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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, jgetz@ajc.com
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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