Sunday, May 14, 2017

On Money and Debt

Wild mustangs running on the American plains
This week, I've been having conversations with people about money. And a number of these people were in debt and not just debt, but debt that's consuming and growing and taking on a life of its own.

The more I thought about it, the more I realized that such gross mis-management of money really shows the state of a person's heart and mind. The trend I find is that such debt reflects consumption rather, than contribution. (Ask any of these people, do they give to charity? I think you'll find they don't.)

And in the end, there's no amount that can satisfy the blackhole of need within. It kind of saddened me.

In any event, Western society runs on incredible debt. It seems like the American government (and others like it) are just on one big Ponzi Scheme, which I predict will end with my generation, which means we'll be ending up paying for the debt of the generation before us. (A Ponzi Scheme is when you have to steal from new investors to pay old bills, but you're not making any business. You're just scamming new customers to pay old customers.) That works for government, as long as the next population is larger than the previous one. It can also work if the next generation makes a lot more money per capital than the previous one. But apart from those two factors, such schemes are doomed to fail.

Sadly, people also run their lives on this kind of mentality. Just look at the high rate of interest these credit cards charge, but people still apply and use them.

In the end, it looks like property and debt are holding some people I know in bondage. It's certainly not freedom. I always thought that you own your properties, but in some cases, I see property owning people.

For instance, I know one guy who bought a German car he can't afford the maintenance on. So, he has to work another job to pay for the maintenance. Is his property working for him? Or is he working for his property?

Well, I've had debt too (for the first time in my life), from a non-dischargeable student loan that's enslaving the educated of my generation. Law school was expensive. When I left, I think UCLA Law was charging $45,000 a year for tuition. Some of my professors, who were part of the 1960's classes, were paying $800 a year for their tuition at UCLA Law. (I told you, the last generation is enslaving us.)

I'm happy to say I'm well on my way to paying it off soon. Then, I'll be throwing a big party to celebrate my financial freedom. It's taken a lot of self-discipline and self-restraint to get there.

But, I think I really enjoyed the journey of learning to live on less and still enjoy life and still give. It truly has been pleasurable.

Here's my insight this week on money. Richard Devos said "Money cannot buy peace of mind. It cannot heal ruptured relationships, or build meaning into a life that has none."

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