Monday, June 25, 2012

3rd Money Rule for Life - Greed vs. Contentment

"Nothing is enough for the man to whom enough is too little. -- Epicurus, Greek Philosopher, 341-270 BC

Last night I read Mary Hunt's book "7 Money Rules for Life", and it was the third rule that I found to be known to me, but still not absorbed, even all these years after treading, seeing and reading about miseries and distress.  The writer did not use voluminous examples, or hundreds of pages to present her point. She writes with conviction and as a reader I found her words sincere. 

It is never enough. Every flashy gadgets, clothes of impeccable finesse, shiny shoes, dining at restaurants declaring prosperity from its every polished spoons and glitzy interiors, demand contentment to be roughed and snubbed by bolstered greed. If my friend can buy the brand new car, why can't I? If I bought the New IPad just a few months ago, why can't I get the shinier Surface with fantastic Ultrabook specs? BMW? Hmmm...wait until you see my cuddled Bentley. 

Mary Hunt describes the battle between the greed and contentment: 
Contentment says, "I am grateful for what I have, I want what I have, I have enough to satisfy."
Greed says, "More is not enough, I deserve even more, I want it all and I don't care what it takes to get it."
Contentment and greed cannot cohabitate. They cannot exist at the same time. One of them has to go. Greed must die for contentment to live."
The writer provides examples of all known but perhaps not realized marketing ploys all around us: 
"No Interest, No Payments for a Year!" or "36 Easy Payments"!" open the door to greed. They get our consumer engines revved up as we plan for how we'll get what we want now and skip all of that saving-the-money-first nonsense. By that time, whatever-it-is will have lost its glamour, so what's the point? Greed when exposed to available credit is a financial mistake just waiting to happen."
Scriptures from every religion have something to say about greed and its disastrous and ruinous consequences. Though Gordon Gekko in the famous movie The Wall Street would like you to believe that "Greed is good!", but as Mary Hunt points out, "Please don't base your belief system on a movie line that might have been memorable and entertaining but dead wrong. Greed is like a cancer that when left untreated can destroy individuals, families, businesses, governments, and economics".

Some of greed's consequential examples are glaringly abundant in current leaky bubbles floating around in economic mist and haze. One after another big banks in Europe and also in other parts of the world are looking for bailout for their riskier bubbly loans that were made to continue the never ending cycles of greed. And it is the poor of the poor getting the most hit from this spiraling crisis.

Mary Hunt has a micro economic solution that possibly can play more positive impact than billions of dollar bailout of big banks possibly can, though at this point of increasing global panic where emotion trumps the fact sheet, cohabitation of both bailout and other micro economic solution like Mary Hunt's recommendation to ditch greed can bring back the economic stability. At least, that is the hope.

Here are the simple steps that Mary Hunt recommends by giving "away some of your money" to "quiets your desires and knocks the life out of greed":

  1. "Develop Personal Compassion. Putting others' needs ahead of our wants takes our eyes off of our selfish desires. It softens our hearts and fills us with compassion for the needs of others.
  2. Develop generosity. A heart filled with gratitude expresses itself with generosity. Generosity kills greed. As you acknowledge all that you have in light of the needs of those around you, you'll find yourself feeling genuinely grateful in ways you may have not experienced before.
  3. Put others' needs ahead of your wants. 
  4. Repeat step 1 to 3 above as part of your money management system." 

One does not have to have gazillions of wealth to make charitable donations a habit. One does not have to wait for divine instructions (that may or may not come from the sky, ever), whatever one can at any given time, and whatever economic circumstances one may be in, giveaway steps can be taken, as there are less fortunate than me always exist somewhere, in some places. One point that Mary Hunt repeatedly mentions in explaining her third rule of money is that the donation needs to be enthusiastic, voluntary, without being forced or clenching one's teeth, and without expecting anything in return whatsoever. Breaking the greed's tightening grips needs altruism at its tip top shape.

There are plenty of genuine channels available on the net that can be used. Before donating to any organization, cautionary steps should be taken, as there are plenty of scams along side the good ones.

The following list has only a few samples of possible good selection:


Mary Hunt's 7 Money Rules for Life is an excellent read. Check it out from your library or buy it online: http://www.amazon.ca/Money-Rules-Life%C2%AE-Control-Financial/dp/0800721128/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1340687260&sr=8-1

Here is an article by Mary Hunt published in The Huffington Post earlier this year where the author talks about "Faith, Debt and Greed" - http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mary-hunt/money-rules-for-life-faith-debt-greed_b_1201907.html

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