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Live Simple....The New Economic Reality: Change Must Happen One Person At A Time

Updated on September 12, 2012
How many in this city alone live from paycheck to paycheck?
How many in this city alone live from paycheck to paycheck? | Source
Living a simple lifestyle
Living a simple lifestyle | Source

I’ll be honest with you: I have no faith in my nation’s leaders. None! I do not believe for a minute that those who walk the Halls of Congress have my best interests at heart. Oh sure, there might be one or two who aren’t receiving hand-outs from special interest groups, but for the majority of our lawmakers I have no faith at all.

I applaud anyone who reads this who still has faith in our political system and our current economic system. I really do! You are showing that you still believe in dreams and that is admirable. You are showing a steadfast insistence on supporting the global economy and that, too, is admirable. I, however, have no faith.

I have said before that as long as money is combined with politics there can be no meaningful action taken on behalf of the constituency and I believe that to still be true. As long as special interest groups are allowed to promote their agendas with millions of dollars the nature of the political beast will be corrupted. We were warned of this truth by the founders of our nation over two centuries ago and we did not listen. That truth has now bitten us in our collective posterior and the results are clear and undeniable.

The economy is slowly trying to dig itself out of a mammoth hole. The housing market continues to flounder, gas prices are approaching five bucks a gallon, jobs are still being outsourced and the national debt has so many zeroes in it that the average citizen needs a calculator to decipher what the number really is. The cost of a loaf of whole wheat bread has skyrocketed in the greatest wheat-producing nation on Earth and the percentage of those who are one paycheck away from being homeless is rising.

I do not need an economic study to tell me that things are worse right now than at any time in my sixty-three years and if you ask me if it is possible that things will continue to spiral downwards I will say with all certainty YES!

The question then must be asked: what are we going to do about it? Are we going to wait for our government to solve the problem? I fear we are in for a long wait, then, because our government is part of the problem and shows no sign of being part of the solution.

Are we going to wait for the 1% to bail out the 99%? If so pack a lunch and get comfy because the wait could be a long one and quite frankly why would we want that anyway? Why would we be satisfied while some fat cat at Chase or Morgan Stanley tosses us a few crumbs?

So what are we going to do about it?

I have witnessed, during my lifetime, some incredibly focused and effective protest movements. Where are they today? Where are the people who have had enough and refuse to take it any longer? In their place are millions upon millions of lower-middle class citizens clinging by their fingernails to the hope….the hope…that things will soon improve. They know not how but the hope….the fantasy….remains.

So what are we to do?

A VERY SIMPLE REALITY NEEDS TO BE UNDERSTOOD

Let’s not beat around the bush. If the economy is not in sync with the average citizen then the average citizen needs to do something about it. If your wages are frozen, if your job is constantly in jeopardy, if expenses are rising then you really only have one option: expenses need to be lowered so that you have more disposable income and you are not reliant on the government or the economy.

To put it another way: if you spend more than you earn then you need to cut spending. HELLO??? Anyone out there listening? Bueller? Ferris Bueller?

POSSESSIONS ARE NOT THE SOURCE OF TRUE HAPPINESS

A couple years ago I had a friend; we’ll call her Betty. She had lost her job, bills were piling up and she was in danger of having the utilities shut off. She asked me for a loan so that the power and water wouldn’t be terminated. Now please understand that she had a house full of furniture and other possessions including two vehicles, a big-screen tv and all the other bells and whistles that come with suburbia living.

I suggested to her that she might want to consider selling some of her possessions and you would have thought I had just said she needed to sell her first born. She was amazed and then miffed that I would not loan her the money when she had enough possessions to pay for the utilities for quite a few months. She could not conceive of living without those precious possessions.

I doubt I’ll ever forget what happened that day.

When I left for a teaching job in Alaska in 2006 I sold everything I owned. That was the beginning of the realization that I didn’t need things to be happy. Nothing has changed in the six years since then. I do not own a car or a television or furniture. In fact, I do not work for anyone. Two years ago I walked out of a job that included benefits and became a full-time freelance writer. I have not for one moment regretted that decision.

