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Posted: 6:00 a.m. Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Simplicity movement has changed over time

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Panhandling in Atlanta photo
Jason Getz,
In this file photo, Pedestrians walk by several homeless people hanging out at Woodruff Park during the hour Tuesday afternoon in Atlanta.

By Clark Howard

I first talked about the Simplicity movement some 15 or 20 years ago on the show.

The movement is defined by a belief that we live in a consumer society and we create anxiety and stress by how we live and what we buy. And that our whole lifestyle requires a radical rethink.

Well, there's been a real morphing of the movement over time.

A person I know who was a pioneer in the movement made so much money through it that she now lives a nice life! She doesn't borrow money, but she lives a comfortable life after so many years of sacrifice.

It reminds me of caller I had on the show who saved so much that he reached the point where his wife was like, "When are we gonna do something with all this money?" I said, "She's right. Loosen up and spend some of that money." He was devastated that I gave that advice. But it was the right advice.

Remember, everything has natural limits. Many times we can't see the limits. You need to think things through: Are you spending too much? Saving to a fault? Are you thinking about the overall picture?

At the other extreme of the Simplicity movement you have people living off of others. There are a lot of names for this lifestyle, the most popular being freegans.

I saw a story about a family living without money for two years. They were just living off the kindness of others. That to me does not sound like creating financial independence; it sounds like the ultimate in financial dependence.

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