Saturday, February 7, 2009

Living in a material world - Part III

“Life’s disease is suffering” The first Noble Truth.
“Suffering is caused by ignorant desire” The second Noble Truth.

The fact that “ignorant desire” of money is a very addictive disease it is pretty easily to observe.
Most of us have got it.
Living as a recovering “money addict” is a tough, life long battle and commitment.

If you are still living the life of ignorant desire;
You are fighting to keep up with the Johns who are fighting to stay ahead of you.
You are locked into an endless competition that you will never win because when / or if you get ahead of the Johns, you will find out that you will still be miserable and unhappy.
Financial happiness can be achieved only through financial enlightenment.

Let’s go back where we left at the last post;
“”Enough is not a number,
enough is a state of mind.”
Great! It sounds great, but what does it mean, how do you translate that “state of mind” in real life?
Can you simply “wish” your financial worries away?
Can you meditate your bills and your debt out of your life?

What is the life of a financially enlightened person?
If you are making $450 K a year and you are spending $500K – enlightened you are not.
If you are making $50K a year and you are spending $45K – enlightened you are!

The path of financial enlightenment starts with a balanced checkbook and that can only be achieved when you decide to stop the rat race and “settle for what you need not what you want.”

Write down on a piece of paper everything you spend, starting with the most expensive item; your monthly mortgage payment.
(If that is not your highest monthly bill, stop reading this blog and start looking for a very good accountant and a very good lawyer!)
Next put your second highest bill, like your car payments and keep on going with the list to the last of your bills.

Now: Take your mortgage bill and see if it is more than 28% of your annual income.
If it is more then that is not the house that you need. The house that you need is a N-1 bedroom house with a monthly payment less that the 28% - where N is the number of people living in your house full time.
Call your real-estate agent, or find a good one, and tell him: “sell the house I wanted and get me in the house I need”

Take your cars monthly payments and see if they are more than half of your mortgage payment.
If your car payments are more than half, you are not driving the car you need, so get red of the one you want and get the one you need!

Keep on going on the path until you achieve the perfect balance!

Painful is the path to financial enlightenment but at the end of it you’ll have nights of sound sleep and days of no stress.
Not the envy of your peers would be your reward but a smile on your face.

The advice is free the results - priceless


Aggie said...

It is always good advice to stay debt free. Esp in these hard times that seem set to get even harder.

Lydia said...

Whew! I'm finally caught up with your posts...and you tell me that I've been busy!

This series has been excellent. Excellent!

I'm up late (of course) but now I will have a sound nights sleep, most definitely. I just did your 28% calculation and we are well below that mark. So I feel happy. Grateful.

Chatty Crone said...

You are right - 'enough is a state of mind' - I love that idea.

Josh said...

Hi friend,

Thanks a lot for the support. Was not able to due my business from the Internet due to financial reasons, but hopefully I will be able to recover from this with the help of friends like you. I was really touched by your last comment asking me if everything is fine. I never found such a person from the Internet so compassionate as you. Good luck. Will post my real comment after reading your post. Once again, thanks.

Anne Partain said...

Funny how such practical, loving information can shine a light on our fears and thereby allow us to become more conscious, if we choose to.

Great post Buddha!

Ted Bagley said...

I'm pressed for time this weekend, so I'm pasting a comment I made on this issue from another blog.
Consider this: As long as you consider yourself not free, you’re living according to someone else’s definition and not your own. The real thief is the one that convinces you there is such a thing as not being free. Dealing with money as moral issue for slaves to follow is how modern good masters get slaves to want to be like them. The problem with this is twofold, being that masters are dependent on there being slaves in the first place and it takes a lot of pressure of the masters if they can get the slaves to be good slaves, which is wanting to be a master myself in mastering my self, and by keeping my friends in line.
Morals are the symptom of a split in the master as slaves have no morals. That being between a good master and a master that is not good. The perception is twisted because there is no such thing as a “good master”. The master knows this, albeit unconsciously, and so needs to convince the slave to be a “good” slave instead. The master has nowhere to go with his being but death in a real sense. Nothing to symbolically transcend. The slave, on the other hand, can know he is a slave and yet aspire to be something else that can’t be said by the master and transcend his being a slave to his identity, which is owned by the master in the first place, and live as a symbol of that “something else”. What is, is not. What is not, is. There is only is and no. There is no not as the not is just trying to split no choice into two parts. If the master wants there to be no debt, then let the master take care if it himself! But, if when there really is no debt, then let there be no masters, either.
Mastering anything is a delusion and most often implies getting rid of symptoms when the symptoms are pointing to the structure of relation that often won’t be seen otherwise. Even mastering ourselves is a delusion because it’s still based on listening to someone else’s voice in our heads when there’s really no one there.
The slave that wants to be master is Nietzsche's nihilist.
Consider also that a “generous” person could just be a person that gives me what I want, how I want it, and when I want it.
If something is wrong, sometimes the best thing to do to end it is follow the game and let it fall.
Going back to where we left the last post.
Nothing really counts when nothing is really counted.