I have had years when I made a six-figure income and I can say in all honesty I am happier today barely breaking $20,000. I still owe on one credit card which I no longer use. I live comfortably on my income and I am engaged to a woman who is in complete agreement with my lifestyle choices. In three years we will move to the country and live a self-sustaining life without dependence on the government or an employer.

FOR MILLIONS OF AMERICANS IT IS TIME FOR A CHANGE

Cut up the credit cards. Get a vehicle that uses much less gasoline. Downsize your home and your possessions. Do whatever is necessary to establish a lifestyle that is not one paycheck from bankruptcy. Learn to live frugally and do it immediately.

I learned a long time ago an old adage that makes perfect sense regarding this subject. The definition of insanity is to do the same thing over and over again expecting different results. You are not a preferred customer at your lending institution nor have you attained elite status with your government or place of employment. To be dependent on any of those factors and expect different results is the definition of insanity.

It is also insanity to expect the economic landscape to change. As I write this there are millions upon millions of citizens hoping things will get better. Hoping!

I am convinced that things will only get worse in the future. If you disagree then I wish you well. I have no need to debate with you on this matter. You keep doing your thing and I’ll keep doing mine and may happiness and peace always be your companions.

ONE LAST THING

We have arrived at a point in history where we really need to come together as a race. To watch someone suffer without reaching out a hand to help is unacceptable. I’m not talking about paying the utility bills of someone who has the means to do it themselves; I’m talking about truly needy people who can’t stand on their own.

There have been many times in the history of our culture when people have banded together for a common purpose. We need for it to happen again. To hide your head in the sand and hope that things get better is a child’s game. To turn your head when someone needs you is an act of selfishness that should be beneath all of us.

Do not rely on the government! Do not rely on your employer or big business or the Tooth Fairy! Turn to family….turn to neighbor….band together and take control of your lives.

2012 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)

To read more about simplification in your lifestyle read:

http://billybuc.hubpages.com/hub/Saying-Goodbye-To-A-Life-That-Wasnt-Working

http://billybuc.hubpages.com/hub/Lifestyle-Choices-Why-Am-I-So-Happy

To purchase my Lifestyle Choices book on Kindle please go to:

http://www.amazon.com/Lifestyle-Choices-ebook/dp/B007ZV9G2U/ref=sr_1_3?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1336064586&sr=1-3

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    • tammyswallow profile image

      Tammy 4 years ago from North Carolina

      I couldn't agree more with you. Americans could do so much to improve the economy by the use of their dollar from not supporting ridiculous gas prices to not supporting companies with crooked CEO's to refusing to partake in materialistic endeavors. It would take great organization and sacrifice. I feel as you do that it isn't going to happen by our elected officials. Great, great hub.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Tammy! I think there are a whole lot of people out there spending way too much time hoping things will get better but not knowing how it will happen...and the fact is it won't happen! I appreciate you and I know you are taking steps to protect yourself for a financial meltdown.

    • TIMETRAVELER2 profile image

      TIMETRAVELER2 4 years ago

      I am in complete agreement with you, but I fear your words will fall on deaf ears. John Stossel just did a report on the poor in America...he noted that our "poor" all have cars, TV's, cell phones and computers! I was shocked when I heard this, but it highlights the exact point you are making here. We cannot blame anybody else for our situations...we are the sum of all of the choices we've made in life. Things ARE going to get worse...so we all better hang on for dear life. Great hub, my friend.

    • CR Rookwood profile image

      Pamela Hutson 4 years ago from Moonlight Maine

      Amen. I would add one thing: There are just not going to be enough jobs for every American who wants a job, and the jobs that there are do not pay what they once did. This means we are going to have to quit valuing people only by how rich they are or how ambitious, and we also are going to have to help each other out instead of shouting about political affiliations that no longer mean much of anything. Thanks for putting my own frustrations into words.

    • fpherj48 profile image

      Paula 4 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      bill....Agree, agree, ditto ditto...on your first paragraph. Could not have said it better MEself, Mate!!

      Disagree with your 2nd paragraph....sadly....but, I do not applaud "those who maintain faith in our political and economic system." Quite honestly, I simply wonder what the frig they're smoking.

