It’s A Material World After All

Just this morning I told my son that after sending him to school, I must get some new tyres for my car. I was sure it’s going to cost me a couple of thousands. He told me to dispose my car to get a new one instead. I replied, ” When I do that, I’d consider a smaller and more economical car “. To my surprise, he exclaimed, “Mom, you are downgrading, if you do that. People don’t just downgrade!” That response made me wonder if children of today are fast becoming more materialistic?

I explained to him that having a car is not an asset but a liability as it starts to depreciate the minute it leaves the showroom. I for one, would not like to see my money shrink! When I said that, I was looking from the market value aspect. Some people would argue, based on qualitative aspect, where the car is viewed to reflect one’s social status; how it can boost people’s confidence in you when dealing in business, so on and so forth. They are not wrong either.

When we were younger, we learnt never to judge the book by its cover. In this material world, it doesn’t really work that way. For instance, in the corporate world, people judge you on first impression, the first few seconds to be precise, based on what they see of you, from top to bottom, sometimes before you get the chance to open your mouth to speak!

People judge another by the way you dress, the accessories you carry with you, the car you drive, the address of your residence, your title, your occupation, etc. The increased demand for luxury items is what makes famous brands selling very well these days. Of course, there are those who prefer to buy branded stuffs simply for their reliability and quality only.

Living in the material world, enjoying quality products and services, when you can very well afford it, is not wrong. It could be a conscious effort to motivate oneself to strive for bigger success and to enjoy the finest things which the world has to offer. You deserve to enjoy richer lifestyle when you work to attain it.

However, as you are working hard for material things, you must not cast a blind eye to the immaterial things in life, like your family, health, happiness, your values and principles. If you can balance both material and immaterial achievements, then, YOU of all people, deserve to enjoy such luxury!

Having said all that, living in the material world, especially in the big cities, we could do some damage control for our children. We can start by teaching our children to live within their means, to be financial savvy. Take for instance, if they want another toy, we shouldn’t dash their hopes. Neither do we want to give as freely as they ask. We can allow a certain part of their savings to be used to purchase that toy. On condition that they save for it without sacrificing their basic needs fulfillment. They must first feed their hungry stomachs and then save the balance.

Once the term is agreed and accepted, parents must not be tempted to advance any money to them, when the fund is insufficient. It may send the wrong message to them and got them into the habit of buying things on loan. It would be a costly affair if they keep doing it especially when they start using ‘plastic money’ one day. As I see it, the delay is good for impulsive spenders. It can sometimes make them realize that they don’t need it after all and decide not to buy. Instead, to save the money for something better in future.

There is no right or wrong about material world. It exists and we are living in it. If you see it in a bad light where people, out of greed, go against their conscience to satisfy their material cravings, it is certainly bad and wrong. If you choose to see it in a positive angle, that it acts as a motivation to set goals and achieve them, then it’ll be positive. How you see it, I’ll leave it to you.

~ Alice N.

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