I came across this very long and emotional article about financial fragility of the US. In essence, the author decries the financial ruin of the US middle class. Although the author points to financial ignorance and poor choices for his situation, he is quite bitter about the whole financial crunch. Personally, I found the article too emotional and bitter. Yes, it is sad that people have trouble coming up with emergency funds. But what happened?
First, we can blame financial institutions preying on consumers. Yup, the evil credit card company. I agree to somewhat on financial institutions for taking advantage of people but this is America and they can’t force you to sign up for credit cards. So evil financial companies cannot be solely responsible for the financial fragility.
Second, financial ignorance. I am amazed at the fact that people still do not know how compounding interest can balloon and ruin someone. Yes, indeed, financial illiteracy is making some mess. Because people just get lured and do not think things through. However, with more cries about financial distress, people are becoming more aware of the costs of borrowing. So financial ignorance cannot be the main culprit.
Finally, we have greed. Greed. I think this is the main problem. Many people assume that they deserve to have certain car, house, and higher education. Despite the fact that neither the constitution, universal human rights, or anything in this world guarantee such things. Of course, there is media that makes you compare and drives you to be jealous and wanting but we cannot say that people believe in everything on TV. Instead the biggest issue is greed. I have had this conversation with a friend who was in financial distress. She was complaining how the world was unfair. It got to a point, where I had to point out that she was leaving beyond her means and even the things that she takes for granted such as her smartphone and even her cute dog are making a big hole in her budget. She said those are necessities. As a guy who loves his cell phone and dogs, I do agree but sometimes you just can’t afford it and when you can’t afford it, you can’t keep it. There is no law that says that one needs to have a smartphone and a cute dog (although we love them both). It is this sense of “I deserve such and such things” that bring financial ruin. Live within your means. Save what you can. And rely on God. He will give you the daily bread and protect you. In the end, it is all about greed, the sense that one deserves such things that brings many ruins. So let us wake up and realize that God only promised the daily bread and we should be content with that. The rest is a plus that we should be super thankful. Let us not be greedy and live within our means.
My financially distressed friend complained that she was being oppressed. I have reminded her that I once lived in a developing nation where water and electricity were often cut. I also reminded her all the places in the world without water. Finally, I reminded her, may be eating out less could help her out.