We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
My first business mentor was well on his way up the ladder. One day we are driving to do a "dog and pony" show and he gets this wistful look. "Money is the worst drug. You can never have enough. What ever promotion you get you grow into it and get use to it fast and you always need more." (it's also the choice at a certain level of missed birthdays and no life outside work for the chance of more). Then he told me about an old friend in New Orleans who was unexpectedly hoboed. Envy entered his expression and also pitty. His friend had come into a huge windfall, set for life, so he asked his friend "what happened?" and his friend said "I spent it on drugs, cars and women. Guess I wasted the rest." He also told me to save for a rainy day, because if it isn't made a priority you expand into your income (never enough) and never get around to it. Amazing coming from this guy who was only not just like his hobo friend because he had a fierce wife.
A co-worker advised me: "People don't save enough. Then they have to eat too much ****."
Lord Byron said "Ready money is Aladdin's lamp." The lesson for me is that "ready money" is money in store for really important emergencies. There's never enough money if you can't figure out what's important, or if you can't learn how to manage risk.
The trick isn't to maximize income so much as to live within one's means, whatever the means happen to be.
I have a minor in marketing and we used to alway talk about how we needed to find a product and create an emotional need for the product, hair care, body oder, new boat, newest look in clothing, which at the time in the 1970's went totally wonky.
Create a need and then fulfill the need all about perceived status, emotional well being and a lot of other shit that had nothing to do with having enough decent shelter, food, clean water and some medical care when things go wrong.
We, in the first world countries live so fare beyond all that could have been wished for 100 years when my parents were youngsters watching their friends die from influenza.
As posted on the Veblen item:
Because true, basic needs are met easily in the West, social status is divorced from real virtue/character/achievement, which are no longer necessary for survival. This has led to a culture of narcissism and false victimhood that was intolerable throughout most if history.
Remember that every time you see "designer" jeans that look like rags, and "sustainable" eating habits that are anything but.