By John G. Merna, Esq.
The great American taboo of failure is perhaps one of the most convincing illusions we have played on ourselves. We fool each other into thinking that we are doing just fine without any difficulty when considering finances and money. Take two people talking about money and you will not likely see people admitting their struggles with money. It’s as if our financial health defines us as being better than others. Is it because we believe money or possessions are synonymous with success? Who wants to be a failure, right? If this country’s and many others financial ledgers are any indication of success, we are a planet of failures! We know that just isn’t true. It’s a con game we play (or try to play) on each other. The whole country is 17 TRILLION dollars in debt but somehow, me, myself and I manage to have plenty. Really?
No one is particularly willing to discuss the debt we have because it is uncomfortable. If you earn $20,000 a year or $130,000 a year, debt is most likely a mechanism in your life. If you have a car or a home, you most likely have debt. If you are starting out in life, debt is almost unavoidable. Today, the average American owes approximately $47,000. Our average debt is more than most of us earn in a year ($41, 673.83 according to the Social Security Administration in 2010).
There are people that avoid the debt trap of modern life. There are those that save and can wait for the things they want. They manage money well and understand the value of savings. But those people aren’t in trouble. Those people do not need help getting out from under the burden of debt and what is more, recover from it. It is important that you know debt is everywhere you look. Debt is in the buildings going up downtown, it’s parked in driveways, it’s hot on the table in restaurants and sparkling on the fingers of your friends. Unless you are without a mortgage, a car payment, a student loan, credit card or installment loan… you are in debt. Period. Now raise your hand if your are debt free. Anyone? Bueller?
How long can you be in debt before trouble sets in is up to you, luck and our economy.
More on these issues coming up!
Archive: Bankruptcy & Debt