Articles are available for reprint as long as the author is acknowledged: Domenick J. Maglio Ph.D.

Wednesday, December 02, 2015


By Domenick J. Maglio PhD. Traditional Realist

Americans have become a consumer credit economy. Everyday there is a new credit card offered in the mail. Some are preauthorized so even children have been given the opportunity to possess their own credit card as well as the family dog. Retired people are bombarded to use their home as a large credit card by getting a reverse mortgage. One out of eight retirees are using their savings to exist day to day.

The Fiscal Times, on April 26, 2015 reported that “44% of Americans are either in debt, have no savings at all, or only have enough savings to tide them over for three months…” One fifth of Americans have no savings at all while wages are stagnant or falling.

Yet people continue to buy with a vengeance. “Black Friday,” holiday and Thursday sales and incessant advertising are driving people to buy what they do not need or necessarily want. This often leads to people wasting their future earnings on impulse purchases. Enticing gimmicks are effective in motivating people to spend money they do not have. Putting oneself in debt unfortunately is becoming the “American Way.”

In our consumer economy, savings have become obsolete. Modern people want to enjoy life now not wait to develop a “cushion” before purchasing anything they want including outrageously expensive luxury items. “Live for today and May tomorrow be damned,” can be the bumper sticker for our economy’s philosophy. Spending money that one does not have is flirting with future disaster.

Humans have free will. They can be productive or can be lazy allowing others to provide what the individual needs or wants. Those who choose to be takers can take advantage of family, friends or learn to play the government system. They exploit every government program by faking every ailment known to the medical field. This welfare mentality is approaching 50% of the population. These are choices that will determine a person’s future lifestyle and strength of character.  Users of the system lessen their options and limit their potential earnings.

A go-getter sets himself on the opposite path. He wants to be self-reliant and does not want to be beholding to anyone. Everything he earns comes from his own effort.  Productive individuals have less time to think about buying things. They are more focused on the business at hand.  With less time to focus on material objects the urge to spend is secondary to completing their short-term objective, which is to finish the project at hand. The long-term goal is usually not about accumulating money; rather it is about doing their mission in life. This focus is about doing something that makes a difference in their world.

A person who wants to make his own mark in life has to constantly think about meeting his responsibilities. This person delays immediate gratification to obtain long-term goals. Sacrificing pleasurable experience for the sake of reaching a future goal takes discipline usually taught by parents. This value of earning what you want is an indicator of maturity.

There are some short-term benefits in living for the moment. A person does not have the psychological pressure and anxiety to complete a checklist of actions done in a certain amount of time. Cavalierly buying expensive toys, various symbols of affluence and body enhancement procedures that might impress others make some feel great for the moment. However, they are building a financial time bomb that affects all aspects of a person’s life: long-term debt.
A person in debt often has to deal with embarrassment when people discover that he is living beyond his means. Bankruptcy leaves many others in its wake, shafted of what is owed them. Although the stigma of living in extreme debt has lessened, it still impacts the character of the person.
Instant gratification is a parental strategy to appease the child for the moment. Excessive giving to a child whatever he wants whenever he wants it develops a self-absorbed slacker. This scenario produces an entitlement child enabled by a protective and exhausted parent who is attempting to sustain a false reality that their child will always have what he wants. This leaves the child believing he can always have whatever he wants without effort.

It is the responsibility of the parent to promote the child being independent. The more the child does for himself the more skills and good habits he has learned. This training puts the child on the right track to successfully deal with reality, while the overindulged child becomes more or less delusional.

The delusional entitlement mentality takes hold leaving the individual to believe that saving for a nest egg is not necessary since someone or the government will bail him out of the mess he created. For too many adults their parents usually die before they do. Even if they receive an inheritance it quickly slips through their fingers.

These unrealistic people finally realize there is no one including him to finance his addicted consumerism. They have hit the wall of reality. When they understand to get what they want, they have to at least partially join the producers or have little to nothing.

Domenick Maglio, PhD. is a columnist carried by various newspapers, an author of several books and owner/director of Wider Horizons School, a college prep program. You can visit Dr. Maglio at


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