"It made our hearts ache to see how bad off other kids were. Even if we only got sweets or fruit once a month, it made us think how lucky we were.” - Robert, Depression survivor
People like Robert that have experienced economic depression have provided researchers with first-hand recollections of what living with less, sometimes a lot less, was like. Sharing their stories can help us avoid economic hardship, and live more self-sufficiently.
Those who lived through the depression often gained a new outlook on life. Many survivors continued the same virtues after, so strong were the lessons learned.
Generally, those that went through the extreme economic conditions tended thereafter to avoid the self indulgence and immediate gratification that comes from easy access to material things.
Instead they reported focusing on what they considered more important - relationships with their families and community.
Not surprisingly, their advice and survival strategies center on a long-standing tradition of frugality, simple living, and reasonable material expectations.
Advice From Depression Survivors
- Pay cash instead of adopting the credit mentality. “Don’t spend money you don’t already have in your pocket.”
- Don't make the rich richer by giving them your money. “Don’t pay someone else to provide something that you can learn to do or to make yourself.”
- Cultivate traditional values of thrift and frugality. “Only buy what you can’t live without.”
- Avoid self-indulgence and self-gratification by immediate acquisition of possessions. “Give yourself a good, long waiting period before making purchases.”
- Do not gamble with your money (stock market, real estate speculation, lotteries, get rich quick schemes, etc). “It doesn’t matter how much money you make, it matters how much you save!”
- Work is the way to make money. "Don't be afraid of honest, hard work."
- Ambition is over-rated. "It is enough to just enjoy and appreciate each day."
Many depression survivors realized that good can come from bad, and meaning can come from tragedy. We have a lot to learn from their experience.