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Lifestyle Indicators

Mark Dombeck, Ph.D.


Many modern jobs and careers require that workers be educated before they are qualified to be hired. Most Western nations provide public education up to high school level, but the quality of that education varies considerably. Some students end up doing well in school, while others are not supported well and fall through the cracks. Later in life, they may not be eligible for particular positions because they did not complete schooling. Some students would like to go on for specialized study (e.g., college, graduate school, certifications) but cannot afford to do so. Some students get themselves into one career and then realize they might be better off working in a different one, requiring different education. Returning to school as an adult with adult responsibilities is often seen as a daunting task. Consider the following questions to determine whether your educational attainments (or lack thereof) are part of your problem.

  • Are there topics you would like to learn more about?
  • Are you satisfied with your educational attainment (what you've learned, the degree you've obtained)?
  • Would it help your career if you were more educated?
  • Do you enjoy taking courses or reading to learn? Would you liked to be part of something through which you could learn (workbooks, workshops, groups, and clubs, such as a book club or society)?


The amount of money you are able to earn determines how well you will live; whether you will be hungry or not, whether you have permanent shelter or a home or not, and how well you can dress. A certain minimum of money is necessary just to survive. Beyond survival, many people make their money into the defining measurement of their lives and judge how successful they are in relationship to how much they can spend. Many people go deeply into debt on credit cards in order to finance a status-conscious lifestyle that is beyond their means. They may spend money on short term luxuries such as a fancy car and not on longer term necessities such as health insurance, and savings for retirement. Consider the following questions to help yourself determine whether your relationship to money is part of the problem.

  • Do you worry about money?
  • Do you have enough income to meet your expenses?
  • Do you have health insurance?
  • Do you save enough money so that you'll have some set aside in the event of an emergency or for retirement?
  • Are you satisfied with how you live (e.g., your housing, diet, transportation, entertainment, etc.)?