There was a feature on CNN recently that talked about something called “loud budgeting.” It is apparently the phrase that has become the antithesis of quiet luxury or opulence, an approach to spending that is far too commonly embraced when it comes to overindulgent Americans.
There is certainly nothing new about the concept of living within your means, even if it is preached far more than practiced. But there was something refreshing about the notion of practicality spoken as being en vogue in terms of personal finances. It sounded like a vigorous declaration of more meaningful direction to unapologetically opt for moderation.
The younger generation of Americans, with all of their education and street sense, is considered by experts to be one of the most financially illiterate and fiscally dysfunctional in quite a while. Much of that undoubtedly is due to the overwhelming influence of Madison Avenue advertising and the lust for excess that results from status symbols.
A particular designer name in everything from jewelry to clothing to household appliances to unnecessary creature comforts, unfortunately, signified social standing and relevance for too many in recent years. It wasn’t enough to purchase a sound and reliable thing. In the minds of many, it had to be attached to a recognizable brand.
The obvious result was a society swathed in unnecessary debt, as far too many were hopelessly obsessed with keeping up with the Joneses. So they would buy a luxury car or SUV, as opposed to a reliable and moderately attractive vehicle that suited all of their transportation needs. So the cycle of indulgence is self-perpetuating.
“Loud budgeting” enables people to say shamelessly that they don’t need to impress you or anyone else; that they will practice more purchasing according to needs, tastes and moderation.
Think of the relief of the stress that accompanied being satisfied in your own skin without the unceasing thrust for affirmation. A two-dollar coffee is just as stimulating as the one you stand in line to purchase for six dollars!
One of the benefits of a new approach to budgeting will be the possibility of learning to accumulate wealth.
Even if you’re not that far from minimum wage and the objectives to make ends meet in an increasingly demanding economy, opting for more reasonably priced items should bring immediate benefits, even if savings are in small quantities at the start. This is not just a philosophy for the affluent.
Those who are considered middle class should immediately benefit from this new budgeting attitude. A few extra dollars and cents each payday can translate into savings and investments. That extra cash can be transformed into rainy day funds that make working-class people less vulnerable to unplanned fiscal emergencies that can be chaotic and sometimes devastating.
Generational wealth is a concept Black Americans need to be more purposeful in implementing in the household and family structure.
Making ends meet should not be a goal, it should reflect minimal expectations at the beginning of the financial process, and not the culmination. Passing the hat at a funeral, or desperately reaching out for assistance to meet living needs is a past we should be moving away from intentionally.
Stocks, bonds, CDs, IRAs, high-level savings, and prudent investments should more commonly become conversation among generations.
This is the start of 2024 and potentially the genesis for change that can positively impact unborn generations. No matter if you are in the younger generation, at your midway point professionally, approaching retirement, or dealing with a fixed income, “loud budgeting” helps at every level.
In addition to your individual practices, advance this revolutionary concept through your churches, educational institutions, neighborhood and civic groups, fraternities and sororities, and professional organizations. Let’s be deafening in sounding the need for “loud budgeting” and reverberate our potential for seismic financial change!
CIRCLE CITY CONNECTION by Vernon A. Williams is a series of essays on myriad topics that include social issues, human interest, entertainment and profiles of difference-makers who are forging change in a constantly evolving society. Williams is a 40-year veteran journalist based in Indianapolis, IN – commonly referred to as The Circle City. Send comments or questions to: [email protected].