Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Economic Cynicism

The more I live with myself, the more I realize I'm a totaly cynic. While I don't have a hard time thinking well of those who I know, I find it nearly impossible to think well of the people in general.

Here's an example. Yesterday I had the noon news on keeping me company while Allison napped. They were reporting on President Obama's agenda for the week, including that he signed the (joke of a) stimulus bill in Denver and then was headed to Arizona, partly becuase of how hard it had been hit by foreclosures. Apparently 4500 last month. Who knew? Anyway, the go on talking about Arizona and talking to some lady (I wasn't really paying much attention), but the story ended on a talking head of this lady saying "The President needs to stop the forclosures here."

WHAT? Okay, I get that times are tough. I get that some people are losing their jobs. I get that some mortgages have adjusted up making payments higher and leading people to get behind on their payments. But while I'm thinking this, I can't help but this "If you weren't so darned concerned with keeping up with the Jones', maybe you'd be far more capable of keeping up with your mortgage."

Like I said, I'm cynical. I just have the hardest time listening to these people whine and even caring. I keep thinking... you did it to yourself. I mean... really, did you need to half or three-quarters of a million dollar home? Probably not. You wanted it. And what else did you not really need, but wanted and bought (often on credit) anyway? And now that you can't afford it, what, someone else is supposed to pay the cost of your self-indulgent want? I listen to "everyone" say that the economy stinks and life is hard. But really... should it be effecting the generally masses this much? I'm mean, the unemployment rate might be getting high, but last I check an 8% unemployment rate meant that 92% of Americans still have a job. Think about it for a second...
I know that some people really are hurting... some people really have lost their jobs and are struggling to make ends meet. But doesn't anyone plan for the rainy day anymore?

What if people set and actually lived on a budget? What if people purchased a house to meet their needs, as opposed to a house that fulfilled their every whim and made them look good the the neighbors? What if people had saved money towards things they wanted instead of putting it on a credit card or financing it? What if people planned to actually save money... planned for emergencies... had money socked away for the what ifs? Would any of this be an issue?

All I know is this: Brian and I don't make a lot of money. We qualify for some state assistance (WIC, and Allison is on CHIP). But what we make is enough. We budget it fairly meticulously, have enough to meet all of our needs and obligations, and even enough to fulfill some of our wants. We have a little money saved for just in case. And this "crisis" hasn't effected us (okay... it might be making getting a job post-graudation a little harder. And now we totally plan to save towards a 20% downpayment on a house, which delays us owning our own home).

Maybe the lesson in all of this is that we all need to follow sound wisdom: Live within your means, save for a rainy day and work (and save) for the things you want. Is it always fun? No. Is it instant gratification? Definantly not! But, it is safe, sound advice.


The Thornocks said...

I totally agree, every word!

Laura Marriott said...

Me, too. Every word.

Chad said...

AMEN SISTA!!!! I have had this argument so many times that it makes my head spin. Why should I (read we) buy that persons house? I think you hit the nail on the head.

Stephenie said...

It's easy to paint everyone who is in foreclosure with a brush of overspending and irresponsibility.But there are stories behind these people. Sure, some of them were living beyond their means, but some of us were truly affected by the economy. We were living well within our means. My husband had a stable, good paying job with benefits. I worked part time. Then, our son was born and spent lots of time in intensive care. At 10 thousand dollars a night. Before any test was run, before a doctor touched him. Our medical bills were well over $200,000 and insurance only covered 80% of those. We made "too much" to qualify for any help. With 23 different sources for these bills (every doctor, lab, etc bills separately) we had a lot of payments to come up with every single month. We tried and tried to make ends meet and we just barley did. I had taken some time off work to deal with my son's medical issues and guess what- by the time he had few enough appointments for me to go back to work, there wasn't a job for me anymore. Around the same time, my husband's job started laying people off left and right. 80% of the staff had been he started to look for a new job. As did I. I applied to dozens and dozens of places and only had one interview... and got no job. My husband found a job, but it paid significantly less than his last one, but is very stable. Then I found out I was pregnant and looked so about a week later... no one was going to give me a job. I tried... and failed. So we tried to sell our house. Only to find out it was worth about 80 thousand less than we owed on our mortgage. We found a buyer for a short sale. The bank said they would accept the offer and to get out so the new buyer could get in. We did. When it did not go through the next month like they said and we were already in a rental, we had no choice but to miss a payment.... the same with the next month and the next... now we sit five months after they told us to "get out" and it's still waiting to be approved. And if it does not get approved we will end up with it foreclosed on. I am not saying we were without fault... but we tried every single avenue to pay our bills. We tried to work with the bank. We're still trying to work with them. We took their advice to a "t" and we're screwed.

Yes, there are a lot of people out there who just spent and spent. And then there are people like us who fell victim to an overinflated housing bubble that burst combined with hard times and circumstance. It's easy to judge something you've never been through, but sitting in the midst of it, it is much easier to see the tree for the forest.

Stephenie said...

Just as an add-on... I don't expect nor would I accept any sort of government money to keep my home. I just wanted to point out that not everyone in that situation was an irresponsible idiot.

Rosie said...

Absolutely Steph. I'm not trying to say that real people aren't hurting. There are absolutely people who have been hit hard by the downturn and in spite of being responsible and making all efforts to meet their obligations, can't. Those are not the people that make me crazy. Hope I didn't offend you. =)

Stephenie said...

Not offended, just trying to put it into perspective. It's easy to think of it as a bunch of irresponsible people getting what they deserve when there is not a face to put with it... but this economic crisis is real and has real victims.

Hope all is well you you :)