Saturday, March 12, 2011, AM | 1 Comment
There are so many books written on the subject of how to get rid of debt in your financial life. They all define, among other things, what debt is and where debt comes from. In chapter after chapter, the authors don’t get tired of explaining what they want to explain. They get into some details of the whole process of the lender giving you credit after it checks out your credit score and such. That’s OK. There is nothing wrong with that. The fatter the book, the more money they can get for it.
In its simplest form, when you borrow or rent money, you get in debt. How much simpler can it get? When you pay the money back to its original owner within the due date, then you have shun the misery that goes with debt. It gets complex and perhaps complicated when you pay back a part of the debt and a major portion remains in your balance for next time.
If you keep borrowing money, the debt gets accumulated. The new money gets added to the previous balance and you get a pile of debt. Now everyone knows that to stop piling the debt, you stop shopping beyond your means and after you have taken care of your existing debt. It’s no rocket science that you would get rid of debt before you know it following this simple process. Unfortunately, for millions of Americans it has not been as simple as that.
If you don’t follow the above process, sooner or later you fall into the debt ditch. The deeper you fall, the harder it becomes to climb up to the surface. Sometimes you have fallen to such great depth in the ditch that you have no choice but to take support of the bankruptcy ladder. You sure can climb up but it costs you dearly.
There is nothing wrong with bankruptcy when you have exhausted all other options of getting out of debt. Times have changed. There remains no embarrassment, no shame, “no nothing” to declare bankruptcy. As a matter of fact for some folks, it might be the smartest thing to do. Those days are gone when people felt shame and embarrassment and they would keep their heads down when walking in the neighborhood.
For many folks, debt becomes a lifestyle. They borrow whether they can afford to pay it back or not. Some just don’t have an option. They must borrow out of necessity – because they need money to buy food to eat. That’s understandable. But for an overwhelming majority of Americans, debt becomes a way of life because of their never-ending shopping spree. Don’t let debt become a heavy chain around your neck that results in you becoming debt-slave, thereby drowning financially and losing your livelihood.
When I came to the States in the early 1970s, cash was king. Credit card debt, payday loans, and adjustable rate mortgages were not in everyone’s vocabulary like they are now. High interest rate debt was considered bad and ugly. There was no good part to it. Oh Boy! Those were the good old days.
Over the last three decades, it has become a fashion to use credit card and get in debt. It’s very easy to borrow money. You use credit card for your next purchase and you are in debt for at least three weeks. If you pay it in full by the due date, you have returned the money to its original owner and you are debt free.
Something happened along the straight and simple path to “glory” that many folks would charge the purchase and would not be able to pay it in full within the due date. They paid some amount and let the balance balloon to levels that they would then be unable to pay, not even the minimum amount. The stigma that was attached with loan and not being able to pay it back was long gone. Nobody gave a damn about returning the money.
American society has changed a lot. I think I would leave it at that for now. We cannot bring back the good old days, but we still can try to shun the kind of debt that we know we won’t be able to pay. We can do at least that much.
In a Nutshell
As I said above, today there is no shame, no embarrassment, no “nothing” for not being able to pay back the loan to its original owner. This attitude must change for tomorrow.
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