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An article this morning in the New York Times caught my eye. Service Members Left Vulnerable to Payday Loans
While it is totally revolting that there are companies that actively prey on our brave service men and women, that is not the aspect I wanted to discuss here. If you do - and I do hope you do - please discuss that aspect in the linked thread.
Does no one teach kids how to budget any more? How to save early and save often? Even the much derided McDonalds budget
allocated $100 a month to savings.
Apparently not. We older ones were taught it in school. How to make a budget. How to stick to a budget. How to calculate both simple and compound interest. How to make do and mend. It was called Home Economics, and was a mandatory class. Sure, we didn't have all the shiny modern toys, goods, and services available now. All the temptations to go into debt. What we did have was patience. You want something? If it is essential, buy it. If it isn't essential, save up for it.
So, what changed? Some debt has always been inevitable. You want a home of your own, you are unlikely to have the suitcase full of cash needed to purchase it outright so you will need to take on debt in terms of a mortgage, yet I hear of people struggling to make ends meet daily. They are one disaster away from being on the streets. "In a just society, this should not be tolerated!" you hear people - both left and right - say.
Society is not responsible for all of your ills. The person you see in the mirror is a large contributing factor. As Freddie Mercury so presciently sang
Sure, it's tempting. I get that. Get what you want now and kick the payment can down the road. The banks are not advancing you money from the kindness of some eccentric billionaires heart. They are a business and they really do want to be repaid. No amount of Occupying and screaming about "greedy bankers" is going to change the fact that you voluntarily took on your debt in the first place. It's your load, so pick it up and carry it.
"So, raise the minimum wage!" McDonalds has done that in Europe and Australia
. Walmart has inadvertently entered the fray just today, by sponsoring a food drive for fellow employees.
Not meaning to rag on McDonalds here, but the linked article raises a very good point. Machines are cheaper than people. The next time you go to the supermarket, notice the slow and steady increase of self service tills. Eventually, they will be staffed by one security guard and 4 stockers.
The problem is, while everyone wants social justice, no one wants to pay for it. They also want cheap shit. Raise the dollar menu to a dollar fifty (estimate) and the scream of rage will be audible in China.
So - what is the answer?
Be prudent. Assess your needs carefully. Be willing to do without. I know the sad little faces of your kids not being able to have the latest console and games is heartbreaking. Them not eating is even more heartbreaking.