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I am a Teacher

October 26, 2011

What or whom do you love most in your life?

What is your relationship to that person or thing?

Write down your answers now.


Our capitalist, independent society often puts money first. We are conditioned by the media to buy, consume and spend money. Before the economic meltdown, most of us enjoyed living large. It was the era of “McMansions” and supersized cars. We were addicted to getting the newest gadgets, to brand-name fashion, our Starbucks coffee, etc. Our paychecks go toward paying our credit card bills with nothing left over. Or some of us spent more than we earned and went into debt. Then, the housing and stock market crashed. Reality hit us in the face so we started to blame the big corporations, the government, etc. What we need to do is to look at our habits. Do we live within our budgets or overspend? Do we buy things that we don’t need? I love The Story of Stuff. Go to:

I am grateful that my parents taught me to save and invest my money at a young age. My father introduced my sisters and me into the concept of making our money work for us (passive income or paying ourselves first).  He explained how mutual funds work (don’t put all your eggs in one basket) and the benefits of long-term investment. I listened to his advice, saving 5-10% of what I earned and putting that into building my “nest egg”. After over 20 years of doing so, I now have a “financial cushion” to support me in this tough economy. I am debt free and proud of it. Are you in debt? If so, try to pay it off as soon as possible. There is a Chinese proverb that says “The chill is in the wind and poverty is in your debt”. My mother shared many Chinese proverbs with me and I thank her for being an example of frugality for me. Before it is hip to live simply and be frugal, she was reusing things, re-gifting new unwanted items, etc.  


Are you stressed about your finances? Has the economy made you re-think your spending habits? Have you cut back on certain things? Write down your answers now.

Ingrid Cheng

Author of Dream: Creating a Better World (How Yoga Changed My Life)

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