Ok, I know I haven't been here in over a month. Fact is, I and the men I work with had been furloughed over the month of April due to circumstances beyond our control. During this furlough, I accomplished several projects that were overdue here around my house like sanding and painting my back porch and other areas desperately in need of paint. A result of all this work was I spent a lot of time at various hardware and paint stores; this post will be a summary of my observations and experiences during the month of April.
As you know, the first weekend of April was Easter weekend; my wife and I made the trek to New Orleans, like we do every Easter, to be with her family. Well, she (my wife) has a friend down there who is not very smart when it comes to money. For example; on Easter Sunday, we announced that I was going to be unemployed for April but I would be receiving half-pay and keeping my benefits. The first thing my wife's friend did was ask her if she wanted to go to to Florida for a weekend. Huh??? What??? We took a serious hit to our finances so why would we want to spend money on a weekend trip...especially when we know our income is about to be seriously cut. This little event triggered something in me; I started observing different behaviors when money is involved, like watching the "Can I Afford It?" portion of the Suze Orman Show. Hello? A person who is over $85K in debt asks Ms. Orman if he can afford to buy a $100K boat? Seriously, can you not figure out that you can't afford to spend $100K when you already owe $85K?!?!?
With all the talk of the recession, bank bailouts, tight credit, and job losses, one may think it is the greedy rich people who are to blame for the whole thing. Well that is true...to a point. You see, a lot of people around this country are losing their homes and possessions because of THEIR OWN dumbness! Now, before you take out your poison pens, you need to hear me out, ok?
When I was preparing to retire from the Navy, we made a decision to pay off all of our debts. When I received an employment offer from a company here in Mississippi, we came down to look at houses. We wanted to buy a house we could afford even if I lost my job. This is exactly what we did; we found and bought a house with a mortgage payment we could pay with my military pension so that, if I lost my job, we wouldn't have to worry. Well, right about that time-frame the housing market was red-hot; properties were being snapped up without so much as a credit or income check. The result of that was we were approached several times with statements like, "With your credit, you could get approved for a $750,000 home!" Our response was always, "We don't WANT a $750,000 home! We WANT a home we can AFFORD!"
So, when the economy started to tank and the housing bubble burst like a bubblegum bubble poked with a finger, we didn't worry one bit. While the news ran on and on about people losing their homes, jobs, and cars, we lived frugally and comfortably. The result of that was we didn't feel the bite of the recession. Well, evidently, this was not the case for a lot of people. When I would watch CNBC, MSNBC or FOX, all I would hear was how bad it was for these poor, poor people who had thousands of dollars in credit card debt and foreclosed homes.
Well let's look at things another way, ok? I temporarily lost my job and took a hit to my income so, I cut back on my spending in order to manage our money better. Even now, when I am getting ready to go back to work, I am still living under the premise of, if we can't pay cash we don't buy. Want to know something? We are living comfortably and have very few worries about the future. I'm not here to toot my own horn nor do we think like we're better than anyone else BUT what I AM here to do is to vent my frustrations with people who are in the "poor me" pity party about the recession.
A major part of why so many people are in so much financial trouble is simply because they confuse the word "right" with the word "privilege". For example, nobody has the "right" to a big house, expensive car and other various toys. Those things must be EARNED and the ONLY WAY to EARN them is to WORK and SAVE the money in order to purchase these things. Nobody has the "right" to drive a vehicle or own a cellphone or big flat screen TV. If one wishes to have these things one must WORK to get the money to purchase them! Too many people in this country think they are entitled to everything they want; the result of which is sometimes hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt!
I keep hearing rhetoric like, "We need to spend our way out of this recession." WHAT??? Did the idiots in our government not take simple math in school? Pundits out there are saying our government is spending money like drunk sailors! That statement bothers me because, unlike our elected morons, when we "drunk sailors" ran out of money we simply stopped spending! Notice, people, that I have no singled out either political party because THEY ARE BOTH TO BLAME!!! Also, MOST of the people here who are in financial trouble are there because of THEIR OWN IDIOCY! It's NOT HARD people!! If you don't have the MONEY you don't BUY whatever you want! The priorities and thought-processes in this country are so out of whack, I worry we are digging our own graves! PLEASE, SOMEBODY, bring COMMON SENSE back to our mindset!