Today I want to take the focus off corporate greed and bring it back to you and me: the general public, the consumers, the people who have the power, collectively, to stand up and tell the corporate monster what we want.
I have to admit something to you.
It’s been a long time coming and I think it’s time that I shared this with you before it gets out of hand: I, Annie, your intrepid blogger, am a fan of BBC real estate programme, Escape to the Country.
Yes, at twenty-two years old I love watching newly retired couples trek around some of the most remote areas of the UK to find big country houses in idyllic settings. I was ecstatic last week to see an episode on the BBC iPlayer that was in County Down, in Northern Ireland, my home county, around the Mourne Mountains. This evening I found myself with some spare time on my hands and have ended up watching an episode in which the couple are looking for a big country home in the Cotswold’s, a beautiful part of England.
However, the really interesting part of this programme is always the couple’s budget; and today’s? £1,000,000. I kid you not.
My family lived in Finland for a year when I was wee: four years old, to be exact. We moved over because my Dad got a job there. It was in an office (not something he enjoyed too much), and he told me an interesting story once. A lot of the guys in my Dad’s office were Finnish but there were some other people from the UK. One day one of them boasted to the Finns that he lived in a barn conversion. The Finns looked at him, puzzled, having no idea why this was such a big deal. The boss and owner of the company, also a Finn, made a pretty sweet salary, it turns out, but lived in a small apartment.
Keep in mind that I don’t know what Finland is like now, it might be entirely different or entirely the same, but back in 1994 at least Finnish people didn’t care too much about having massive houses or fancy cars; they spent their money on what they needed, not all the extravagant things they could waste it on.
We keep buying and buying more and more things but the age old truth that money doesn’t buy happiness still rings true. My Dad no longer works in an office because, while we had a nice amount of money, it didn’t make him happy. He was always travelling and just wanted to be at home with his family; he was and still is a great Dad, and is doing a job he genuinely enjoys.
I’ve learnt some good lessons about money from both my parents: when it comes to buying clothes I only do it a few times a year and buy good quality items that won’t fall to pieces after a few months, I consider my purchases before I make them, I eat out as little as possible, I only buy what I need. I’m not perfect at handling money but I don’t take it for granted, as well as fully understanding its value, and wish every other twentysomething I knew was the same.
I wish that the whole world could learn these lessons, could realise that the things they spend their money on are generally pretty futile. This brings us back to the same conclusion as last weeks post: if we only took what we needed then everyone would have enough, and maybe this would start to make the corporations think about what they did with their money.