Mindy Memories

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Someone please explain to me how we are worse off today than people were during the Great Depression? I've seen a few people say this today and I don't get it. Things are not good, for sure, and are probably going to get worse before they get better. However, last I checked our unemployment rate is not averaging in the 30% range.

Much of the problem is that we as consumers got greedy. Everyone wants to blame the Big Evil Corporations. Sure, they were making money hand over fist, but nobody FORCED people to buy homes they couldn't afford, or is forcing everyone to go into huge amounts of debt for their instant gratification. Used to be that people had "nice things" when they were older, things they bought slowly over time. Now there's this sense of entitlement that we should have everything we want in our 20s (or sooner). Well, we in general are paying for it now.

We've done this to ourselves.



  • At 4:31 PM, Blogger Christine said…

    I agree with you 100%, Mindy. People foolishly overextend themselves, and now they are paying the price. I have ZERO sympathy for these people. If someone loses their job through no fault of their own, and faces foreclosure, then I do have sympathy. That's different.

    Mike and I both grew up in poor families, so we always knew how to be frugal. And those frugal skills sure came in handy. When we got together back in 1997, he was a grad student at MIT and I was a restaurant cook. In fact, we met at the bar in the restaurant where I worked. He was treating himself to a rare dinner out and a few beers to celebrate the end of final exams.

    He soon moved in with me to save on rent. We had barely enough money for us and the cats to get by, we went without a car, we had no luxuries, no eating out, no nothing. That was also when we gave up cable TV.

    He got his degree in 1999, and then started making some serious money, we got married in 2000. We did buy a cheap used car, but we never got the cable back, and have no plans to do so. We only bought our very first ever NEW car just last year...a Ford Focus econobox. It gets 30 MPG. And we're older people...I am now 48 and Mike is 56.

    We still live beneath our means, and this is why we've not really been hurt by all of this. We still rent. If we want something, we pay cash when we can afford it, credit cards are seldom used. The big debts are the car payment and Mike's student loans, and those should all be gone in about four years.

    He makes good money at his job, the company is doing well, and in fact, they are still hiring engineers. That's always a good sign. I work from home and bring in some extra cash, which is our "fun money". His earnings go for the necessities and saving for retirement. And we're doing okay, we can take trips, eat out, go to our ball games, we haven't had to cut back on that because we have more of a cushion than most people do. I still clip coupons and look for sales at the grocery store. I don't buy lots of over-processed, over-packaged crap. Not having kids helps, too!

    There are guys at Mike's work who make more than he does, but bitch and moan about how broke they are. They all have kids, McMansions, SUVs, etc. And they wonder how we can afford to do all of the fun stuff we do.

    Nope, no pity here!

  • At 9:03 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I see where you are coming from for sure. My mom was a depression baby and they had it rough. I don't think you can compare that time to now since the cost of living is through the roof now.
    I guess most people want to live the America dream and own a home. We own ours-almost-but took out a HEL (good abbreviation for it) to upgrade the kitchen and get things we waited 19 years for. All we've been paying on it is the interest for two years. We'll be old and gray before we get that one paid off!
    So we live in an almost 49 yr old house and drive used cars, but still struggle because health care insurance sucks and we have to pay out of pocket for visits. It's gone for the dentist. I swear we use about 8% of our take home pay for that. I don't work, but if we didn't get help from a family member, I would have to.
    Dianne from SE PA

  • At 6:47 PM, Blogger Lori said…

    I agree Mindy, many people do spend foolishly and I don't think it is fair that we have to be responsible for people making uniformed decisions. However, it is the responsibility of the lender to investigate the homeowner's credentials. It is also not fair that taxpayer should be responsible for bad decisions made by huge corporations.


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