      This is a great hub....fantastic, actually. I can't believe how anxious I've become lately....seeing November get closer. Peace

    • Natashalh profile image

      Natasha 4 years ago from Hawaii

      Yep, once again, just like everyone else, I agree, agree, agree! So many people live beyond their means and then seem amazed when they are broke. It's difficult to cut back when you don't want to, but...it needs to happen. For many people personally and the nation, as a whole.

    • profile image

      kelleyward 4 years ago

      You are so right on with this one Billybuc! I agree that the times are hopefully turning around, what goes up must come down, it's just the way of the world we live in. I think you point about not relying on the government too much is very important. I never consider the government being a resource to help me retire, live, or anything else for that matter! Vote up and useful, as usual! Take care, Kelley

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Time, not a pleasant subject but one that needs to be discussed. How long can people keep playing the consumerism game and expect different results? Thank you for your support; it's nice to know there are those out there who understand and agree.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      CR, you are so right! Political affiliations are a joke in today's world. I like your words and I'm grateful for your reading this.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Paula, I was just trying to be nice with the second paragraph. Anyone who still holds onto dreams that good change will come from the political system is seriously unhinged. Thank you my friend and again, great hub that you wrote yesterday!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Natasha, I have no doubt that you understand this hub! Have you written anything new lately? I must find out. Thank you my dear!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Kelley, you are on the right path then. We have to learn to live by our own means or life will continue to be hard for many more citizens. Thank you my friend!

    • profile image

      Lynn S. Murphy 4 years ago

      We are already in the process of cash only and downsizing. It's a great feeling. All great points.

    • ChristyWrites profile image

      Christy Birmingham 4 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      I do believe that change can start at the individual level. Take care.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Lynn, good for you! It's the only way to financial freedom and I'm very happy that you are on that path. Thanks for the read and the follow.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Christy, I do too and I hope many more realize that soon. Thank you my young friend and have a great day!

    • Gypsy48 profile image

      Gypsy48 4 years ago

      Excellent hub, your words speak the truth. Selfishness will be our downfall. Living beyond our means has finally caught up to many of us and we are painfully paying the price. I agree with you, it is up to everyone to take charge of their lives. We are downsizing as much as possible and I don't need things to make me happy. Voted up

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Gypsy, you said it all; once people take control of their lives then things will get better. Great comment and thank you, as always, for stopping by.

    • Jill C Peebles profile image

      Jill C Peebles 4 years ago from Lawrence, Kansas USA

      Agree with you completely. My husband and I downsized our lives drastically two years ago. Not because we needed to, but because we didn't want to be weighed down by all our material things, debts, etc. There is far more freedom in letting go of the need for money. Money is NOT synonymous with happiness, however it's going to take a LONG TIME for our external culture to catch up with that type of wisdom. We're in the midst of a major transformation in the mindset of Americans, and change is never easy for us. There is so much brainwashing going on in the media, which is one reason we let go of TV, politics, newspapers. There is a great deal of power we have as people if we simply look out for, and take care of one another. GREAT POST! :)

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Jill! It appears that you and your husband are years ahead of the movement that must happen. You have said everything I would have said in your comment and it is nice to meet someone so practical.

    • Amy Becherer profile image

      Amy Becherer 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO

      This piece couldn't have come on a more appropriate day for me, Bill. It has been a bad day. It's ironic that you mentioned not having a car. I would go without, if I could, but now my daughter, ex mother-in-law and mom all rely on me for transportation. I had to go to St. Louis City courthouse to provide a change of address that would allow me to find out what I owe for owning my economical, 2008 vehicle! Yes, personal property tax on my vehicle with the late penalty (long complicated story wherever the gov't is involved and a vindictive ex)is $320 for 2011. That isn't even the worst part. The woman I was unlucky enough to encounter at the courthouse was downright mean, treating me like I was the idiot, when, in fact, they made a mistake entering my info. I felt like getting back in my car and driving in the river.

      I don't have alot of possessions, yet, I am guilty of equating a lifetime of hard work with those I own. Now, without a job for two-years, due to our economy, I am looking for cheap digs, as I signed my lease 2 weeks before my employer gave me the bad news. I naively thought I'd find work by now, so I procrastinated relocation. Moving expenses are not cheap so I have to make my decisions carefully. Timing is everything. The one thing I would find unbearable to give up is my canine companion. He has health issues that amount to significant cost, but I'd rather go without than lose him. Gov't HUD housing has a waiting list of about 2-years, so that, of course, is a slow moving process than leaves it out of my options.

