Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Recession Generation: Part 2

This is part Two of the article titled "Recession Generation: Part 1"

Lies I Was Told

Lie #1: Debt is Necessary 

The biggest lie debt tires to tell you is that you will be better off later, so go ahead and indulge now. debt tells you to get a "free" Master's degree, because you will make more money later to pay it off.  Debt tells you to buy a new car, because your Christmas bonus is only four months away. Debt tells you to buy a bigger house because it's a great investment, despite the 6% interest.  All of those things might be true, but they are not true all of the time.  What happens when the housing bubble pops, the value of your house goes down, your salary decreases, and you still owe 6% interest?  What happens when your company stops giving bonuses because their stock holders were unhappy with a doggy performance on Wall Street?  What happens when an injury or a pregnancy adds financial strain? 

Lie #2: Your Identity is Found in Your Possessions 

I grew up being told that there was a system: get good grades, get a degree, find a job, get married, buy a house, fill the house with all the things you love, save for retirement, and top it all off with endless games of golf on the east shore of Florida until you die.  

Sounds great, right?   According to this article, the average American carries $203,163 of debt.  The average American household income is about $51,000.  That means, that to pay off their debt, the average American would have to endure 4 years of slavery to pay off what they owe, without touching a single penny. 

Slavery?  Yes, slavery!  Debt is slavery.  Some debt can be forgiven, but student loan debt will follow you to your deathbed.  If the average American put ten percent of their income towards paying down their debt, and assuming that interest was non-existent, it would take 40 years to pay down their debt.  If that doesn't make you want to run for the hills and live in a yurt, the lie has worked its ways too far into your soul.
Debt helps you get an education, debt buys you a house, debt allows you to invest with money you haven't yet earned but, what debt doesn't tell you is that you will become a slave to it forever.  Once you get within the clutches of debt, it drags you down so deep that you will never have the chance to break free.  Every attempt will fail. 

From a young age I was taught by society that if you wanted to be a real woman you had to have the purse, the clothes, the accessories, the makeup, and the hair.  Your worth was increased by a Gucci shirt, while a shirt from a big box bargain store made you inferior.  Glossy magazines and celebrity TV shows preach that what you own creates your identity.  The older I got, the sillier this way of life seemed.  There was no way to win, you worked really hard to buy a new dress that would make you feel important and beautiful, but all it left you with was an empty wallet.   There was always going to be something better out next week or someone better dressed next to you.  This whole chasing after possessions is like digging in dry sand, it topples on you faster than you can dig.  

Lie #3: Stuff Brings Happiness 

We live in a society that tries to fill emotional voids with stuff: Depression can be fixed with a new set of nails and a pill, a breakup can be fixed with a new wardrobe, and manhood can be fixed with a faster car.  Our entertainment is consumption.  We are brainwashed into an endless cycle of earning and consuming.  Without some radical life changes, that cycle is bound to continue.  No one things it strange, since it is the norm.  To even consider rebelling against consumption is off of most of our society's radar. 

The Recession Changed Everything 

The Recession made us live lives of scarcity.  We could no longer just blindly consume.  A large proportion of the country struggled to keep their homes, retain their jobs, and put food on the table.  It made the country think about what was important and essential in life.  For more information, read the article, Food, Water Shelter: The Essentials for Life

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