Last night the ABC screened a programme on Four Corners about the debt crisis and focused on one family in the outer suburbs of Sydney who were losing their house. You can see the programme by visiting www.abc.net.au/fourcorners.
The wife in the story spoke about how they had huge debts because the banks 'let them'. Credit counsellors spoke of people in good jobs visiting charities for food because they had 'maxed out' their credit cards and couldn't keep up with their mortgage payments.
Am I heartless for thinking ' as you sow, so you reap' ? I noticed that the house that was being repossessed was far from your three bedroom, one bathroom style of place. It was huge ! Whatever happened to starting out small with a cardboard box under a piece of material for the coffee table? Or having hand me down furniture for some time ? Why do you have to have the huge stylish house the moment you are married. There is not much scope to move if interest rates go up or the wife falls pregnant and can't contribute to the mortgage repayments. But are the banks to blame ? That's like saying McDonalds is to blame for our obesity because they say 'do you want fries with that' and we respond 'yes'. Where is the self responsibility and self accountability ?
We live in a small cottage style house. We have been renovating it for over 11 years now! LOL Well... what I mean, is that the house changes as our family grows. We have taken out walls, closed in verandas, built on to the back of it. It expands as we do. Sometimes I think it will be lovely to move to a bigger, newer, place. When I think about it though it's mostly for the land space, not necessarily the size of the house.
The one thing that keeps me here is that we own it. We finished our mortgage and it's ours. That allows me to sleep at night. I am not trapped in a job I hate because of mortgage payments. I am not worried by interest rate rises.
Our house is not much in some people's books. We could 'afford' a much better home and could, if we wanted to spend our savings, have the 5 acres out of town. But at the end of the day, this is the home where my children were born. It holds our family memories. It is the place that I am so happy to return to when I get home from work. I don't need to impress anyone with my wealth or make out that I am richer than I appear. I don't feel inclined to keep up with the Jones'.
I blame television and advertising for a lot of what is wrong with our lives today. I call it the 'marketing devil'. From advertisers there is a constant message - "go on, you deserve it !" ( said with satanical voice) " you work hard, you know you need it" " think about yourself". etc
It began in the 1950s when they started telling women that they had more 'important' things to do than be stuck in the kitchen, cooking meals for the family! Things have gone down hill rapidly from there until we are told ' buy now, don't worry about paying, you deserve it, pay it back in four years time, you work hard, you deserve it, you want it, you need it, GO ON, life is short" unfortunately for some, life at 28% interest is somewhat longer than they had envisaged!
Anyway....... I'll get down off the soap box now. Epicurus, the Greek philosopher thought that we were after three main things in life...... Good food, Good friends and an analysed free life. When we see advertising portraying a group of people escaping for the weekend in a brand new car, we actually want the friendships and freedom, so we buy the car. Have a look at these elements in advertising and you will soon be a wake up to their ploy . We buy products when what we really want is the lifestyle that goes with them. If you limit yours and your children's exposure to advertising, you don't get bombarded with that feeling that you are missing out, or can't keep up or are inadequate and need
to fix the problem.
I stand by my position that if it wasn't for credit cards and mortgage redraw facilities we would be in a 1930s style depression. How would you and your family go if you had to work off cash only. Could you do it ? I find it works for us... and most of all it brings tremendous peace !
Let me know what you think.