“If I knew I was going to live this long, I'd have taken better care of myself.”
The words from the legendary baseball player Mickey Mantle though in a joking spirit to his medical ailments that were partially a result of his carousing youth. However, perhaps our carousing self is something that's within us when we were scavenging the plain and survival was uncertain.
That's partially the premise of a Washington Post story (registration required) on Why We Borrow Until it Hurts According to investing guru Jason Zweig:
"When people borrow and spend money, it's really the reward centers of the brain that become activated," Zweig said. "When you borrow money, you are thinking not about the long-term consequences but the short-term result: You have more cash in your pocket. The pain you are going to experience down the road of having to pay -- that's in the future, it's remote, it's abstract."
Sounds sort of how we treat our environment, and it's our desire for more that leads to our debt both financially and ecologically. In the article there is another line that strikes a cord "Through it all, whether on Wall Street or Main Street, our brains were focused on gain and oblivious to risk. That needs to change."
Amen brother. Like Mickey, chances are we're hanging around for awhile.