This sounds like a stupid questions but when you finish reading this, you will understand why I am asking it.
Let me start by saying: Obviously, we are all Producers and Consumers because we all produce (we work, we help others) and we all consume (we eat, we buy stuff, we read).
Both are necessary for our existence. Lets move from that view and lets try to put a personal finance view on it so we can better understand why I ask this.
Financial Independence is all about producing more than what you consume, easy as that.
If you earn $100 a day but spend $150, you are consuming more than what you are producing; in the long run if you continue this behavior, you will not become financially independent.
The media and companies are all producers and their goal is to make money (there is nothing wrong with that). We consume whatever they sell (there is nothing wrong with that).
What is the problem?
We want to become financially independent but we do not know how to play the game!
We complain that companies are getting richer and the people that own those companies are getting richer but those companies are not forcing us to buy anything. At the same time, they are selling you something that you consider valuable because you are paying for it.
We spend all the money in stuff we don't need while companies take all the money we spend on them and reinvest it to make more money. Why don't we do the same?
Do you need to buy:
- that larger apartment with 3 rooms if you only need 2.
- all that junk food
- that 60" flat TV that was at discount on a Black Friday
- that new BMW that your friend has
You don't. And the thing is that you are buying stuff you don't need by trading your life for money. Think if the cost of all those hours you worked to buy all that crap. You are basically giving your life away and making someone else rich.
But we need to buy all that stuff to have fun!
This is where psychology kicks in (and I am no psychologist).
I used to spend all the money on crap and useless and sometimes I still do make a lot of emotional purchases, we are all humans.
We need to start differentiating between the things that really make us happy and the things that are emotional purchases that are taking our life away.
We also have to start setting priorities straight. We all say we want to retire but we don't do anything about it.
Is retiring really a goal? Is becoming financially free really a goal? Where is our focus to do that? Where is our obsession to accomplish that goal? Actions speak louder than words!
We prefer watching TV and being socially accepted by people that don't even care about us than being able to retire or live freely.
And I am not against buying nice things. But remember that when we spend money on those things we are 1) exchanging our lives for that thing 2) exchanging $$ investment returns we could make if we invested that money 3) selling our lives to someone else.
The main message I want to share today is: We can win the game! Don't give up your money so easily! Your money is basically time of your life you gave away.
In order to be disciplined about this I always look at this: I gave up two days of my life to buy this. Is it worth it?
Hope this helps!