Get out of debt the easy way! The only way, as it turns out....
UPDATE: SNL keeps pulling this video from YouTube, so it may be a dead link. Major networks don't stay in business telling people to "stop buying stuff!"
A reader sends me this clip to an old Saturday Night Live bit, that is not only funny, but prescient. It makes a simple point in a humorous way - that we are all responsible for our own spending habits, and that if we are "over our heads in debt" we need to ask ourselves how we got there (we did it to ourselves, in most cases!).
The responses from Steve Martin are priceless and sound stupid, but are in fact, the justifications people actually use to buy things they cannot afford. Maybe the money will come their way later on to pay for it. Maybe.
What is disturbing about this video (which I found in several places on the Internet, a better quality version can be found here. Blogger only allows me to embed YouTube versions) is the comments accompanying the video.
Many of the comments are about the government. "Someone should send this video to Barack Obama! He's spending money he doesn't have!" they crow. And again, we see externalizing raising its ugly head.
Because, of course, this video doesn't apply to us, but to those "other people" who can't control their spending. We're fiscal geniuses, of course, getting cash-back bonuses on our credit cards!
And of course, the real reason our personal financial lives are in ruin is because of (pick no more than three):
2. Bill Clinton3. George Bush4. Muslims5. Wall Street 1%'ers6. Donald Trump7. People on Welfare8. The Big Banks9. China
That's how the game of externalization works. Even a simple video like this, which drives home a basic message with a sledgehammer, can be "spun" to become an indictment of others. This is, of course, weak thinking of the worst sort.
Getting my own fiscal house in order was as simple as the book touted in the video above, but the message was even simpler than what he is selling. For me, the message was this:
Stop blaming other people for your own problems.
Once I realized this, and realized that I did have some control over my own destiny (not complete control, of course, but some control that I could use), I realized that the pickles I got into in life were not the result of of someone else's machinations, but rather the result of my own weakness.
Like Steve Martin in the skit above, I was that dense. And admitting this, realizing the costly mistakes I had made, and moving on was key to getting ahead.
Sadly, if this "one page book" described in the video was in fact available, very few people would read it or follow its advice. They would, however, prescribe for others, particularly the unseen others that weak thinkers believe are ruining their lives.
Speaking of Steve Martin, what is he up to these days? Quite a lot, as it turns out!
Steve Martin can afford to do whatever he wants to do with his life, now. And apparently, he's doing quite a bit!