Financial Challenges of the Modern American Society
University of Bridgeport
Nov ’19 Financial Champion
Where in the past, men feared for the souls at the thoughts of temptation. Now men fear that this temptress will ruin their lives. The modern temptress of debt, but more broadly that of credit.
Why? The modern world runs on the stuff, and like some great addiction when we are not educated on its dangers, it may rise to consume us.
In my few years of adulthood, I have learned many lessons about finance either directly or indirectly. I have learned that credit is not free, that instant gratification can lead to long term suffering, and above all else, I have learned the value of a dollar to a hard day’s work.
Credit is not free
When I was in high school, they tried to teach me about the theories of opportunity cost, and the idea that There Is No Such Thing As Free Lunch (TINSTAFL). To me, those were just words, until I was on my own for the first time and living on my credit card.
Federal loans covered my schooling costs, so why not buy myself some nice things on credit? Well, the first thing to deal with is the immediate costs, if you spend more than you make, you will spend way more trying to dig yourself out of debt than whatever it was I bought. I spent the following three-four years paying off the debt I had accrued through my short-sightedness while I would soon also be facing the bills of adulthood.
The long term suffering that comes from credit or debit is not the initial amount; it is not even the interest, though that isn’t very pleasant; it comes from the loss of income. I do not mean you are making less money, rather than the money you make is being spent before you can use it paying off your past purchases.
When your money gets locked in, then you have less to spend. The less money you can spend, the less you can have. Short-sightedness can mean that you have a few years of bliss before the whole house of cards comes crashing down on you.
Lessons That I Have Learned
When your money is tied up because of your spending habits, you tend to learn to appreciate how far what money you do have can go. I suppose that is the only benefit you can hope to receive from childish spending. When you suffer and are forced to learn through hardship, the message will sink in.
It makes me think back to when I was in school all the things that I took for granted, wasted. Through struggle, we learn. This is how I learned the risks of spending money I did not have. A statement that may sound like common sense, but how many of us actually live by that? How many of us go our lives without debt?
In my adulthood, I have faced credit, debt, and hardship. I have learned perhaps the greatest lesson we will learn in our time on this Earth: temperance and discipline.