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Superficial living has hit an all time high.

Eighty six percent of people who own luxury cars have a net worth of less than five hundred thousand dollars. There is a problem with that. To fake financial prosperity is to lie.

Are we that messed up that we think buying some fake name brand item will make us feel more worthy, desired or envied?

Faking is a way to conceal the defects or to make you appear more attractive than you feel you are. Which is better, to appear to be rich or to be rich?

A friend of mine said that the “fake it till you make it” is the only thing that she has. She said that sometimes a person’s self esteem is so low that material luxuries are the only thing that will instantly lift them up. In addition, said my friend, since she can’t be rich, she may as well look rich. My response to that is, who do you think you are fooling? If you spend your time and money trying to appear to be rich, where are you going to get the money to invest properly so that one day you will become rich?

People who adopt the “fake it till you make it” superficial way of life tend to focus on short term happiness while unconsciously building a life of long term poverty. Let’s not get it twisted, faking it is not the same thing as positive thinking or visualizing the things that you want, these are mind exercises. Faking is just plain lying to yourself. It is one of the major reasons why so many people can’t seem to get ahead generation after generation.

Seeing a first year school teacher or bank employee (single and not rich) drive up in a GS300 Lexus doesn’t say you have made it. It actually says you’re living beyond your means. The clothes don’t make the man, they make the man poorer.

As a financial planner, we are faced with the choice of showing off obvious signs of luxury (expensive clothes, fancy cars and flashy jewelry) or practicing what we preach by living modestly, delaying gratification and planning for a comfortable retirement. I believe showing off obvious signs of luxury is a clear sign that you lack financial responsibility. Especially if you don’t have it like that, and most of us don’t. Let’s stop this madness of living beyond our means and spending foolishly just to impress others. I can’t think of a better time than right now.

LYNDA V. HARRIS is a licensed securities broker at The Henderson Financial Group in Charlotte. Telephone: (704) 749-3830