This Brazen Teacher said...

I have been doing this for the last year. Having "less" has truly equated to "much, much MUCH more!"

Buddha said...

@ Aggie – I wish the congress would think the same!

@ Lydia – You work too hard, do not burn yourself up!
Isn’t it wonderful to feel safe and secure?
I have made that choice too, long time ago.
I rather feel secure than rich.

@ Cathy - When put into practice, that idea will change your life!

@ Josh – Everybody is having a really hard time now.
You have to stay strong and positive. It is the best thing you can do.
Don’t worry about blogging right now. Take care of the important things first.
Your true friends will be here whenever you get back.
May God send his blessing to you and your loved ones!

@ Anne – Wisdom is like money; it has no use until you spend it.

@ Ted – You are confusing me,
Who is considering himself not free?
“IF” it is not an argument. “IF” is a speculation.
We can speculate anything we want, till the cows come home.
But why?

@ This Brazen Teacher – It would be lovely if you would share some of the things you have done :)
Feel free anytime!

Uku said...

Balanced freedom! :)

Ted Bagley said...

Wanting to Not suffer is nothing but speculation as if life can be lived another way than this. If I can only do it right then...
If Obama does this...
If there were more jobs...
If the guy next door would only do...
If my kid were a little smarter...
If I were better looking...
"Get out of debt or be homeless," That's the choice given by a mugger. It's lose/lose.

A. Goldberg said...

Interesting - I was just writing about this very topic in my blog this evening. My topic was on happiness, however it dovetails into what you speak about - materialism, trying to keep up with the Joneses, etc.

Peace out.

Ted Bagley said...

I can understand an ignorant view of desire. I see no such thing as ignorant desire, though. Can you clarify?

Evelyn Lim said...

It's certainly wise to be financially prudent by being debt-free and spending within our means. Keeping up with the Joneses does not make for inner happiness either. We put ourselves in a state of craving and wanting - seldom truly happy but always living in the future, not in the now!

SandyCarlson said...

Thanks for this clear and logical approach to money management.

Tamara said...

Awesome post. It can't be stated enough that it is important to spend less than you earn. If you live an enlightened life it is easier to do because you are not in competition with the world around you. I want so desperately to live a simple life because of the peace that comes with it. I am learning this concept later in life and because of that I am having a hard time putting these concepts into to practice. I am happy to have this blog to learn from.

Don't Feed The Pixies said...

People say that money doesn't make you happy. It can, of course, make you miserable in style.

The difficulty here is that its so expensive (even now) to get on the property ladder that people have to take mortgages 4-5 times above their salaries just for a one bedroom flat

What we really need is a few months of everyone standing back and saying "but this is all a load of cobblers" and it would all fall down - but then the recession would just be worse

Karl Staib - Work Happy Now said...

Do I notice a little Yoda in your writing?

I love this simple wisdom that we all need to hear. When we don't live within our means and enjoy the simple pleasures that don't cost much money, we are missing out on the big picture.

CG Walters said...

....yes, wealth is contentment...irrelevant of financial position.
blessings and good fortune,

Buddha said...

@ Uku – The middle way!

@ A Goldberg – Great minds think alike :)

@ Ted – If I desire a better life or world peace or enlightenment is that good or bad desire?

@ Evelyn – I was looking for a word for ignorant desire “craving” seems to fit the shoe the best. Thank you for your comment!

@ Sandy – You are welcome!

@ Tamara – I rather be poor and safe than rich and stressed out!

@ Pixie – Success is measured in happiness not money. If only more people would understand that.

@ Karl – There is a little Yoda inside of all of us, if only we would listen to him :)

@ CG Walters – You can be wealthy without being rich but you can’t be rich without being wealthy.

Ted Bagley said...

To desire is to question the thing called "better life", "world peace", or "enlightenment" in the first place. Desire is of the other of the object said to be it.
Prohibition is seeing the thing for what it is not through language. Desire without prohibition is no desire at all but enJOYment which is to be driven without a thought of the thing. Funny that there is joy in the middle of it! Feeling forced to enjoy without question is called anxiety. Wanting to merely get rid of anxiety would be the ignorant view of desire.

Past and future are the interior/exterior of the present moment that is always moving and can never be isolated in language. So the present moment is never being lived, because it can't be described, but yet always followed.
Maybe there are three types of people but one of them is no one. The other two are just me and you and I often have wonder if you're really there at all.

C. Om said...

I like how T. Harv Eker said it when he said, "Simplify. Live below your means." And this guy is a multi-millionaire who wrote Secrets of the Millionaire Mind.

Awesome stuff here Buddha.

Brigit said...

Living beyond our means, seems to be an ailment we can all suffer from, regardless of how much money we have.

Through my work with Lifeline I have seen many people unable to pay their electricity bill, but continue to have use of their mobile phone, and paid TV. All due to the focus on having more, rather than having less. Good post.

The Clandestine Samurai said...

I believe it's "fighting to keep up with the Joneses.