Until very recently, personal finances were a very simple thing: You worked.
Sometimes you worked for money, sometimes you worked for a product. If you needed something you couldn’t make, you bought it. If you needed to buy something you couldn’t afford, you got a loan through a bank.
Perhaps our lives would be improved if these basic concepts were still the norm, but the 20th century gave us a global system so pervasive it can’t be ignored:
We consume. Sometimes we consume products, sometimes we consume services. First, we must work to enable someone higher up the chain to consume. If we want to consume more than we can, we either invest in other forms of consumption, or we get loans from any number of lenders.
We are too familiar with the symptoms of this new system: materialism, workaholism, thankless jobs, foreclosures, crippling debt, over-speculation… and a financial meltdown.
But we are not powerless against the tide of economic forces. When we rationally manage our cash flow, we can retain that timeless control of our lives and our property.
See how important it is to manage your money?
Most citizens of the United States are skeptical of Large Powerful Institutions, and rightfully so. But many of us are more than willing to hand over our economic lives to them in the name of credit card debt.
Wanna know how to “stick it to the man”? Pay off your credit card.
And when you do, you also help your neighbor— lenders collapsed in 2008 because of the absurd debt they encouraged. Less debt in the system means it can give loans to responsible debtors in need… and everyone thrives.
Gordon Gekko claimed that “greed is good”, but today’s mantra is “greed is everything”. Watch the conspicuous consumption on your television to see what financial responsibility is up against.
But you have a choice. You are not a mindless consumer, under the constant influence of marketing and societal pressure. You are an intelligent creature capable of self-control.
A bumper sticker claims that “he who dies with the most toys wins”. But toys break, funerals are expensive, and in the end you’re dead regardless.
Make it easy on yourself: Keep your finances in the black.
Anyway: my name is Alexander Carl. I am a recent graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where I spent four blissful years earning a degree in Communication Studies. Now I face the real world of economic downturns, student loans, and the absence of “academic” camaraderie.
Yet I refuse to be bummed. My economic philosophy is to live simply, save, and maximize whatever I can. Consumer culture is undeniably pervasive, but you don’t have to sell your soul to co-exist with it— there is great power from using your economic resources wisely.
I started writing when I figured out how to hold a pencil. Since then I’ve written short stories, poetry, screenplays, and have blogged. In fact, three of my screenplays have been produced into short films, two of which I directed. I’m no stranger to the media, having served as a DJ at a freeform radio station and worked as a crew member for live TV.
Pastimes include traveling (I’ll visit virtually anywhere), swimming, jogging, hiking, and hunkering down with a good movie.
Overall I’m a peaceful person, though not in a creepy New Agey way. I get my energy from music, good conversation, and the outdoors (I was an active Boy Scout, earning my Eagle). I consider myself “inquisitive” and “wry”, and for the sake of autobiography I’ll assume that I am.