Consumerist Philosophy: Earn and spend; earn and spend; earn and spend. In short, spend all of today's earnings on consumer items, because another paycheck will always come "tomorrow." Examples of this type of philosophy include people who live paycheck-to-paycheck more by choice than circumstance, the young woman from England who won a multi-million dollar lottery six years ago at the age of 16 and now regrets having spent all of the money so frivolously, and highly successful, high-income celebrities like photographer, Annie Leibovitz, and singer, Michael Jackson, who, despite their millions in earnings, have ended up "awash in debt" due to their personal financial management, or lack thereof.
Wealth Accumulator's Philosophy: What's important is accumulating as much wealth as possible during one's lifetime. Be frugal, even to the point of being miserly. Save as much as possible from one's earnings, prudently invest one's savings, and reinvest as much as possible of one's investment earnings. An example of this type of thinking is self-made billionaire, Warren Buffett, who not only is worth some $40 billion but is rumored to have once stooped down to pick up a penny in an elevator, remarking to those around him, "This is the start of my next billion." My opinion is that most of us will be best off following neither of the above extremes but, instead, adopting a middle-of-the-road philosophy, which emphasizes neither consumer spending nor wealth accumulation:
Perpetual Income Generation: Use one's "excess" earnings (i.e., whatever is not needed to pay for basic necessities) from work and investments to build an investment portfolio that will reliably generate long-term income to cover all of life's expenses. The focus here is neither on spending all of one's earnings, just because one has money currently available to spend, nor on stockpiling cash without limit, primarily to see how much wealth one can accumulate. Rather, the core of this philosophy is to accumulate enough wealth to reach an ongoing state of financial independence, which means that the income generated from one's investment portfolio should over time be enough to support one's lifestyle without relying on external employment.