When we think of someone in debt, there is no doubt countless images that you might conjure up in our heads as what someone in debt might look like and what they’d be doing.
Lee Balders, from Homely Economics, wrote a post back in January giving reasons why we shouldn’t judge people in debt, and I would agree, but only to a certain extent.
In the post, she is specifically talking about those that find themselves in debt through no fault of their own, whether that be through illness, a breakdown in a relationship or any other uncontrollable circumstance. Lee, you can correct me if I’m wrong.
The thing is, in some instances, I can’t help but judge those that find themselves in debt!
Before you ready the pitchforks and start burning effigies of me, I am not talking about those that find themselves in debt because of any of the reasons above. I’m talking about judging those that have attached themselves to a culture where they have gone into debt because they have to have everything they want now and only think of the consequences later.
It starts with understanding sacrifice
I was brought up in a working-class background, both my Mum and Nan were shop assistants, though I never went without. My dad wasn’t around and didn’t contribute financially.
You never really understand the sacrifices that your family make when you’re growing up in order that you can have a comfortable life, but it’s certainly something that you consider as you get older and maybe have a family of your own.
Unfortunately, there are some that aren’t prepared to go without to enable them to live a comfortable life.
Heaven forbid, why have comfortable when you can have all the trappings of what you aspire to be right now, simply by taking out a loan or putting it on a credit card.
Is anyone accountable for their own actions anymore?
I spend far too many hours of my life watching tv programmes and YouTube channels about cars.
The devil on my shoulder has told me to go out and get myself a nice new shiny new car and not worry the consequences on more than one occasion. Luckily, common sense always prevails and I know that this is a mistake that I can ill afford to make.
I have a car that gets me from A to B. It might not be my dream car but it works and when my circumstances change for the better, who knows, one day, I might it might be.
At the end of the day, it comes down to accountability, but it seems that some just don’t want to be held accountable for their actions.
I don’t know whether it’s because they don’t want to admit their mistakes or whether it is just sometimes easier to blame others?
This isn’t targeted at the young either, there are plenty of older people that fall into this category.
It’s the bank’s fault for giving me a loan, it’s my employer’s fault for overpaying my salary, I needed that holiday or wanted that new car or I just had to have the latest mobile, some of the many excuses that have been banded around.
I maybe hold old-fashioned values, but just because they’re old-fashioned doesn’t make them wrong.
I get it, I really do.
We work hard for what little we get and to find that you all of your money goes on everyday living expenses can be a hard pill to swallow, especially when it appears that the rich get richer and the poor get poorer, it just doesn’t seem fair.
In fact, I did a quick search to see who the richest people in the world was now, and as I’m writing this post, according to Forbes’ real-time ranking it is Jeff Bezos with $118.8bn. Unsurprising, but how can we bemoan that the rich are getting richer when their wealth is more often than not connected to the value companies they have started. (I know that some have accumulated wealth that probably isn’t deserving)
Mr Bezos hasn’t got a shotgun to us saying that we have to buy from Amazon, we do because we choose to.
Whether they pay their fair share of tax isn’t something that I’ll explore as Amazon’s tax liability is based on what is spent on items that you and I buy, some of which we probably don’t need, from it and the profits they make as a result. So I’ll leave that to the tax experts and government to deal with.
We have to learn to prioritise
I’m not sure there are many if any, money bloggers out there that say that you can’t have what you want.
Many of us are probably of the view though that if you do want something stop and think long and hard about it first.
Ask yourself some necessary questions, such as:
- Can I afford it?
- Do I really need it?
- Do I need it now?
- Will it change my life or am I just trying to fill a void, if so what is that void?
- What example am I setting to my family?
You might find some tips on how to stop spending useful too.
My last thought
So as you can see, I do judge certain groups that find themselves in debt, not that they’d care and nor would I expect them too, It’s a lifestyle choice and who am I to say how anyone lives their lives.
We mustn’t allow debt to become the norm, though I don’t have the answers how we can stop it further becoming the norm.
Debt is a burden that can tear lives and families apart. And I hope that if you’re reading this and are in debt through no fault of your own, you are able to find the courage to seek help and advice from those you love and those that can help get you out of debt.
We must judge a society and those that buy into it, that has made debt acceptable just so they can live an unrealistic lifestyle that might be ordinarily out of their reach.
Yes, banks and other lending institutions have to take some responsibility for excessive lending, but at the end of the day, we have to be held accountable for our own actions too.