What is worth going into debt for?

kk 258

If we had debtors prisons in America, which we don’t, most Americans would be there. In United Emirates, Hong Kong and Greece, there are still debtors’ prisons. In Greece, in 600 BC, you could be sold into slavery for debt. In Hong Kong you can go to prison for life if they can show that you ran up the debt with “malicious intent.” Seriously what is malicious intent? Let’s say I buy too many books. I’ve been known to do this. You maliciously wanted those books, that jewelry, those shoes. You bought them even though you didn’t have the money. You malicious fool.

Of course, we all know the story of debtors’ prisons in England. The famous Fleet prison allowed Fleet marriages. Prisoners were allowed visitors and according to the “Liberty of Rules,” some were allowed to live a short distance away from the prison. If I were given the Liberty of Rules, I would run away. Of course, while you were in prison, you had to pay room and board. That’s a little rough.

Here in the U.S, we spend $25K-65K/prisoner.

Why are we so much more in debt than our parents’ generation?

They had sandwiches and tea for their wedding receptions. We have lovely weddings but they are much pricier than our parents’ weddings. Let’s face it, a lot of our parents had to get married so there really wasn’t much of a wedding.

Back to debt.

Here’s what US News Weekly says about American debt,

Americans racked up nearly $48 billion in new credit card debt in 2011, 424 percent more than what they charged in 2010, and 577 percent more than in 2009. Although total outstanding credit rose only about $4 billion, that number was largely offset by the magnitude of consumer defaults—$44.2 billion worth.

What are we buying with all that debt? We are buying stuff we think we need. We buy expensive shoes. We get our hair done. We get our nails done. We buy all the iToys. We buy iPads, iPods. We have an iLife. But we have to pay for it. Or not.

One way of having a happier life is spending less than you make. But obviously, that’s not in our power. We live above our means as a way of feeding the void within and still we spend.

Online spending is so easy. People mention a book that I should be reading, and off I go and order it on Amazon or I stop by Vroman’s.

Shopping that does not interest me: Going to the mall, going to any big stores and having to walk around and choose things.
I think we should spend more time gardening and cooking and less time shopping. Reading is also good. What do we need with 48 billion worth of new stuff?

Women do a lot of this shopping and according to a recent Harvard study 23 % of women in their 40s and 50s take antidepressants so the shopping isn’t working.

As a child, I used to sing, “I got shoes, you got shoes, all God’s children got new shoes to wear.” Then, I usually didn’t have shoes, and if I did, it was only one pair. We all want to be God’s children, we all want new shoes to wear.

Published in: on August 24, 2013 at 7:53 pm  Leave a Comment  

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