My frugal friend and faithful reader Angie sent me a link for a fabulous website. It’s actually the companion site to a PBS documentary entitled Affluenza. Angie said she caught the tail end of the show on television recently and thought I’d be interested. Unfortunately, I missed seeing the show, but the website is full of lots of fascinating information about how Americans live.
According to the website, this is the definition of Affluenza:
Af-flu-en-za n. 1. The bloated, sluggish and unfulfilled feeling that results from efforts to keep up with the Joneses. 2. An epidemic of stress, overwork, waste and indebtedness caused by dogged pursuit of the American Dream. 3. An unsustainable addiction to economic growth. 4. A television program that could change your life.
So if, after reading the definition of affluenza, you’re still wondering if you suffer from it, you can take this quiz. Fortunately, I am not showing any signs of the disease, but I think I’ll try to find the documentary at my local library just to make sure I don’t get it.
The website has a lot of disturbing statistics about America’s debt load and spending habits. I can only imagine that the numbers have worsened since the documentary was filmed in the 1990s.
I was cheered by one statistic that I found on the site: “Eighty-six percent of Americans who voluntarily cut back their consumption feel happier as a result. Only 9 percent said they were less happy. (Reported in 1995) In 1996, 5 percent of the “baby boom” generation reported practicing a strong form of voluntary simplicity. By the year 2000, some predict this number will rise to 15 percent. “
I hope that the number of people living a simpler lifestyle starts to climb even higher. Life is better when you control your finances instead of them controlling you. Life is better when know you are prepared for whatever life hands you.