Tomorrow is always a day away. That was a popular theme over the last 15 years or so as many individuals adopted a mindset of living for the moment. As everyone knows, the bill came due. But the means to pay for it never materialized, whether it was the big promotion or the job change or the side business never started up.
Now behavior is changing. Saving and financial responsibility is the thing to do. Planning for a year from now isn’t good enough, you have to go ten years out. The last time people have thought like this as a mass group it was the Great Depression generation. But I’m not completely sold that this is a financial scar or simply a bad bruise.
There is a love/hate relationship with discipline. You feel good for pushing yourself to accomplish something that is difficult. But some relief is needed as a kind of reward for the dedication to begin with. John Tierney in the NY Times wrote a piece called Oversaving, A Burden for Our Times. The theme of the writing is how there is guilt associated with deviating from the discipline but that guilt fades if the activity, event, or purchase was worth it and memorable. But withholding some deserved reward creates an anxiety.
We are such a goal oriented society that sometimes the goal takes on weight in our lives that is disproportionate. This is the death bed realization type of stuff. I feel this is the seminal value change that is occurring. Just like how the Great Depression inspired saving and discipline, this crises will generate not goals, but dreams.