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Do You Deserve to Be in Debt?

Do You Deserve to Be in Debt?

By Lynette Gough

“I deserve to treat myself,” people say when they see something they want at the department store, when they look at a nice, new car, or when they go out to dinner. Then they pay for the item with cash, or do they? How many credit cards do they own? How many are close to the limit? How many are over the limit? And what do people really need? When people go shopping, or even when they look on the internet sites, they make harmful financial decisions because they are buying things they do not need, spending more than they earn, and not making plans for their future needs.

People buy things they do not need, which is bad for their current budgets and for their future needs. Some people try to spend wisely by buying in bulk, but most people overspend and get what they want when they want it. Buying sneakers is a good example. People pay hundreds of dollars for shoes they will exercise in, but they also have to look good and be a certain brand, even though shoes are relatively simple—inside comfort, outside weather protection, and durable soles. They vary so much in price, and brands simply charge for being a certain brand. No important difference exists between Nike, Adidas, Skechers, etc., just brand names, spokespeople, and maybe comfort, if anyone really looks for comfortable shoes anymore. Also, some people own more than one set of sneakers, several pairs, even though they do not do hazardous or specific work which requires proper footwear. Some people are not even athletes. Brand name shoes, and designer clothes in general, are all extras people cannot afford and are unnecessary, yet they spend millions of dollars that we do not have. Clothing does not last long, so it depreciates, or loses its value, over time. People buy clothing, shoes, and other accessories to show they can afford nice things they do not need.

Many young people not only shop at designer clothing stores, they work at them, and that new paycheck is a detriment rather than an advantage. Young people want to impress each other, and when they get offers for credit cards once they start those new jobs and get McWages, a term for jobs that need little training and earn little pay, they see the credit limit as a challenge, not a mistake waiting to happen. They do not realize how much a large credit card bill will injure their future credit rating. They overspend and cannot pay their balances; soon they are trying to pay high interest rates while they start to pay for their student loans when they get that dream job after graduation, if they get hired without any experience in their chosen career. “Interest” refers to money charged for monsy, so a $100 charge for shoes can turn into $500 or more. Collection agencies are always hiring, and they are always busy because they get as much money as they can from the sometimes hard-working but always foolish spenders. Sooner or later the government gets hurt from someone, either the first unit, the credit card holder who goes bankrupt, to the credit card company owner, bankrupt again, to the bank that needs a bailout. The US owes trillions of dollars, not billions or millions, to other countries from borrowing money from unnecessary purchases individuals make to look better to strangers. Who owes money to the United States? The taxpayers do, ask any IRS agent, and that money goes to finance our future descendants, who do not understand limits. Right now people owe 1.3 trillion dollars in student loan debt alone. This nonsensical wait for future money to solve  people’s problems in the present should change.

People who spend too much money do not consider the future they are spending. When people became elderly in the “old days,” they lived on pensions and retirement savings. However, when the economy changed, as it always does, retirement became a dream. Pensions were spent to take care of the owners’ debts. “Savings” is a foreign concept to the Nike Generation, who spent money they did not have, thinking their jobs were secure. They did not plan on getting disabled and being unable to work, either. Their savings are therefore nonexistent, so they have to work harder and keep working longer. This is not just poor planning but a major enemy of time. They did not plan their future needs.

Some people spend money wisely, and these exceptions to the rule are worthwhile savers. Thriftyfun.com is full of hints and tips for saving money. The writers spend time and energy helping other people save money, and time is money, so they believe that helping others is worthwhile. People who volunteer their time for other reasons, such as teaching and giving out food, help others with their time, which is so valuable, it is priceless. People who give to charity spend their hard-earned money on more food and clothing so others can be comfortable. These are wise ways to spend money and time.

Saving money is difficult, but people do not plan to fail, they fail to plan. If students today did not spend money on worthless items, they will not be prepared for unplanned expenses. They especially cannot plan to stop working and go without a paycheck coming in regularly. If they do not stop and think before making every single purchase, today’s students can only look forward to hard work and large debts ahead when they should be looking for comfort and a worry-free future that people have been trying to attain since money was invented.

 Lynette Gough, Owner, Make A Great Impression Writing Consultant Firm