      As the world watched the Occupy movement, we were bombarded with media images of tear-gas attacks and protesters taken to jail. Those struggling to feed families or simply themselves don't have the resources for fines or bail. You said it all that it is money that keeps government in business. Politics knows no heart.

      Thank you for this interesting, heartfelt, honest read, Bill. It gives me courage and reaffirms the sad fact, I am not alone.

    • profile image

      Thrive 4 years ago

      I agree with what you say. I believe people also need to be better educated about who exactly is running the Federal Reserve. It is not our government it is a privatized banking system. Scary stuff!

    • TToombs08 profile image

      Terrye Toombs 4 years ago from Somewhere between Heaven and Hell without a road map.

      When we left Alaska almost 4 years ago, we sold just about everything (couldn't get rid of my great great aunt's cedar chest that my father inherited and restored). We left state towing a 12 x 8 trailer, we are now down to a 5 x 8. I have been and probably always will be a minimalist when it comes to earthly possessions. I'm hoping by the end of this year, all of hubby's debts will be paid off, including a huge chunk of his student loan. He got lucky and took advantage of all the federal grants that paid for his school because he had been laid off and couldn't find a job in his profession (framer) so he retrained for a new career. It only took holding him down and beating him over the head with a course catalog. :) My student loans on the other hand...ugh.

      We, like you, are planning on purchasing some acerage and while he's off at work, I'll grow a majority of our own food (thank you, country grandma, for making me work the 2.5 acre garden with you when I was a kid!). I took to heart the lessons she taught me that she learned growing up during the Great Depression, but I draw the line at salvaging road kill for Sunday dinner. :)

      For a serious hub, it was great. :) Voted up and everything, of course! :)

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Amy, I love your comments. They are so full of detail and interesting information. Sadly your story can be told my hundreds of thousands in the U.S. right now. I can certainly relate to your story as I went through a similar situation back in 2002. Thank God I had a few good friends and lessons from my dad about perseverance in the face of darkness.

      I truly do wish you well, Amy, and some sort of resolution to your problems in the near future. You are a good person in a crappy situation and I'll say some extra prayers for you tonight. I admire your spirit, your upbeat attitude and the fact that you have not turned bitter and given up.

      your friend,

      bill

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thrive, you are oh so right! I think quite a few in the country suffer from ostrich-itis....head in the sand...see no evil so there must not be any evi.

      Thank you for your comments.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      TT, what you described is exactly what we are going to do....and no, I will not eat road kill on Sunday or any other day for that matter.

      Sorry about the serious hub; I'll get back to humor tomorrow. And your day in the sun is coming up soon. :)

      Thanks Sis!

    • John Sarkis profile image

      John Sarkis 4 years ago from Los Angeles, CA

      Great hub Billy, you're so right!

      Very useful - voted such

      John

    • TToombs08 profile image

      Terrye Toombs 4 years ago from Somewhere between Heaven and Hell without a road map.

      Ok, I can forgive you the seriousness and I'm shaking in my flip flops. :)

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you John! I appreciate you stopping by.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      TT, you better be shaking...and that flip flop reference was uncalled for. I'm freezing my butt off!

    • Dexter Yarbrough profile image

      Dexter Yarbrough 4 years ago from United States

      As we use to say back in the 70s, "Right on, Billybuc!" Once again, in the bottom of the 9th, 2 outs, bases loaded, down 3 runs and on a 3/2 count, you hit a homerun!

      I hope more people read your latest piece of wisdom!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Dexter, how did you know I loved baseball? LOL Thank you sir! Your words mean a great deal to me!

    • Happyboomernurse profile image

      Gail Sobotkin 4 years ago from South Carolina

      I admire the way you live within your means and have given up your attachments to material things, consciously making choices that bring true happiness, love and satisfaction to your life.

      Voted up, useful and interesting.

