Why don’t you have money?

A study by TransUnion found that non-mortgage debt levels are at an eight-year high in Canada to the tune of $26, 221 in the second quarter.

Anecdote #1: Obligatory waitressing story

I recently had a table that was a young couple about my age. They were slightly odd and when the bill came and the total was about $47, the young man asked if he could put $43 on his card and the young woman would cover the rest plus tip. I found it incredibly strange that one of them wasn’t picking up the whopping $47 and I found it even stranger that he chose to pay 91.4% of the bill. I found it even STRANGER that his card declined.

…I found it even stranger still that he asked to put $40 on his card and that that amount went through. Awesome, you have $40 credit to your name and you are kind enough to treat your girlfriend to 91.4% of a meal. Such a charmer you are!

Why you don’t have money: You eat out at restaurants on money that isn’t yours. So much so that you’ve got $40 of credit left.

Delicious, but not free.

Anecdote #2: Friends with kids

I have a friend who has two kids and about $25,000 of debt. She doesn’t seem to be in a huge rush to work and I can understand it. After all, daycare costs are incredibly high and could very possibly amount to the wages of an entry-level position. She is currently off traveling and eating lobsters or something.

Why you don’t have money: You travel when you should be paying off debt.

Paradise, but not free.

Anecdote #3: A certain ‘friend’ of mine

My ‘friend’ decided she was entitled to tons of vacations after graduating from university, regardless of the fact that she hadn’t secured full time employment and had a mound of debt. My ‘friend’ looked for work for eight months after graduating and racked up a pile of credit card debt to add to the pile of student loan debt. She was convinced her dream job was just around the corner so she didn’t bother working part time while looking.

Confessions of a former-debtee

If you didn’t guess, my ‘friend’ = me. I’m not perfect either (as much as I like to think so!). I’ve been there and I’ve done that and I’ve lived to blog the story. I’ve been through the muddy trenches of debt and somehow pulled myself through. So although this post was meant to yell at everyone in debt, I get it. I get it but it isn’t right. Why do we feel like we deserve things that we haven’t earned through hard work and saving? Why do we continue to spend money as if we’re working when we’re out of work?

I think my anecdotes illustrate the answer perfectly: we think we deserve things whether we earn them or not. We want nice trips, nice meals, nice clothes, and just about everything else we can’t afford. We don’t want to wait until we have the money; we want it now.

…Of course we aren’t the only ones at fault. Banks and other lenders are moneymaking entities. Over the past few years, some banks have gotten better at educating people about money, but at the end of the day they aren’t in it for you. If they were, they wouldn’t be handing out mortgages to those that clearly can’t afford them or doling out credit cards with several thousand dollar limits to those with little to no income.

That being said, you can’t blame the big bad bank. Educate yourself. Here are some examples of websites that advocate financial literacy:

Practical money skills

Financial Consumer Agency of Canada

Gail Vaz-Oxlade

Get Smart About Money

Last but not least, consult the personal finance community! They’re a nice bunch and there is absolutely no shortage of great people and posts related to financial literacy. I’ve included some of my favourites over in my blog roll to the right.

I can tell everyone firsthand that getting out of debt isn’t fun. You’ll have to go on a travel ban. You probably can’t buy a new dress for that wedding coming up. You’ll definitely have to skip out on that weekend road trip. I’ve done it all. But I can tell you that it isn’t permanent.

And in the end, it’s absolutely worth it.


6 thoughts on “Why don’t you have money?

  1. haha, as a server myself I’ve definitely witnessed the same stuff. I work in a pretty upscale place, and his/his girlfriends $160 meal was declined on his card. So he made a call and sat in the restaurant and waited.. while his MOM transferred money into his account. It was extremely awkward. Why someone would go to an expensive dinner when they don’t even have $200 in their account is beyond me ! I can’t lie, I have a lot of student debt because I was stupid, but I am working my way out and like you realize the error of my ways. All I can think is that it’s great for us to learn these lessons early, instead of in 20 years when we have less time left to get out of the hole and start saving for retirement!

    • I totally agree! Sometimes I panic and think that I’m too late in saving but totally not true! We’re young and have tons of time. The fact that we’ve even recognized that there is/was an issue and smartened up makes us better off than most of the population sadly.

      As for the server story – first of all, great to find a fellow server on the interwebs! Second of all, WOW to that couple! How embarrassing for them and how uncomfortable that must’ve been for you?! Sounds like he’s going to do great in life…

    • Oh totally! It’s like we’re programmed to think we should have it all at a very early age. I’ve finally come to realize that I shouldn’t have it all. Only the things I earn!

  2. Pingback: Link love (Powered by mascarpone and early nights) | Musings of an Abstract Aucklander

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