Conteúdo a ser abordado
The Risks of Living On Credit
It is always difficult to live frugally when all around you seem to have more possessions, more money and simply more fun. There are few people in the world who do not enjoy having new, enjoyable possessions which can make life easier, more varied and overall just more fun. The risk of seeing life in this way is that it can make people go to extreme lengths to keep up. No small amount of the financial turmoil that is seen on an individual basis very frequently happens for this very reason. When people around you always seem to have the best clothes and gadgets, and be enjoying life more, there is a real chance that they are living beyond their real means.
Spending money is fine, as long as there is money there to spend. Otherwise, it needs to be considered long and hard in the context of your situation. If you are making a purchase on a credit card, ask yourself if you can afford to make the payment that is required at the end of the month (or whenever your payment cycle places the due date). If it is a matter of making the purchase now and worrying about how you will pay for it later, it is really a good idea to refrain.
Think of it like this: credit cards make it easier to spend money, but that money is not technically yours. Spending money that you need to pay back, and not having the means to pay it back, is like trying to outrun a hungry lion. The credit card may act as a vehicle to escape the lion, but sooner or later you run out of fuel.
How Debt Can Ruin Your Life
Most of us, at one time or another, have looked at an item and thought “That would make my life so much better – now if only I had the money to buy it”. Credit is the solution used by many people in this dilemma. In many ways, it is as though a bank were saying to the person “No problem, you can have that item. I’ll pay for it now, and you can pay me back over time”. In this, the bank is acting as the generous friend who reassures you that you can have what you want without needing to worry unduly about how you’re paying for it. The major problem with that is that banks need to make their money back, and are not your friends.
A friend would, in most cases, be willing to forego some of the money if you really couldn’t pay it back. They would understand your good intentions and would know that some day you would do them a favor for which they would be thankful. Banks do not – and cannot – operate in this way, as their business relies on being strict with how they control credit. They cannot afford to be your friend. So when you borrow money from a bank and cannot pay it back, suddenly you are on your own.
For this reason it makes sense to be very careful when borrowing from a bank. It really makes sense to be careful with any borrowing – no-one likes letting a friend down. But when banks are involved, being in debt can be a very lonely experience.
What Does Debt Mean To You?
The very word “debt” is enough to bring fear to a great number of people, suggesting as it does a range of worries from being unable to make mortgage payments, keep a car on the road, take holidays and even, for some people, to eat three good meals daily. There are of course several different kinds of debt, and it is not necessarily a given that debt will always lead to financial meltdown. The key thing to remember is that debt should always be manageable. There are many of us who have a certain amount of debt, but make sure that it is covered. Taking out debt to pay for something you want and assuming that “something will come along” to pay for it is not a plan that will work.
Managed debt can be a life saver, and people who know how to manage their debt give themselves a lot more options than those who do not. There are ways and means of making sure that your financial position is protected, but being able to count on those ways and means demands that you will be ready to pay close attention to your incomings and outgoings at all times. If you are assured of money being available to make payments on a credit arrangement – for the duration of that arrangement and not just for the foreseeable future – then you are not doing yourself any harm by borrowing. It is just a way of spreading the cost.
But for too many people, the issue of debt is that it is unmanageable, or manageable up to a point. But what if you lose your job or your hours are cut back? What is you or a family member falls ill? Then it stops being manageable, and you need an alternative.
How Times And Views Have Changed
There was a time when to talk of having debts was like openly admitting that you liked to pull the wings off flies. People simply would not confess to having debt, even if it turned out that they did have debts, and quite substantial ones at that. Now, it really doesn’t seem that way. Debt is seen as an accepted hazard and a fact of life by many people – and there have been some good outcomes to that, with many responsible people on lower incomes able to spread the cost of necessary outlays. The problem comes when the debt cannot be managed.
It might be more beneficial for everyone if we started to differentiate more between kinds of debt. Rather than assuming that all debt was bad, if we could all tell the difference between unmanageable and manageable debt, necessary and unnecessary debt, then we would be able to judge when debt was an acceptable step, when it was the best option, and put together some ideas on how to stop people getting into damaging, excessive debts of the kind which can blight a life.
It would not be true to say that the present-day prevailing view on debt was the right one. Nor would it be right to say that the old-fashioned attitude was strictly fair or correct. What we can hopefully all agree on is that debt awareness is more important than anything, and that we should all learn to apply the common sense that none of us are shy of handing out to everyone else.