    • Virtual Treasures profile image

      Virtual Treasures 4 years ago from Michigan

      Excellent hub! You are spot on with your views. I worked for a City currently in receivership and I lost faith in government long ago just by watching the daily incompetence of the leaders.

    • nakmeister profile image

      nakmeister 4 years ago from Lancaster, UK

      A truly great hub, couldn't agree more. It's not just in the USA, the UK is the same. It's sickening how the consumer culture rules supreme. People follow blindly and don't even realise there is another way. I know differently, but it is still so hard to break free and to live more simply. It's the whole system that's broken though, economic growth is what everyone wants, but to get it we all need to spend, spend, spend...

    • Dexter Yarbrough profile image

      Dexter Yarbrough 4 years ago from United States

      Hi Billybuc! Sorry to intrude on this hub, but this link will take you to the conclusion of "My Amazing Trip...."

      https://hubpages.com/travel/My-Amazing-Trip-Throug...

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Gail! I had to do some suffering before I finally acted but act I did eventually.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Virtual, I can only imagine! I hope you no longer have that job; it would be exhausting I would think. Thank you once again!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Nakmeister, it is a vicious cycle of spending and it by no means is easy to break. I wish you well and thank you so much for dropping by again.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      No intrusion my friend; thank you for the link. I'll be right there.

    • cclitgirl profile image

      Cynthia Calhoun 4 years ago from Western NC

      Tomorrow will be the last day that I will have a job that offers benefits and security. I take my future into my hands. I will become a freelance writer, artist and part time adult Spanish teacher (maybe). If I can do enough to make the mortgage, then I know I'll be all right. We have to take all this into our hands - you are right. Those whack jobs that say they represent the people only represent THEIR people, their money, their interests.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Huge grin on my face Cyndi Girl! Congratulations! You know how I feel about you so knock them dead tomorrow and then get on with your next life. Oh, and thanks for reading lil' Sis!

    • Jlava73 profile image

      Jennifer Vasconcelos 4 years ago from Cyberspace and My Own World

      Total dependence on anything other than ones own efforts can create such misery in life ( how do I know that?) :)

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Jlava, you probably know it the same way we all know it....experience! Thank you my friend; time for me to pay you a visit.

    • Virtual Treasures profile image

      Virtual Treasures 4 years ago from Michigan

      So I finally figured out how to share (duh, I know!), and I shared with my followers and on my Facebook page. Hope you get some extra traffic out of it!!

    • profile image

      Giselle Maine 4 years ago

      A common-sense wake-up call... a great hub, very interesting and inspiring. It is so true that possessions do not bring happiness. I liked it that you used personal experience to show that point.

      We don't need expensive possessions to enjoy life. Over the past few weeks I have had 2 different neighbors drop by and give me flowers from their garden - stunning bright colors which pep up my day and brighten my home. This is better than any type of storebought gift because it is natural beauty and it is the thought behind it that is so important. (Now if only my garden would hurry up and bloom this season so that I can pass it forward!)

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Virtual! I took me months to figure out how to share and link other hubs to mine....DUH! I appreciate your kind gesture.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Giselle! I don't know where you live but our gardens are stunted because of all the rain. The flowers and veggies dearly need sunshine. Thank you for your kind words and my best to you and yours.

    • b. Malin profile image

      b. Malin 4 years ago

      Well tell it like it is Billybuc and you certainly did! Wonderful Hub, lots of Common Sense, that we all can relate to. It doesn't take a lot of money to enjoy Life with your loved ones and friends...But it does take Imagination, Humor and the little things that all who have Commented on have pointed out. Of course we need the money to pay our bills, mortgages, cars etc. But Fun is really what we make it, and it doesn't have to be a Big Expense. I'm still Downsizing EVERYTHING to make Life easier and Happy!

    • neeleshkulkarni profile image

      neeleshkulkarni 4 years ago from new delhi

      i am totally enamored of the minimalistic life style and have set for my self a target for shedding possessions in a layered way still i just have the bare minimum required for survival.(of course everyone defines that for himself)and even the thought of being able to do with less is so relaxing that i know when i have shed i shall be in heaven much before i die.

      agree totally with you Billy.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Neeles, it is a remarkable feeling of freedom to finally be lessened of possessions. I wish you well my friend and good luck with shedding the extras in your life.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      b.Malin, have you ever known me to hold back? Life is too short for sugar-coating. LOL You are absolutely right, fun is really what we make it and Bev and I are having a blast with next to nothing. Thanks for dropping by.

