When we first got married, Mrs.FireStation worked at a bank and she would talk about how frustrated customers could be at times. They would come in the bank – often overdrawn and not understanding why – and get all upset when she would try to help them sort things out. As you can imagine, it wasn’t a great environment to work in as people were often angry at the situation they were in.
It wasn’t a surprise to me how frustrated people would get with money. The problem with money is that you have to WORK t0 get it – and that means you have to do what someone else (your boss, or your customers) wants you to do. For most people, nothing is more frustrating than being told what to do. That’s why you get paid to work – to make the frustration tolerable. 🙂
As a result, people do dumb things to get money – like borrow it like crazy. The latest NY Federal Reserve report shows that Americans have $12.3T in debt. That’s about $116K per household in the USA. Of that amount, the vast majority is mortgage debt (68%). Student loan debt is another 10%. Combined these aren’t crazy expenses, although I’m sure people spend MUCH more than they need to on both housing and education.
At the same time, another $2.3T (22%) is just plain consumer debt. Car loans, credit card bills and that kind of thing. It’s really hard for me to make the argument that any of this is not CRAZY spending. At least once you’ve been working for a couple years.
When we first got married, we had a fair amount of consumer debt – a used car loan and some credit card bills – but we cleaned them up pretty quickly. While we needed reliable car (spent $6K on a used Geo Prizm), we didn’t need the dinners out and extravagances we put on our credit cards.
Still, it’s hard to be frugal when friends and family are spending much more than you. You don’t know if they are spending beyond their means or are being very successful in their work. No one wants to look bad and that sucks many people into financial craziness of their own. They see crazy people and then emulate crazy themselves.
What CRAZY spending have you gotten into because you were responding to someone ELSE?
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