Wednesday, April 26, 2006

When Is A House Just Too Much?

Today's paper had an interesting article about some local homes for sale in the multi-million dollar range. (Today's title is a live link.) I'm all for people using the money that they earn for whatever purpose they choose--it's their money after all. But when do people simply have too much? What happens when you just can't spend all that you have, do you start building places like these? Can you truly rationalize wasting money to showcase your self-importance when you see what is going on elsewhere in the world (or even in your backyard)?

I think about some of the people I've known whose lives would be drastically changed with just a small amount of money. These people weren't deadbeats, or habitual makers-of-poor-choices. They were people who had a run of bad luck, or an illness or divorce, or just didn't quite make enough to keep the wolf from the door. The physical and mental stress from not having enough money takes a real toll. If they just had enough to pay off some unexpected bills, enough to pay for some medical needs that suddenly arose, enough to send their children to school for a year, enough to buy a reliable used car to get them to a much needed job...the list goes on. How many people could be helped by the money that went into building these homes?

I love my home, and I enjoy fixing it up so that it's a warm, comfortable place to be that reflects who we are to the outside world. I'm sure that these people do as well. And they likely give lots of money to charities of their choice. But the way that we consume sends a message to the rest of the world about us and our values. People who live in homes like this are sending a message, and it might not be the one they think they're sending.

There's nothing wrong with having a beautiful home. But when having a beautiful home bleeds over into creating a monument to yourself, you're not just building a mansion--you're building resentment.


Blogger Wildside Musing said...

Aiyee! Yikes! Thanks for the link, Lisa.

However, when I read your last line I feel very ashamed of myself... While I'm a bit of the "live and let live" type, I tend to be a "resenter" because I just don't understand the need for such big houses that often go unempty for most periods of the day! And make certain locations outside the realm of possibility for most. While I love the champagne life (and would love to live in a villa myself!), it just doesn't seem all that practical for us! Small house, small needs, possible to live simply and debt free. But old house, needs a lot of work... A contradiction that keeps us humble, perhaps!

7:29 AM  

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