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Fuller 4 years ago from Southern Illinois

      You bring up many good points Bill and i agree somewhat. I know far too many people who depend on the government. Young healthy people using food stamps, nonworkers, refusing to take a lower paying job. I have always lived within my means. I worked and saved, didn't need the very best, shopped at the Goodwill store. When big money is able to break the unions, we are in trouble. I must admit that i have a lovely home and i need that, my home is my heaven against storms that rise up to bring unhappiness. Thank you once again for sharing your thoughts..

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you for sharing your thoughts Ruby! I know exactly what you are saying. Blessings to you!

    • homesteadbound profile image

      Cindy Murdoch 4 years ago from Texas

      This is a great hub and a wonderful goal to have. It will require sacrifice, but that is what it is going to take.

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 4 years ago from SW England

      You know, billy, you could be writing about Britain too; it's just the same! I know many people who do the same mad thing again and again; it's scary and it's sad. My partner is in a situation where he's loaned a friend some money and that friend doesn't understand why A is so peeved because he hasn't paid him back yet (two years down the line when it was only needed for two weeks -'the money'll be in the bank then' - yeah,right). That person has a huge gas-guzzler when he could have a small, cheap runaround; he's had one financial disaster after another and he still hasn't learnt. Yes, ok, A should've been wary but he's a long term friend; however, never again! I fear, though, that in this age of credit and 'it's my right', material possessions have taken over good old family living and the philosophy of not buying until you can afford it. I've downsized because I wanted the peace of mind of no mortgage, the leisure to enjoy my 'later years', fewer bills and less dusting! Yes, we should take it upon ourselves to exert pressure on governments but I'm not holding my breath - I'll do what I can though, as you say. Good, wise thoughts. Voted up and useful.

    • Made profile image

      Madeleine Salin 4 years ago from Finland

      We have the same problem here in Europe. It seems like young people don't know the value of money. The teenagers growing up now have so many material things. When they start earning money themselves they take big loans and spend more money than they earn. I'm glad our family didn't have much money when I grew up, because I learned to be happy for the small things in life. I could live with less material things than I have now. You are wise as usual. Great hub, Bill! :)

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Ann, I have a friend who did the same thing to me and never did pay it back; I have had to write off the loan but I will never again make that mistake. If people want to be irresponsible then let them but don't involve me in it.

      Thank you my friend and have a marvelous day!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Made! I, too, came from a family who understood the value of living within your means and I have not forgotten the lessons they taught me. Blessings to you my dear friend.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Cindy, for sure it requires sacrifice, but the rewards are oh so worth it. Thank you as always.

    • Jill C Peebles profile image

      Jill C Peebles 4 years ago from Lawrence, Kansas USA

      As we take charge of our own lives and turn away from our old ways of living, we need to remember those who can't do that for themselves. For my family, social services have been a saving grace. We need to help one another out a lot more as neighbors, friends and communities but there are some things that they can't do, nor would I expect them to. I have two children with severe developmental disabilities, and I just couldn't manage it alone, without government involvement. I get nervous when I hear some people mention those who "feed off gov't services." I do live very simply, try to be as self-sufficient as possible by growing a lot of my own foods, keeping chickens, and embrace a minimal lifestyle. At the same time, we need to make sure our government services do their part in taking care of the weakest among us. I'm hoping this transformation we citizens undertake involves a higher level of compassion and expectations.

      This topic is such a complex one. Thanks again for writing about this, Bill.

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Jill, it is good to see you back. There is no doubt that this is a complex issue, but one well-worth considering. Obviously you have considered and adopted it.

      Although I have very little faith in the government I do know for a fact that there are services they provide that are vital for many people. I am so happy they have given you help where needed.

      Thank you my new friend! Have you moved yet to your new home?

