Live within your means

Went for a walk yesterday in the nicer (wealthier) part of town.

Told my son, yes I do sometimes feel a pang of envy, looking at those lovely big houses; “if only I had worked harder” my perpetual refrain.

But my final rejoinder for our lad: “Best to live within your means.”

If things do eventually go pear-shaped — if by circumstances beyond my control I should lose my job — at least they will have a roof over their heads.

I do feel sorry for seasoned professionals who have lost their job in the midst of the pandemic. I feel their sense of shame.

I was made redundant in the recession of 2001, just months after marrying and for the next three years brought home an irregular and unsatisfactory income from freelance publishing roles. I feel their fear and pain.

Our society, though, teaches us to work hard so we can buy more stuff. You get a promotion at work, so you buy a better car and move into a bigger house, the cycle repeating as your career progresses. All good as long as your employment is sound.

Alas, as many have found, this is all an apparition. It is just a balloon with a fragile skin, just waiting to pop in an unholy implosion. Lose your job, and everything else follows suit.

If you can live within your means, you should.

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