Greed Is Never Good

When Gordon Gekko, the main antagonist in the 1987 film “Wall Street,” declared in no uncertain terms that “Greed is good!” people flocked to the theaters. And cheered.

Please don’t base your belief system on a movie line that might have been memorable and entertaining but is dead wrong.

“It took me 12 years to ruin my life and 13 years to come back”

Greed is like cancer that, when left untreated, can destroy individuals, families, businesses, governments, and economies. Greed turns financially ignorant people into putty in the hands of the consumer credit industry.

My own ignorance about credit and debt, and my skewed logic that somehow I could have all that I want now and it would somehow work out in the end, set me up to be greed’s dream client. Credit was my accomplice. And choosing that course in my life landed me in a pit of financial despair.

It took me 12 years to ruin my life and 13 years to come back. That’s 25 years just to get back to point zero! I shudder to think of all of the opportunities that were forever lost in my life at the hand of that monster, greed.

I’m a lot wiser now, as a result of the hard lessons that experience taught me. If you don’t have 25 years to learn these lessons on your own, save yourself the cost and the trouble by learning from my mistakes. Dump your greed now. How? Here are four simple steps:


Putting others’ needs ahead of our wants takes our eyes off of our selfish desires. It softens our hearts and fills us with compassion for the needs of others.


A heart filled with gratitude expresses itself with generosity. Generosity kills greed. As you acknowledge all that you have in light of the needs of those around you, you’ll find yourself feeling genuinely grateful in ways you may have not experienced before. Generosity will become the natural outflowing of your grateful heart.


Take some of your wants and find someone who has a real need. Take the money you would have spent on those wants and give it to the person in need instead.


Make giving part of your personal money management program.

Can you imagine what could happen in our neighborhoods if every person reading this were to give some of what they have — money, time and talents — to meet the needs of others? We would start a revolution!

Just imagine living in an environment that is void of greed. It can happen. I know because I have experienced it. I’ve seen gratitude in operation in my own community, and I cannot describe the joy and contentment this brings.

Here’s what I’m asking you to do right now: Think of five friends you can share this column with. Then do it.

Driving greed from your life will change your heart, and it just might change theirs.

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Mary Hunt

Mary invites you to visit her at, where this column is archived complete with links and resources for all recommended products and services. Mary invites questions and comments at, "Ask Mary." Tips can be submitted at . This column will answer questions of general interest, but letters cannot be answered individually. Mary Hunt is the founder of, a frugal living blog, and the author of the book "Debt-Proof Living."

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