    • Jill C Peebles profile image

      Jill C Peebles 4 years ago from Lawrence, Kansas USA

      Bill- My State is not giving us the help we need. Kansas is using a scalpel on elderly & disabled services here, while lowering taxes on business owners. So many people are suffering. That's why we're moving to CA- they may be cutting many services as well, but they aren't targeting those most in need. We can't get away from government entirely, but as a people we should hold very high expectations regarding our tax dollars, how they are used, and an awareness of when they are being withheld in ways that are unconscionable. It's hard for me to believe there isn't a huge uproar here in my State.. that's a big part of the problem.

      We haven't moved yet, but the ball is rolling West! Probably within the next two months.

      It's so nice to have met you, Bill.

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Jill, I look forward to hearing about the move. Awareness is the first step towards action, Jill; that's why it is important that you and I, and others, write about the truth.

      It is, indeed, very nice to have met you.

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      Neil Sperling 4 years ago from Port Dover Ontario Canada

      Great hub - I agree - change starts within each of us... from the North Pole to the South Pole a new system needs to be made.... the old system(s) have all proved flawed. I've said it before - "We need to stop making such a huge deal about manufacturing 'things' and we have to start making a big deal about building character.Build a new man from the inside out. No longer running from who we are inside."

      Back to Zero with a new positive approach to loving life!

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Neil, I love that philosophy...build character! We would have far fewer problems if more would do that. Great to hear from you and my best wishes to you in the future.

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      dpsimswm 4 years ago from Richmond, Virginia

      I'm sorry you've lost faith in the system.

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Dpsimswm, I'm not so no worries. I'm much better off taking care of my self and not waiting for the system to take care of me. Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

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      Dianna Mendez 4 years ago

      Good argument for hitching up the pants and dealing with what life hands you. We may never see a recovery in economy as we once knew. It is our opportunity to head forward with a different plan that works for us.

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Dianna, that's exactly how I look at it...as an opportunity to make things happen without reliance on other agencies. As always, you are appreciated. Thank you and have a wonderful weekend.

    • Jill C Peebles profile image

      Jill C Peebles 4 years ago from Lawrence, Kansas USA

      I couldn't agree more with Neil-

      "We need to stop making such a huge deal about manufacturing 'things' and we have to start making a big deal about building character. Build a new man from the inside out. No longer running from who we are inside."

      Solution? The best way to effect change is to teach by example. Give up 'things' and do some serious introspection. Others will be amazed at what they see you doing.

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Jill, I loved Neil's perspective and I agree with you; we set the example and others will learn by it. In the meantime I am very happy with my lifestyle and will continue on towards my goal.

      Thank you my friend; have a wonderful weekend.

    • Neil Sperling profile image

      Neil Sperling 4 years ago from Port Dover Ontario Canada

      :-) Thanks Jill!

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Neil, Jill, thank you both!

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      Sonya L Morley 4 years ago from Edinburgh

      Brilliant article, living beyond our means is never going to end well... It takes a bit of rearranging to get it right, something I'm currently working on. It can't have been easy to refuse that loan, but you were right, helping a person to perpetuate their unsustainable spending habits isn't helping them much at all. Hope you have a good weekend Bill.

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Sonya, it is always so nice to hear from you. Thank you my dear and I hope you have a wonderful weekend as well.

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      Jessee R 4 years ago from Gurgaon, India

      This not only has a significant take on American Economy but also on the Indian Economy!

      An awe-inspiring hub...

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Rahul, thank you once again. I have the feeling this hub reflects quite a few nations and not only the United States and India. Change must happen as you well know. Take care my friend and have a wonderful weekend.

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      Kelly Umphenour 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO

      You are so right! This govt is going to hell in a handbasket. I just don't know what to expect next. Sadly, our government looks like nothing but a bunch of rich kids who have a club where they trade money and then make up some junk to tell the public. I wonder if an honest man could even make his way up the government leader ladder...I think you have to be crooked to even get into politics. Sad...yes.

      Excellent hub!

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Sadly, Kelly, I agree with you. I am convinced that each citizen needs to take steps to become self-sufficient of government. I appreciate you taking the time to comment and I appreciate you as a person and writer.

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      Shauna L Bowling 4 years ago from Central Florida

      Bill, I apologize for the late read. Way behind! But I have a few things to say, as usual.

