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Save now, spend later?

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By Mark Azzara

Dear Friend,

In the same day’s edition, The New York Times featured two stories that are galaxies apart. One story was about how the art market is in crisis. The other was an advice column in which Lisa Pryor urged her readers to join her new “cult” – the cult of thrift.

Do you plan to be among the bidders at the next Gauguin auction? Well, sure. You’ve saved so much money using coupons and making soup from scratch that you probably have plenty of cash to burn.

I economize, too, but it’s not a cult. It’s called Social Security. I have no choice. But not to worry. I can probably find a photo of that Gauguin painting on the Web, then print it out and put it inside a nice frame that I picked up at my church tag sale for 50 cents.

Hmmph, and you thought I had no culture, no class.

Make no mistake – there IS a valuable message to be derived from The Times’ two articles, but it’s probably not the message the Times intended to convey. If these stories reflect the reality of the American focus on money, whether how to save it or when to spend it, then it’s getting out of hand and it must be dialed back.

As for Social Security, it will never be enough if money is all you focus on. But it’s enough for me because I don’t focus on money.

Money isn’t my god. God is, in part because he has shown me how to make the most out of the gift He has given me in Social Security. I am definitely not rich in human terms, but I am when I think how well God is protecting me. One thing I’m sure of: All the money in the world couldn’t protect me as well as God does.

All God’s blessings – Mark

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About Mark Azzara

Mark Azzara spent 45 years in print journalism, most of them with the Waterbury Republican in Connecticut, where he was a features writer with a special focus on religion at the time of his retirement. He also worked for newspapers in New Haven and Danbury, Conn. At the latter paper, while sports editor, he won a national first-place writing award on college baseball. Azzara also has served as the only admissions recruiter for a small Catholic college in Connecticut and wrote a self-published book on spirituality, "And So Are You." He is active in his church and facilitates two Christian study groups for men. Azzara grew up in southern California, graduating from Cal State Los Angeles. He holds a master's degree from the University of Connecticut.

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