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The hustle and bustle of the holiday season is here. From Thanksgiving to New Year’s there seems to be a non-stop push to engage in retail therapy. For some it is all part of the fun of the season. However, for others it is the beginning of a financial quagmire that ends in a mountain of debt.

There is no doubt that Americans have embraced the psychology of consumption. More is always better and the acquisition of things is a major part of life. A comparison of today’s Americans to those who lived 55 years ago reveals that our present day citizens have twice as many cars and eat out more than we did in the past. Instead of an increased sense of accomplishment and well being, seems to be more discontent, which has led to a greater risk of depression.

How can individuals fight this high level of consumerism that has invaded our lives? Consumerism is said to be fed by a deep sense of insecurity. The remedy requires more mindfulness in our lives. Those with less materialistic values seem to have greater satisfaction and experience more positive emotions from day to day. Essentially, when individuals are filled with greater satisfaction they tend to not participate in making as many impulse purchases to fill the void.

Less life satisfaction is not the only potential problem with a consumerist worldview. The tendancy to spend more money than is on hand can lead to financial trouble. Whether you have fallen victim to consumerism or have suffered through hard times, both scenarios can lead to mountains of debt. A mountain of debt can leads to its own issues of self esteem. There is hope. Bankruptcy is one viable option to manage debt. A bankruptcy attorney can help one sort through the legal options, and aid in determining what might be the best one for any particular set of circumstances.

Source:, “The Psychology of Materialism, And Why It’s Making You Unhappy,” Carolyn Gegoire, December 15, 2013.