      Firstly, I agree with you entirely. Government is not going to help us, especially the current regime. Nor is business. I work for a small 76 year old family owned construction management company. I have over 12 years with them. Four years ago they put a freeze on raises, due to the economy. This past year, several people have been awarded raises, I not being one of them. The company says we need to cut back, yet the officers have grandiose homes in Orlando and beach homes and cabins in NC. Key personnel have top of the line computers, the 37 year old president is sent to Harvard Business School each February and attends "peer group" sessions, all at the expense of the company. Yet there's no money for raises. Yeah, right. I wonder why? I'm the Accounting Manager for Christ's sake! I see what comes in and what goes out! OK. I'm getting more pissed now, so let me move to my next point.

      I live in a small house. My furniture and wall hangings are either family heirlooms, with which I won't part, or were purchased at Salvation Army, thrift stores and yard sales. When my son came of driving age, my sister bought him a used car that is as old as he is. Needless to say, cars aren't as healthy as humans and it was constantly breaking down to the tune of $1,000 more or less each time. At $7.75/hour, my son could not pay for the repairs and needed his car to get back and forth to work. I didn't have the cash, so I've maxed out two of my credit cards. Finally, I told my son he needs to see if he can get a loan (he'd just received his own USAA membership card). He was able to get a loan without a co-signer and bought a 2007 Chevy Aveo. Good on gas and his car payment is only $203/month. Two days after he bought his car, the bird of paradise shit on his head and he was fired from his job. He has yet to find a job, so I made his first car payment, taking it out of savings. Additionally, due to his age and the fact that he now has to have full coverage on his car, my insurance premium has increased 71%! Add that to the price of gas, food, property tax increase and homeowners insurance going up (after all, everyone else is raising prices to cover the increased cost of living and operating!) and I am literally drowning in debt! Remember, I can't get a raise. Couple that with the debt I took on from two deadbeat husbands, I am $44,000 in debt. That doesn't include my car payment or mortgage!

      I just don't know what to do. I would never, ever reach out to the government for help. Besides, they think I make too much money. In fact they took $1,000 extra of my hard earned money for 2011 taxes (why do they take our money anyway????)

      I'm seriously considering cashing in my 401K for what it will payoff and defaulting on the rest.

      I've worked hard all my life. When is it my turn?????

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Sha...boy, does that ever sound familiar! :) Misery loves company and my friend, you have some company in this boy. I finally threw up my hands and said "I'm done." I told my son he was on his own, whatever will be will be, but he needs to figure it out and find a solution. In 1990 I declared bankruptcy, something I swore I would never do but you know what...there is only so much one person can do and then you take the only solution remaining.

      I have paid off over $100,000 in debt over the past twenty years and I'm done. I own nothing now and I owe nothing now.

      I have no solutions for you my dear but I do have empathy and understanding. I am not saying you can do what I did because I know my case is an isolated incident only applicable to me and my situation. I understand completely what you are going through and I wish you well. I am only saying that I count on no one now for a solution other than myself.

      When is it your turn? I don't know but I hope it comes soon but you surely deserve it.

      Hugs and love,

      bill

    • Tom Koecke profile image

      Tom Koecke 4 years ago from Tacoma, Washington

      And as we need to come together, we are seeing the most polarization since the civil war. I fear your fear that it will get worse before it gets better is coming to fruition.

      You hit upon several keys for surviving in the future. Get out of debt, become self-reliant, and use austerity as a form of satisfaction and happiness.

      It may not reach the point that a stock of food and water is better than having a job, but, if it does reach that point, those who stocked up on food and water may want to also have a cache of weapons and ammunition to fend off those who believe they have a greater right to your belongings than you do, like thieves and politicians - or is that redundant?

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      Shauna L Bowling 4 years ago from Central Florida

      Bill, I will MAKE my time come. I just have to figure out a way out that I can live with (when I look in the mirror).

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Sha, I understand completely.

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Tom, I'm a pretty optimistic guy but I swear, I'm not too hopeful about the new economic reality. The excesses of society and the insistence on living a lifestyle that cannot be sustained is pure lunacy in my book. I hope I'm wrong...I truly do...but at least me and those I love are taken care of.

      Thank you, Sir, for stopping by and leaving a meaningful comment.

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