birthday celebration, for example.

3. I talk about shopping less. Not sure I’m actually shopping less, but I think of my shopping habit as helping the economy so as long as I’m not bragging about shopping I don’t give myself too hard a time about this.

4. I make sure to keep employing everyone the same number of hours I always have, rather than cutting down because I’m panicking. Now is not the time to tell the gardener to come only twice a week. I understand that people are relying on our family to make their own ends meet.

5. I refuse to open my retirement account statements.  If I see what we’ve “lost” then I’ll want to spend less. I remind myself it’s only a loss if I were going to liquidate the account right now.

What are some things you’re doing?

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