I wish I was rich

betty ming liu Inspiration, Money 28 Comments

Over the last few months of subscribing to The Wall Street Journal, I’ve been reading the increasingly gloomy stories about the economy — and feeling increasingly rebellious. There’s gotta be a way out!

The news has been just awful. And since the Journal articles tend to be quite well-written, I read them from beginning to end.

The scariest point these pieces make is that the problems are not just in the U.S. The whole world is in trouble. And our troubles are here to stay.

I mull over these stories as a single working mom with a college-bound daughter. After seven years of teaching journalism at the university level, I am very much aware of how expensive tuition will be. But I try not to worry about juggling this huge new nut, paying the mortgage and saving for the future.  

By the way, I’m turning 56 this summer. Getting on the other side of 5-5 means the big 6-0 is around the corner. Suddenly, financial planning stories interest me as I contemplate old age issues. On that front, the Journal also offers plenty of downers. Check out this one:

The other day, I felt in need of some serious inspiration. So I bought an all-purpose pair of high heels. They will work with just about any dress, any occasion.  Plus, they’re really comfortable…if you don’t have to walk in them.

Price: $675. Yes, you read right. I still can’t believe I just bought my first and probably last pair of Christian Loutoutins, complete with the signature red soles. Don’t they look good sitting in my bathroom?

While this is a sick amount of money for footwear, I insist on tottering into the economic downturn looking really good. Besides, these high heels are a quality investment that will see me through many important events. 

But now I’m wondering why I am doing all this explaining about a pair of shoes. Did I need a reason to buy them?

I guess we’re getting to the real question: Is it really possible to do what I want, just because I feel like it? That’s not the way I was raised to behave!

Still, never too late to learn. Your thoughts?    :)  


Comments 28

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    Judy, these shoes don’t go on sale! And you know what? I bought the cheaper version. There was a gorgeous CL pump, same style, but with a slight platform. Really beautiful but even harder to walk in than these babies. P.S. — If you don’t want in them, they’re actually quite comfortable. That means just standing around a little or sitting with them on. How ridiculous.

    Christina, you have excellent taste. We both love shoes! I abandoned my obsession after my divorce. Didn’t feel I deserved to look that good, I guess. A form of punishing myself by denying myself. But I’m baaaack.

    Helen, you’d save a fortune if you traded in the horses for shoes. I will stick with the shoes. :)

    Taylor, yes. Shoes really do something for me. You all are really making me feel better about trusting my own instincts.

    Isha, thanks! Would love to catch up with you. xo

    Susan, I hear you have a thing for handbags. Maybe we can barter some time!!

    And Akiyo, you’ve got me full circle back to reality. I love you’re closing quote. Reminds me of what my former shrink would say when I would get upset at the idea of my mom dying some day (this was in the ’90s). She told me that my mom could die once or she could die every time I talk about her. So I will try not to worry obsessively about the bills and just go on living.

    Thanks to all of you for brightening my day and encouraging me to trust my instincts. xoxoxo

  2. You jumped into the deep end with those shoes!
    I’ve just been trying to consider the remote possibility of painting in Provence… It’s beginning to feel less remote (all my shoes are super cheap!)

  3. You’re crazy!!! Century21 bargain rack is my speed. Yet I applaud you and think it is nourishing to be extravagantly indulgent (if you’re able). I went to buy a souvenir silk thing in China thinking it would be something traditional, but while so beautiful, it wasn’t ‘me,’ & I finally bought two quite expensive (for me) designer pieces, in silk, a layered dress & a kind of interesting/ complicated asymmetrical shirt, extremely super-modern, which I will love as long as the fibers hold up, and be nourished by. So good for you, crazy person! Long may you kick (journalistic ass) in them!

  4. The Bible says that a rich man is one who is satisfied with his life.
    Comment about turning the big six-oh. Told my daughter that it was OK to say the “F” word about me, but not the “S” word.

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    Provence! Dorothy, do it! And believe me, I have plenty of cheap shoes too. Some of them are my favorites. I save shoes for years and years.

    Jill, I’ll bet you look gorgeous in your Chinese pieces. It sounds like you already love them because they remind you of such precious memories. Isn’t that what all these extravagances are about, in the end? Trying to hold on to the best of ourselves?

