Why ARE people in so much debt?

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  • ceegee
    ceegee Posts: 856 Forumite
    I do lead a simple life with my children, in my own quiet little way, but the noisyness and strength of the rampaging materialism and consumerism seems to be all around us and the only escape is to stay indoors without the TV or radio on. I recently decided to stop reading the paper (Daily Mail) because it had even infiltrated that. There were articles about how some women were spending £20,000 or more for Christmas, how some women spend thousands to keep their children happy in school holidays, even about adolescent girls who get thousands spent on them for clothes and who won't even FIT into them in a few weeks' time.


    It's everywhere, everywhere. Two questions:

    1) are women generally worse than men?

    2) will the tide turn one day?

    Oh, dear.
    :snow_grin"Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow........":snow_grin
  • deemy2004 wrote:
    Hmmmmmmmmm...................... :D

    I'm curious again ;) : how much by at its worst? I presume you are completely debt-free now :) .

    Leia
    I want to be a good saver, but I find it difficult to control my temptation to spend :o .

    I owe £1,247 more than I have in savings :( .
    .
  • Norma_Desmond
    Norma_Desmond Posts: 4,417 Forumite
    I think it's pretty evenly split between men and women as to who goes overboard with the spending - women are probably more likely to spoil (literally!) the kids and want a show-home and men seem to go for the computers and plasma televisions or whatever is the flavour of the month. I don't generally buy Christmas presents any more - why the hell should I be forced to buy for people who have MORE than everything (see my earlier post about the PS2), but I do still get a bit of flack from the in-laws, whom I've also told not to buy for US. They still do though and then moan about the cost/hassle of Christmas. Jeeeeez it's tough being 'simple' sometimes LOL!
    "I'm ready for my close-up Mr. DeMille...."
  • Hello Everyone,

    I've looked through this site and this particular board often but not posted before. I've read this thread in its entirety and had to comment.

    The boards' purpose - "A place of mutual support for those struggling to get out of debt and help from other debt nerds." What a great idea!

    Of course, being able to proclaim yourself as a paragon of financial virtue and sensibility is applaudible, but we are not all blessed with the constitution and/or intelligence to remain free from the entrapments of peer pressure, consumerism and plain stupidity! We are all different (thankfully); being different makes some individuals geniuses...it makes others vunerable and confused.

    I have no debt, but I do have a friend. He is a single parent. His wife, who suffered from depression for many years ran up an horrific amount of debt and didn't tell him. Eventually she "confessed". He took it quite well and was supportive. She was distraught by what she had done and convinced herself that both her husband and child would be better off without her terrible influence and stupidity. She committed suicide. Those quick to judge may assume that the selfishness and self absorbancy that caused the debt also resulted in the suicide...but then you didn't know her!

    My point is that the whys and wherefores aren;t the be all and end all at this stage on this site. Yes, change in attitude/spending is necessary to avoid (further) debt but surely we shouldn't be judgemental.

    If someone wants to start here, on this website to look for advice, guidance, support or just to know that they are not the only person to have gotten themselves into a financial mess, then negative comments will only serve to turn them away, put them off sharing their problems and hence never read the constructive advice someone would have been able and willing to provide.

    If you rang the Samaritans would you expect them to tell you to cheer up and pull yourself together because they feel great and have everything to live for?
  • tiff
    tiff Posts: 6,608 Forumite
    First Anniversary Combo Breaker Savvy Shopper!
    ceegee wrote:
    Oh yes, oh yes, oh yes!

    It's nice to find someone else who feels like I do. Sometimes I've thought that I must be a bit odd, feeling this way, but now I know that I'm not alone!

    Thank you, Tiff! (and I'm only 49)

    Only just came back to this thread. Ceegee, come on over to Moneysaving Old Style board, I usually live there LOL. I am determined to try and resist the amounts that I used to spend (which got me in debt). On Mothers Day I usually spend loads of money on a present and flowers, but this time I made some shortbread and also bought some daffs for my kids to give my Mum on my behalf. Unfortunately my sister gave my Mum a massive spring basket arrangement from M & S, which made my paltry offerings look cheap but I still feel I made an effort, gave a gift but didnt spend loads of money. I'm trying to follow this through in other ways. If more of us were the same we wouldnt feel so much pressure :(
    “A budget is telling your money where to go instead of wondering where it went.” - Dave Ramsey
  • My debt is from different sources and some I take full responsibility for. I grew up never wanting for anything, always had good quality gear and went on the school trips etc. My parents always put us first and we had what we wanted to a certain extent - but not designer ridiculous.

    I started working at 14 and got used to being able to spend money on myself on what I wanted. This didn't change when I left school. I paid my board etc, but had a credit card and an overdraft at 18. I worked so I managed this well and always paid at least double the payments and very rarely went overdrawn.

