Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Freedom from Financial Slavery - random ramblings

So after seeing that much anticipated documentary, whose name I won't list here ( because I think I've listed it quite enough - see below) I've gotten to thinking the last few days about the whole concept of financial slavery.

Credit cards seem to me to be the new "Masters" but from a financial perspective specifically. No hangings, whippings or maiming here but, from a financial and more or less from a psychological end there is definite sense of servitude there.

We work and work and work to get 'ahead' - 'Ahead' being a bigger house, nicer car, nicer clothes. However, with the long hours put in to pay off a bigger house, nicer car, and nicer clothes we never get a chance to enjoy our lives.

The book Your Money or Your Life comes to mind.

I'll borrow from a wise man and venture to say a majority of Americans work in jobs that they hate in order to keep up with and impress the 'Joneses' when in fact they don't even like the 'Joneses' that much anyway.

So in order to keep up they take out credit cards that finance their short-term wants and not their long-term needs. When the debt becomes excessive middle America, and those below the middle become more and more dependant on that paycheck that seems to pay for less and less of the 'necessities'.

In my opinion necessities include:
  • food
  • shelter
  • clothing
  • basic transportation.

To the average American though necessities include:
  • money to eat out at lunch and dinner every other meal or most meals
  • a large house with a security system, a playground for the kids, a gas-burning fireplace, basketball hoop and plenty of land for the dogs to roam (although you let them relieve themselves on the neighbors lawn)
  • cell phones along with a land-line home phone
  • Cable TV with at least 1 premium channel & Internet
  • Designer clothes for the kids lest they get beat up for not being 'cool'
  • two 5-year old or newer vehicles (1 most likely an SUV)
  • Vacation that requires plane tickets (blackberry in tow)
  • Two Words: Master's Degree
  • ...several other things I haven't thought of.
But after acquiring all of these 'necessities' that others see as 'luxuries' we are never satisfied. The TV tells about the new 'thing' we must have whether it be an I-phone or a video games system or the 'new-new' TV that allows us to zoom in on people's pores ( because what would we do if we didn't know how celebrity's maintained their pores?). We turn to the credit card or worse - our HELOC loan in order to keep 'hip & with it' while working longer hours just so we can be the one to host this year's super-bowl party.

As I approach "financial freedom' in a month or so here, I grow weary that my girlfriend, who appears to have adopted the American mindset of instant gratification extremely well, will influence me to adopt the instant gratification mindset again assuming we would get married.

I'll do my part though by tearing up credit card offers. After an $18,000 lesson from the school of hard knocks - I think the credit card 'Masters" have 'offered' me quite enough.

1 comment:

Single Ma said...

Hopefully it'll be the other way around - YOU will influence her to be financially responsible.

To avoid getting the credit card offers in the mail, you can call 888-5-OPT-OUT or go here:

You have the option to opt out for 2 years or for life. It will remove your name/address from all pre-screened solicitation lists that are sold by the 4 credit bureaus. If you later change your mind, you can go through the same process to opt back in.

By the way, I disagree with your analogy. Credit Cards (CCs) are not the new "Masters." By misusing CCs, you are enslaving yourself. Discipline is the only requirement to using a credit card wisely. It's a choice. Our enslaved ancestors didn't have a choice.