    Jenni, clearly I am not a rich man yet. But I am working on it. Thank you for the words of wisdom and truth. And 60? You???? I never would’ve guessed. I’ll be there with you soon. :)

  6. Betty: I came back to this thread this AM just to see what everyone else wrote on this interesting topic and I must say, you have really attracted a lot of smart, positive, upbeat people to your blog! Everyone had great comments. I especially agree with the comments about having faith in the rising generation. I regularly encounter amazing, creative wonderful young people who I know will make the world a better place.My own crew of adopted sons are the joy and light of my life. As for that sword of Damocles that hangs over all of us – as you mentioned – the fear of what COULD happen if something major goes wrong, we miss a couple of mortgage payments and our comfortable, middle class world falls apart – having more money does not alleviate that fear. Note there is no longer a Vanderbilt chateau on the corner of 5th Ave. where Bergdorf’s now stands. I once knew a man I considered fabulously rich. He owned formula one racing teams and built mansions in Florida as a hobby. His wife came down with cancer and it turned out he had never gotten health insurance. He was totally wiped out in 5 years. He died stone broke. His attitude was “well, I enjoyed it while I had it and thank God I had the money for the medical costs – couldn’t take it with me anyway.” He made the best of it, emotionally but the point is, no one is immune to disaster regardless of the bank account. Carpe Diem.

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    Toby, I have the most interesting, quality readers on this blog. Really, you all make this blog special. And as always, every comment added something to my understanding of the issue at hand. Your story about the guy who sunk all his money into his wife’s medical care — what an inspiring story. I guess in the end, we just have to live the way we want and own the consequences.

  8. Betty,
    Please excuse my late comments I was on vacation at Lake Powel. This reminds me on an excuse my dad wrote for me once…”Please excuse Brian from school he was undergoing PHISICAL THERAPY at SNOWBIRD SKI RESORT.”
    Durring my stay at Lake Powell I was cut off from ther internet, cell phones, all the things that “grab us” I had time to read all of my book, “The Three Decivers… how our obsession with Control, Ownership and Independence is destroying the Quality of our lives- by Richard Eyre” It was a great book written in a cleverway. After you read about the problem you flip the book over and learn the alternatives. I made the mistake of reading as much as I could find BEFORE my copy of the book arrived. this is one thing I was sorry for because I deprived myself of the chance of experience of learning and discovering on my own when it was time.
    I am convinced that Ownership is NOT a Paradigm on which to base our life and happiness. There is something much better which doesn’t have so many bad branches. There are so many bad brances of this tree which causes us to look at otheres and ourself by what we own. Envy, condensnsion, helplesness, and even fear of our future. It is all based upon a LIE for what do we really own? All the earth is owned by God, we are just Stewards. Apparently we have lost sight of this.
    Why else would our economies be failing? Has the earth failed to bring forth abundance? I think if we stop doing incredibly stupid things things will be better. One thing I find amusing about articles like this is that it confuseses macro-economicss and micro-economics. Is our money is not based on Gold or Silver but accounts and balances. These are totally out of control. This position was not an accidental occurance but by design. The people of the US and Europe are at a cross-roads. Do we accept unfair trade relations with China or do we cut them offf ? The idea that opening trade with China would open new markets has not happened. All that has happened is they are opened a kind of economic warfare. In the next few months we can stop all of this bad stuff from hapening I think by making leadership changes in this country.

  9. Akyio,
    I found your comments most refrshing!
    “My daughter is in private college for last few years, and two more years of suffering for me. I know that well about financial difficulty. Many asked, how can you do that all by your self? I said, I do not even know, really. ”
    The answer to your question is “The riddle of the Jars”.
    The riddle of the jars
    How do you put three large rocks in a jar half full of sand?
    Solution: You place the the rocks in the jars FIRST before the sand is added.
    You have implimanted a Paradigm shift based on this fact. You have decided that important issues (such as your daughters schooling) need to be resolved first. Great Job!

  10. Betty,
    Believe it or not I don’t own any shoes. I do have lots of boots and sandals. I thought i paid a lot for my last pair ( http://www.rei.com/product/721359/vasque-wasatch-gtx-hiking-boots-mens ) Of course the height of fasion is to have five toes on each foot. Come to think of it I have two pair of shoes. A pair of leather dress shoes and some climbing shoes I had costum made by Mecham Boot. I mave one foot bigger than the other so I had them costum made.

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