Friday, May 11, 2007

Consumer Debt is Good (They Say)

This is good?

A paragraph from the Norman (OK) Transcript makes me wonder if I'm living on a different planet:

The government reported this week that consumers boosted their borrowing in March at the fastest level in four months. That's far more than was anticipated and is indicative of a stronger than expected economy. Emphasis mine.

It seems to me that the concept is outdated. It used to be that people would borrow money and buy things in anticipation of higher income or overall better living circumstances so they could pay for it. Is that really so now?

With the lack of financial wisdom so many show, and an ongoing lack of real financial education to change that and an extremely materially oriented culture, I don't think it is.

People borrow money because they don't have any. Because they want something and can't pay for it otherwise. Because they can't wait, can't pay, can't do without and can't afford it... they borrow money.

And that's good for the economy? Somebody call an economist, I think we have an emergency coming on...


  1. Too true Pat. Our neighbour retirement age, can't afford much. Yet he is driving a new truck, ( they have a second truck, and a mini van) has bought a motercycle, and various other large items, 5th wheel, and 4 wheelers,. His house is falling down around him, and he can't even make the payments on his "New" things. He just took back 1 large purchased item 3 years old and left it on the dealers lot, and cancelled payments on it.
    I don't know what will happen to him yet, his wife, my best friend, just says, I didn't sign anything, it's his problem.
    Thank Goodness, my dh isn't like that! I don't think I could sleep nights, and probably wouldn't be with him if he was! Even though I am unable to help my friend, it bothers me terribly. I'd much rather be like we are, comfortable, and able to enjoy life, and sleep easy at night!
    Dh says, hey , he's happy in his world. But I wonder how long before his world comes crashing down? As it is they no longer answer the phone.
    Too bad some people have to learn the hard way, and when your retired, you don't have time to repay your debts.

    T'other Pat in Kitchener

  2. That's awful. I feel sorry for him, because his priorities are so confused. As you said, his world will likely come crashing down around him. His wife may not claim responsibility, but she will suffer, too. It's a sad situation, but not uncommon.

  3. I agree. Consumer debt should not be considered a positive economical portent!!! I have lots of friends who've had to settle their debt with the help of companies like rather than go bankrupt. These people started accruing high-interest debt in college and never looked back. How exactly is debt settlement/bankruptcy/debt consolidation good for the economy?