Monday, May 04, 2015

Overspending and debt - follow-up posts

In reply to the askaboutmoney thread I started a few years ago on my debt story, one person posited that the lenders must bear some responsibility. This was my response:

Posted on 24 February 2012:

At that rate you could argue that my parents or my school are responsible for not teaching me how to budget properly. My dad died a couple of years before all this started and he would have been horrified if he had ever known. Neither a borrower nor a lender be and all that - yet that never made it as far as lessons in how to actually manage things. On a side note I have to admit I was tremendously impressed when doing Hamlet for the Leaving to realise that my dad had been quoting Shakespeare all those years.

It's good that banks can no longer up the limit on a credit card just because. But otherwise, well, I'm the one who kept spending the money. I did need someone to teach me the error of my ways, so to speak, but don't think anyone can really be held responsible for that task. One of my older sisters often says that if she hadn't met her husband, who's very good with money, then she'd have been the same as me.

And even when I did get some advice I didn't always feel it was relevant to me. For example, the first few years of my working life I worked for American companies in Dublin (call centre boom victim here :) ) and I remember once we were sent around a newsletter type thing with tips on how to manage finances, which included a tip that you should always have six months worth of salary in an emergency fund in case you lose your job. That just struck me as totally irrelevant and a bit 'American' (oh the innocence of me back then!). I couldn't imagine ever being out of work, despite growing up amid the multiple redundancies of the late 70's and 80's. And six month's salary seemed like such a hugely unrealistic amount to need for anything. Things look different in your early twenties.

And for the lenders, well, they were doing what they are in business to do. Making money. And they have made a lot of money out of me. I've always repaid what I owe on time (or early, in the case of loans that got consolidated into other debt) so, for celtic tiger Ireland at least, I was an ideal customer for them.

Posted 29 February 2012 (partial reply to another question but an important point for this story)

Perhaps you should think about making sure that you have enough money to cover your expenses and then make a smaller payment to your credit card instead of putting all your money on the card and then needing to use your card to pay for things during the month. Because it's very easy to, for example, got to the supermarket and say to yourself, well I'm using the card anyway so I might as well stock up on x, y, or z that's on special offer. If you only have twenty euro in your wallet you might be less inclined to spend more of it than absolutely necessary. 

1 comment:

Fiona said...

oh, things *do* look so different in your twenties! I thought we had forever ahead of us to 'start getting serious' about money.

I think too, back in our generation in the 70s, teaching kids about money management wasn't a 'done thing' for lots of people. You didn't talk about money with the kids (or at least, our family didn't and many I knew didn't.)

Nowadays, schools at least have token 'Financial Literacy' classes.

Here in Australia, just a year or so ago it became illegal for banks to solicit raising credit limits (e.g. by direct mail or phone calls.) They used to send out 'pre-approved limits' where they'd just automatically approve you and send a Congratulations letter. Thankfully, all that has now stopped.