    I then met a guy who was at Uni. Fell pregnant and moved to his Uni town. I got depressed and cheered myself up by taking my prozac and popping down to the shopping centre!!! It gave me a real lift and it helped me survive the dreadful year I spent away from my home town. Things picked up when I moved back and I started working again - earning my own money. But by this time ex had graduated with 3 years worth of student debt, took out a graduate loan for £5000, overdraft was £1700 and had his credit card upgraded to gold card with about £3000 limit - all for graduating!!!

    We then started to look for a house to buy - and there was a special graduate deal of 4 times salary, 100% mortgage, and a special first time buyer package where you paid nothing but interest for 5 years.

    His crippling overdraft limit graduate loan repayments and gold card repayments crippled us so I started having to use my CC for household bills. we were not extravagent at all - its just all his graduate debt took over our earnings all at once.

    So when we split, I was saddled with the debt we had accumulated while out earnings were paying his graduate debt!!!

    I am now struggling to pay it all back and while trying to make ends meet, other debts accumulated and more demands on my money meant having to rely on 0% catalogues to get clothes while the real money paid off old debts. I am now trapped in this cycle and everytime I try to make headway something else crops up.

    Still, I am trying now with my new partner to tackle our debts and we will be debt free within 5 years at worst, 3 years at best (some thanks to this site for that :-))
    Official DFW Nerd #148 :D
    Debt level @ highest (May 2004): £15000 :eek: Debt level @ August 2006: £9591.53
    Lightbulb moment May 2006 :idea:
  • Tigsy1906, I don't quite see where anyone has been judgemental or made negative comments. In fact I am always surprised at the general good nature of posters on this site.

    The point of this thread is to try to get to the bottom of WHY debt has become such a problem in modern society. Nobody is getting on their high horse about it - we realise that a lot of the time debt is unavoidable through illness etc, but a lot of the time it is also because of unrealistic expectations and the willingness of capitalists to take advantage of this.

    There's nothing 'wrong' with this, in fact it's perfectly natural to want the best for yourself and your family, but people can't take control of their financial lives until they realise how the 'system' gets a grip on them. Your friend with depression was very unfortunate; nobody would dispute that. What we need to get to the bottom of is how and why the 'system' conspired to enable her to get into such debt.

    I've been in debt myself for various reasons but it was only when I started to realise the mechanics behind this that I was able to do something about it.
    'Never keep up with Joneses. Drag them down to your level. It's cheaper.' Quentin Crisp
  • Norma_Desmond
    Norma_Desmond Posts: 4,417 Forumite
    tigsy - Hello, and I certainly didn't set out to be judgemental about anyone - apologies if any of my posts came across that way; all I wanted to know is WHY people are under so much pressure, and it's been enlightening and humbling to read some of the replies. I only gave my opinions and details of my way of life to show how happy and content you can be if you don't bow to the pressures of our consumer-driven society - certainly I did not mean to judge ANYONE who is in debt!
    "I'm ready for my close-up Mr. DeMille...."
  • dougk_2
    dougk_2 Posts: 1,403 Forumite
    My feeling is this is a good subject to discuss here on this board. Some people who are in debt or are likely to get in debt will read the debate and be able to understand how they got there or the direction they are heading in and why. Surely this is a good thing?

    Often it takes reading a discussion to understand that actually you are not managing your finances in the best way and how to get better at it. Perhaps some people will actually read this and question the need for the "material items" and understand also that the banks and lenders really don't care that much and just want to make money..... many people fail to realise this.

    No-one is here to judge and people reflecting on their own circumstances, upbringing and beliefs helps us all to understand how different alternatives are available and you do not need to go down a single path but can take various routes.

    Debt is a problem and one of the things that makes it worse is people do not talk about it enough and fail to admit when they are deep in it!

    Basically any idea can be a good idea and any knowledge gained should be welcomed.
  • deemy2004
    deemy2004 Posts: 6,201 Forumite
    I'm curious again ;) : how much by at its worst? I presume you are completely debt-free now :) .

    Leia

    I learned my lesson EARLY ! So I had the rest of my adult life to do it the right way ;)

    I was 18... in the Mid 80's at the time of the big bang....and ahem..... Trading Options !!!

    Now you tell me what crazy fool company is going to let a kid trade options ! ??? Redmayne Bentley off course !!!

    Want to know more ? ;)

    Okay.... I was playing with the BROKERS MONEY !!!! ... :o

    I mean a kid earning what £80 a week carrying £100k options short positions ????

    Crazy times they were............ :eek:

    But I DID learn valuable lessons in a short space of time :)
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