Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Some Really Sad Stories!

Regardless of your income level, getting into debt is a sport that anyone can do in this country.  Once you spend more than you can pay back, bad things happen in a real hurry.  For the very poor, these bad things are even worse.

This blog is something I wrote for myself, as I struggled to get by on "only" $100,000 a year or so.  I say "struggled" as I saw that many of my peers also felt that although they were making "good money" they were also squandering it as fast as they made it - living "paycheck to paycheck" in expensive homes and driving expensive cars.

The poor and middle class in America are not much different, we just go broke buying better shit.  But broke is broke, make no mistake about it.

But there are some folks out there who are really hurting these days - sad stories that tear your heart out.  Go to this site, if you want to hear some real sob stories.  It will break your heart.

Most of these folks have very low incomes - $20,000 to $50,000 a year.  And their debts, while seeming insurmountable to them, look fairly small to me.  But if you ain't got the money, twenty grand seems like a million bucks.

But what is consistent between their stories and "middle class poverty" is that spending is the problem that gets them into trouble in many cases.  Credit card debt, car payments, and living large are fine and all when you have a job and are "making good money".

But then something happens to upset the apple cart.  Health problems are the biggie, followed by layoffs or job loss.  Suddenly, that monthly minimum payment looks like Mount Everest.

The key is, regardless of income level, to save money and spend less.  If you have some savings, you can endure hardship that much easier.  And if you spend less, you won't have this big nut to crack, in terms of debt payments every months.

The poor guy who runs the site really ends up giving out the same piece of advice to these poor folks - bankruptcy.  But bankruptcy is no panacea these days - oftentimes you have to work out a repayment plan with your creditors.  It ain't pretty.

The secret is, if you are not in debt, don't get into it.  They offer you debt these days, even if they KNOW you can't repay it.  Because once you go into debt for that shiny-shiny, they can hook you and make you pay it off the rest of your life, particularly if you are poor.

Especially if you are poor.

It is very tragic to read these stories - people with so little and making so little, blowing it all on car payments and cable TV bills and then wondering what went wrong.

One fellow said "I don't want to have to make any lifestyle changes" which sort of said it all.  He's thinking of killing himself over his debt (talk about a lifestyle change!) but won't unplug the cable TV to save $100 a month.

It is sad...