You Owe What You Owe
Our society is given more and more to laziness and victim mentality, or so it seems. I’ve conducted no scientific research but the prevailing winds of conversation, and print stories, and news ‘events’ seem to prevent as much. Perhaps this is just the vocal minority – I so hope – or perhaps we’re on a horrible downward trend.
A pair of illustrations resonated, or more accurately collided, with me. These are recent events but they mimic a theme that has does resonate with me. In fact, it’s a theme I’ve written on before. I hope today I add to the discussion rather than simply echo the same rant.
The first item was a recent caller on a Dave Ramsey program. I disagreed with both the caller and the advice he received. The caller was about 6 months behind on a $11k credit card bill and was trying to settle the account for about 25% of the balance due ~ or about $2750. Ramsey agreed that the creditors would not settle for such a low amount so quickly and advised the caller to continue to save up his settlement funds while continuing to negotiate a settlement.
The advice was directionally sound, however, that it reeked of a failure in personal accountability caused me to bristle. Rather, I believe a more genuine approach would be to negotiate down some of the usurious fees, make a huge payment against the remaining balance (say 20%), negotiate a moratorium on interest and pay the freaking bill each month as you previously committed to doing.
I don’t necessarily fault Ramsey here because many of his callers have circumstances that limit their ability to pay, and the advice offered fits that bill perfectly. However, this caller had no such circumstances other than wanting a smaller bill. HEY TOO LATE DUDE… should have thought of that when you were running up the tab at the bar, literally or metaphorically.
The second event was the one that really sent me into orbit and solidified my need to string together these words. Several months ago I enjoyed and commented on an article posted on another site. As part of the commenting process I was able to subscribe to subsequent comments so I could continue to engage the conversation. The original article was about preparing a mortgage and frankly I can’t recall my comment though the general idea is one to which I aspire. The other morning I received just such a subsequent comment from some deep thinker who has it all figured out.
The genius – sarcastic speak for moron – did not feel constrained by his mortgage payment obligations simply because the value of his home had declined. It was not a function of his inability to pay but rather that his commitment to pay for an asset that is now – and likely temporarily – underwater was simply inconvenient.
I could, and should do a full treatment on the topic, but ladies and gentlemen, this is a loser mentality.
Consider 3 questions as a measure of this dude’s brain lock:
1. Do folks expect to lower their car payment when they find its value upside down?
2. Do investors expect a refund when stock prices/values contract?
3. Do people expect their mortgage payments to increase when their home values rise?
The answers… NO, NO, and HELL NO!
In fact, the first item is so common that it’s a sad and well repeated punch line – the worst accidents DO happen on the showroom floor.
That this level of infantile thinking exists in a civilized society chaps me to no end and I can’t help but wish ill upon them. It is as if I want to personally witness as their sins catch up with them. But that takes me to a negative place. I place I’d do well to avoid. Instead I’ll do my best to take care of my business while both congregating with like minded responsible adults and sharing my beliefs with those willing to listen.
And so I want to thank you for listening to my rant and ask that you help to grow the like minded community this fledgling site represents. I don’t often ask so overtly, but if you agree with the prevailing thoughts represented here, then take a moment to forward a link or email. I’d love, welcome, and appreciate your help in turning up our volume.
Photo By: Olivander
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This article was featured in the Carnival of Money Stories hosted by Funny About Money.