Here is another article that caught my imagination. As I read this I could not believe what I was reading. Why do people have to be told these things? We have been saving for retirement for quite some time. We keep our cars for at least 10 years. We did not build the biggest house we could have qualified for (although it will be paid for in 2 years). We do not have to have everything – every new gadget, fashion, or trendy experience to be happy. We do not have to give the appearance of affluence to be affluent (whatever that really means). At the same time we do not deny ourselves very much. Perhaps I would define this as being realistic and living realistically. Setting proper expectations is the key to happiness. I’m sorry but the problems we currently face with the mortgage meltdown and financial collapse is primarily a manifestation of having unrealistic expectations. We have taken a huge and hopefully short lived hit to our savings as a result of the excessive lifestyles, unrealistic expectations, and outright greed of others, but I know we will be alright. I can’t say the same for everyone else because I think they believe they deserve more than they will ultimately obtain from the future. There is a bigger collapse looming than the current market crisis, it is a return to reality from this fantasy many of our neighbors are living. As I drive to work each morning I often wonder how these neighbors of mine afford to keep up the appearance that they strive to uphold. Now that the housing bubble has burst somewhat (I say somewhat since the valuations here have not changed much, only the growth has slowed a bit) we have an opportunity to examine our role in this calamity. I suspect few will take the opportunity to do so but rather bemoan that they are being denied their rights.