While sitting in the queue to pay the toll for the Bay Bridge Monday, I heard two great counterintuitive pieces on KQED.
The first was a thoughtful comparison between our quality of life now compared to the distant past. It is a true and important comparison and a nice reminder of how great our lives really are in modern times.
“A Very Rich Man” KQED Perspective:
The second was a nice piece by NPR’s Morning Edition which sought to answer the question of why Americans have built up so much personal debt in the past 20 years. I liked this part: for some, debt it good. Debt is not always an evil thing.
In my case, I know that my income will be considerably higher in a few years than it is now. As exemplified by the example in the story, it would make little sense for me to save money now given my limited income.
“Why Do We Borrow So Much?” Morning Edition Story:
I used to believe this and it led me to make grave money mistakes.
It usually comforts me to think about how much poorer other people are/have been than me. And conversely makes me feel awful to think about how much more money/status other people have than me.
The exception would be when I realise that feeling better by considering others who have it worse is tantamount to gloating.