I've heard of the concept of dying broke, but I don't plan to leave this world as a deadbeat. I recently read an article by MSNMoney that claimed the United States might in fact be a nation of deadbeats. The article begged to differ with President Barack Obama's recent insistence that we are "not a nation of deadbeats."
According to the article, Americans in today's society have set records for default.
When I think about deadbeats, I think of parents who don't pay child support as well as people who walk away from their credit obligations including mortgages. However, I don't judge because I know no one wants to deal with unemployment or layoffs. Many people are just one or two paychecks away from losing their homes or being evicted.
Dealing with unemployment
I have friends who lost their jobs during the Great Recession. They were never behind on paying their bills before being laid off. According to the article, in the past five years people in the U. S. have walked away from $585 billion in debt. The figure works out to $6,000 per household. If household debt is growing in America, I think it's because of the economy as well as a poor example set by the senior citizen population or Baby Boomers.
My strategy for staying out of debt during the recession was to work as much as possible, diversifying my income stream in case I lost one source of income.
Understanding generation debt
As a Generation X female, I don't remember a time when people didn't use credit cards to pay for items they wanted. Many of the people in the younger generation don't have role models who demonstrate how to handle their personal finances without going into debt. Some of the Baby Boomers I know retired early even during the recession. One Baby Boomer I know just walked away from his credit card debt even though he could afford to pay his bills. Like many people in Generation X, I had to learn the hard way that using credit cards is a financial trap. My way of staying out of debt during the recession was to live below my means. I didn't give into every whim to make a purchase.
Leaving an inheritance
Financial experts say the Greatest Generation left decent inheritances for their children of the Silent and Baby Boomer generations. However, the new generation of seniors aren't as concerned about leaving anything for their children as much as they are worried about paying their credit card bills, some experts say. Of course, when parents die their children don't inherit their credit card debt. I don't want to die broke. I'd like to be able to pass on an inheritance for my children and grandchildren so they can have more freedom and choices in this world.
While I don't judge people for declaring bankruptcy or letting their homes fall into foreclosure during tough economic times, I don't respect those who manipulate the system. I don't respect deadbeat Boomers of the "me generation." They chase after material things without realizing their credit cards won't buy them back their youth anymore than it will buy them financial peace.
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