Saturday, April 23, 2016

Let's talk about Americans' Debt Problem

A friend of mine posted on facebook recently an article written by author Neal Gabler. He brings up a lot of reasons why American's are so in debt. Starting with how with a statistic that "nearly half of Americans would not be able to get together $400 to pay for an emergency." I got the impression that would include even having $400 available in lines of credit to pay for the emergency. It goes on to say that even a small percentages of American's could go on to get $2000 together to pay for an emergency. 
Now we have always had enough lines of credit to pay for a $400 emergency and a $2000 emergency. But regardless if we could get the funds together, if it was possible to pay for it with the credit card- we did. It was easier not to think about it.  That is part of the reason we are in the situation we are in. In addition, if those funds were required in cash, it would just mean that something else would be put on a card.
Before starting on this path of debt reduction, I would have sympathized more with his life story. I would have related more to his plight. But now I look at it and notice that there is a tone of "yes it is my own fault" that they are weighed down by this debt, and he sees himself as breaking a taboo just talking about it. I get the impression that he is also saying "BUT I would make the same choices again and still be in the same situation". He is not saying that debt is a bad choice all the time. I distinctly feel that he is saying that debt is necessary but shackling us as Americans away from our dreams. 
I see the attitude that needs to happen in America as a state of repentance.Repentance is more than just saying you are sorry, but we have to change, to truly repent we must make permanent changes to our lives.

We need to recognize that we have a problem with debt. Each of us individually needs to recognize, then we need to repent of our addiction, by feeling sorrowful for our choice, and then resolving to never use it again. Mr. Gabler did not seem repentant. He recognized that there was a problem, he even seemed remorseful that he made those choices, but it felt that he was still trying to justify his choices. In the end, although he talks about how their past choices are determining their choices today, I would not be surprised to learn that he and his wife are still using credit cards as a way of life. One thing I have realized is that as long as you are a consumer of debt products, eventually you will accumulate debt and become "in-debt". You will never get out of the cycle unless you forsake the products of debt. Yes some people, like my dad, can have a card and pay it all every month. He only uses it for those things were he needs to (internet, hotel bookings, car reservations). For everyday purchases he uses is debit card. I have learned that I am not my dad and neither are most Americans. Especially American's who have been told that they will have to go into debt to enjoy a basic standard of living, that is how it is done, how everyone does it. Especially Americans who have been told that their buying power will never be that of their parents because their income isn't going to increase. It is stagnate. Lastly it is never going to work for Americans who have bought into the mentality that buying stuff is good, and if you can't afford it put it on the card, the card benefits are great. All things that most Americans find normal and how things are done. I so wish I could ask Mr. Gabler some questions. See if he sees this bigger picture. It is never too late to change. Change our lives and repent, and change our spending habits and get out of debt.

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