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Thanksgiving and Financial Health

Jim Garnett Jim Garnett is the CEO of AskMrG Consulting, a company focused on helping Americans gain control of their finances and get on a path to being debt free. Jim is also the "Mr. G" behind the AskMrG Financial Library and brings over 30 years experience as a counselor, speaker, and author to each endeavor. You can reach Jim at: AskMrG Consulting, 2216 SW 35th Street Ankeny, IA 50023; 515-577-1799, askmrg@yahoo.com

There is a very real sense in which Thanksgiving can have a direct bearing on our financial health. What is the link between the two? Being thankful for what we have is an attitude that results in living within our means.

Think about it. Is it not true that a spirit of discontentment will prompt us to always keep spending? That certainly describes many American families whose attitude seems to be “Never Enough!” That attitude leads to an action – get more! Getting more requires spending more. Could that be the reason the average American family spends 14% more than it earns?

Maybe this Thanksgiving Season is a good time to turn our Thanksgiving into “Thanks-Living?” Here are a couple of suggestions of how to do that.

First, imagine that tragedy strikes today and you lose everything you have. All your possessions are burned up in a fire and destroyed. You have no clothes, no house, no TV, no food, no money, and no keepsakes! Everything you have is taken away!

Now imagine that the next day, all of that which was taken away is now given back to you! Can you sense the amazing thrill of appreciation and thanksgiving you would experience? How happy you would be to have what he had before! The point is obvious. We ought to be that happy and appreciative to have what we have to begin with! If we were appreciative and content, we would not constantly be on a quest to have more. Contentment would replace complaining.

Secondly, take a trip to visit someone who has less than you do. It might be across the world, across town, or across the street. Whenever we can see those who have less than we do, it makes us appreciate what we have.

One of my sons recently visited Zambia, Africa, with a church group to provide housing for the poor people there. They constructed for each family a small concrete block room complete with tin roof, dirt floor, no electricity and no plumbing. He said the extended families that live in each house wake up each morning, brush the dirt off themselves, then spread out to find enough food to eat for that day.

I asked him if it were drepressing to see such poverty up close and personal. His reply surprised me: “I thought it was going to be depressing, but after a day or two, I concluded that these Zambians were, in fact, the happiest people I had ever met!” Then he said, “What’s wrong with us?” I had no answer.

So, I ask you dear reader, if people can be content who live with so little, can’t we be content who live with so much? Maybe it is not “more stuff” that makes us happy?

The bottom line is that being thankful can affect our “bottom line.” Being thankful for what we have brings contentment, and contentment results in living within our means. Living within our means creates financial health.

Since most attitudes are a matter of choice, why not choose to turn your Thanksgiving into a year-’round spirit of Thanks-Living. It will be good for your pocketbook!

This entry was posted in Financial Planning, Inspirational. Bookmark the permalink. Read more articles by Jim Garnett. (Also see articles by all authors and articles in all categories.)

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