Wednesday, January 13, 2010

A Lesson from the Recession: Getting back to the basics

Article by Jonathan Milligan

I am not a big fan of watching TV commercials. In fact, commercials are the reason I love to record programs so that I can watch my favorite shows in almost half the time. However, lately I have been drawn to the AllState commercials talking about the need for Americans to go “back to the basics.” I actually commend them for speaking to the heart of where most Americans live today. In an age where our attention is dominated by the latest infomercials, innovative products and automobile advertisements (that somehow come across 3 times louder), it is refreshing to be reminded about how people were still happy before all these things came to be.

Generations are shaped by certain major events that happen in their lifetime. The Builder generation (those born between 1920-1950) were shaped by the Great Depression, World War II, and rural lifestyles. They are known for being frugal, loyal, patriotic and hard workers. Isn’t it interesting that much of the financial advice that we covet today is sound advice offered by our Grandparents? If my generation is guilty of anything, it is guilty of trying to acquire the same financial status in a few short years that took our Grandparents a lifetime to build.

My sincere hope is that we will not forget the lessons we have learned over the last two years from this recession. Things will eventually pick back up (they always seem to do), but this recession will leave us with two important questions:

* Will we be any different?
* Will it be business as usual?

My new passion in life is to firmly embed in my memory the value of saving, investing wisely, making good money choices, and living a frugal life. Isn’t that what being a good steward really is supposed to be anyways? Isn’t it all God’s to begin with?

May each of us never forget that our happiness is not tied to a house, a car, season tickets, the expensive vacations, or brand name clothing. True happiness is found in the simple things in life that we pass over each day.

As I sat around the kitchen table last evening and played Monopoly with my family, I had a big smile on my face because there was no place in the world that I would rather want to be. I leave you with the principles shared in the AllState commercial…

May we never forget:

* That who is around your TV for the big game is more important than how big it is
* That the most memorable vacations can easily happen 10 feet from your front door (playing in the yard with your kids)
* Cars are not for showing for how far we have come, but for taking us where we want to go.
* The truth is that the best things in life do not cost much at all.

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