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We want it, we want a lot of it, and we want it now. We have grown to be an instant gratification society, and this has affected us in more ways than we may realize. How? A recent Orlando Sentinel article noted that Americans carry 2.6 times more debt now than they did 30 years ago. And, they’re 2.3 times more likely to be obese. Similarly, a German study of 9,000 participants found that those who were obese were twice as likely to be in debt. These two trends intersect partly because they share common roots which are grounded in less self-control and more self-indulgence.

Marketing is slicker than ever, promoting cheap fast food, huge portions and highly-processed, low-nutrition foods. At the same time, and more so before the recession began, we are bombarded with no-money-down, pay-later offers on virtually anything we want. Gone are the days when we saved money before buying a large item. In the same way we are being presented with huge portions on a plate, we are being presented with endless ways to spend our money (or someone else’s money). Resisting both is a supreme exercise in discipline.

Jay Fisher is co-founder of Vantage Capital Consultants, a purchaser of structured settlements and annuities.

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