Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Debt: The Great Seduction

David Brooks' article is timely. While we spend an inordinate amount of time on sex, we as a culture fail miserably discussing the subject of money.

Maybe because I grew up in a blue collar environment, money was a dirty subject. It was impolite to discuss money. The good news is that we were taught the importance of saving and not wasting money. It was evident to me that my parents did what they could to stretch a dollar but you could feel the anxiety and tension surrounding that activity.

With parental guidance, I to picked up a high school class that taught me how to manage a household budget. It was a semester long class but one of the more invaluable courses I ever took. We started out with an annual income, fixed monthly costs and were faced with possible purchases brought on my needs or wants. Physically writing out checks and balancing our checkbooks were incorporated in the course study.

As far as credit cards, it did not take the credit card companies long to figure out they could make more money off of the fees and interest rates. What exactly triggers those fees? These folks aren't predatory lenders?

More of my staff seek help from the EAP for credit counseling than other stress related issues.

Greedy bankers, uninformed homeowners are a recipe for the mess that we are in. No money down! Flip that house!Everyone wants to be Donald Trump. People forget that he had to be bailed out of bankruptcy.

What happened to buying a home?

Learning how to create a budget, manage finances and the perils of credit cards should be mandatory courses of study.

But if our government can't restrain itself, what can you expect from your citizenry?

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