Before I start, I gotta tell ya… I’m so stoked about the mattress giveaway we posted yesterday. We love sharing companies we love, but being able to give back in some small way to all of you for reading just takes the cake. And we have another awesome giveaway coming up next week, too, so stay tuned!
Lately, Johnny and I have stumbled across some really interesting personal finance articles. Last week, we shared the article about states’ income-happiness threshold, and we loved reading your thoughts on that topic. So I wanted to share another one today that made a splash in the news this week. A study found that 35% of Americans are delinquent on their debt payments. I wasn’t sure what “delinquent” meant (and Johnny only knew that his parents always called him a “juvenile” one). But reading the study further, it refers to having debt that’s “so far past due that the account has been closed and placed in collections … [which] … typically happens after the bill hasn’t been paid for 180 days.”
After reading the article, I didn’t really know how to react. All I know is that I just felt kind of sick to my stomach. Debt is, unfortunately, a reality that almost all of us face, but delinquent debt is happening to 35% of our country. And there are 13 states where over 40% of the population has debt in collections, including my sweet home state of Alabama.
I wish I knew how this has happened to such a significant portion of our population. Personal responsibility is certainly a factor, but I think there’s a deeper problem here. I think the real issue is a lack of financial education and awareness. The topic of debt and how to avoid it was never a conversation I remember having at home or school. I never understood how important saving was, either. And if I hadn’t married a natural saver like Johnny, I’d still probably be spending every dollar to my name.
So what happens when we aren’t taught to avoid debt, and we see those around us living with debt, and so we just assume it’s okay and live with it, and our kids will live with it, etc. Or maybe that isn’t the problem at all. Maybe the problem is entitlement and thinking we all deserve to have everything, even if we don’t really have the money to have everything. I really don’t know. But having lived under the Debt Monster’s reign for almost six years (four as a couple), it pains me to know how widespread this epidemic is.
So what’s the problem? And what’s the solution?