How Much Stuff

“ And when you die, have everything buried with you. If the next wife wants it, make her dig. I’m going to have a mausoleum. More closet space.” – Joan Rivers

What do you have? What do you ‘collect?’ What do you keep?

The now deceased comedian George Carlin did a routine about our, ‘stuff.’ He talked about it all in a humorous fashion but the truth is our ‘things’ matter… to us.

What do you have in material things? Your home, your furniture, your car, your art works, your jewelry, your clothes. They all tell something about you, what matters to you, and who you are.


Certainly, the place you live in tells what kind of person you are and your state of finances. This is also a sign of the type of people around you who are in the same class and speak the same language and have similar life styles and experiences.

There are people who live ‘below’ their means and like that. They perhaps grew up there or just feel comfortable surrounded by people who are a bit different from them. Where you live determines where you meet others, usually where your children go to school and so on.

Some, and this is perhaps a large group, live ‘above’ their means. They are ascribing to a ‘better’ life for themselves and their children. Some just like to have others think well of them and this is a means to that end. Many end up in debt and others forfeit their dreams and have sorry ends as a result. Some go to extremes and often ill-gotten or illegal ways to fund their life style.

How you furnish your ‘place’ also sends a message. In years past, families collected beautiful antique pieces, and lovely table ware and silver for entertaining. Today young people want minimalistic everything. Ikea, straight simple lines, and bland colors are the norm. Not many people are throwing dinner parties with imported china, Baccarat crystal, and sterling silver flatware. It all needs attention of which they have little interest or time for.

Recently, I attended a talk by one of the country’s leading auction house personnel. He was very emphatic stating that your children will not get anything for all those beautiful antiques you spent a lifetime collecting. No one wants them!! So, you just enjoy them….

Cars show the outside world what you can afford. Strangers can take notice. On the Internet and Facebook many guys are showing their cars. It’s a way to impress some females. Again…can they afford them or is it a debt they really can’t afford?

Jewelry is a biggy for females and also for a certain group of males. It is in your face!

Clothes used to tell a lot about you but today that’s not the case. Blue jeans, shorts, tee shirts and so on are de rigueur for the whole world. Wearing and displaying a designer’s name is often the case. Wearing cute sayings on your shirt is common. Today only women usually know when another woman is wearing an expensive dress or shoes!

Collecting art, books, rare items, antiques, and so on still goes on but it is for the owner’s pleasure and usually not as an investment except in very few cases.

Then, how much do we need or in this case, want? Up to the individual. How much can be used? All very personal questions.

When it comes to ‘stuff’ in relationships, that’s where it can get sticky.

Your ‘stuff,’ versus my, ‘stuff.’ What is OUR money spent on?

He wants sports tickets or memorabilia. He wants electronics. She wants clothes, and a vacation. And so on.

Who decides. Maybe take turns? ‘There are many arguments and even breakups because of all of this.

Many couples end up in huge credit card debt with all this going on.

Everyone wants what they want; when they want it. The mature have to learn discipline and financial responsibility and fiscal information.

Maybe the best stuff is a good education and money invested wisely.

How often do we read about famous people; sports figures, movie stars, and so on who have made fortunes and either squandered it all or had people take advantage of them? How many have found that the money and ‘stuff’ didn’t bring them happiness and they turned to drugs and so on?

Handling money is a big responsibility and like everything else in life it takes knowledge and experience. Again, we don’t teach any of this in schools for the general public.

Perhaps being and attracting intelligent, creative people is the best ‘accumulation’ in the end.

But don’t get me wrong; it all takes money!

Not sure I agree with this but here it is;

“Happiness consists not in having much, but in being content with little.” – Marguerite Gardiner

What do you own? Can you afford it? What do you still want?


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