Tuesday, February 24, 2009


Idiot that I am, I have always paid my bills and lived at or below my income level. Craphole moneypit that it is, I got in to the Villa* by the skin of my teeth, and there were some mighty lean years, but I was never late with a mortgage payment. My income level was pretty damn modest, ipso fatso, so is my "lifestyle." But I paid off my credit cards every month, drove used cars, and didn't buy things I couldn't afford. I don't have any financial skills, I just don't like debt. I don't even like the idea of debt.

I wish there was some kind of conscience test for people who are going to benefit from a mortgage bailout. Are you in over your head because you lost your job, or because you tried to buy way, way more house than you could really afford? Are you upside-down because you put zero down? I think there are some first-time home buyers who really were suckered in by predatory lending. Maybe they didn't have a parent or someone to advise them. But I think a lot of people were just greedy. They bought $400,000 homes with ridiculous jumbo ARMs, and they couldn't put down a downpayment because they'd already maxed their credit cards. They should have been buying a $225,000 home with a 30-year fixed, and worked for a decade to pay off their credit cards.

Those are the bastards I don't want to help. I think they should lose their McMansion, and maybe declare bankruptcy, and dine on humble pie while they learn to pay their own way and spend less than they earn. Because you know who's paying to bail them out? Yes, bill-paying, tax-paying idiots (like me) and their children, and their grandchildren.

And the Wall Street whiners who "depend" on their annual bonus? Yeah, they should go down in flames; I'd pay to watch.
*Villa DeCay is my 97-year old bungalow; it cost $62,000 in 1988. And I put 5% down.


Kathy from NJ said...

I got into big credit card debt many many years ago and my parents bailed me out. The bailout came with stern lectures and some strong suggestions on how to live within my means.

I never again bought anything that I couldn't pay for immediately. Financially things were better after I got married but I continued to live frugally and started saving faithfully. When my husband became totally disabled my choices were to put him in a nursing home (at $300+ per day until our money was gone) or quit working for a salary and take care of him myself. My husband receives social security and we have some investment income but I am often amazed that we are able to live on so little money. I thank my parents every day for the lesson from all those years ago.

(And they were repaid the entire $250.)

La Cootina said...

Good for you, Kathy! That is wonderful. You were smart to seek help before you got any deeper. (I'm horrified when I see couples – especially in their 20s and 30s – who already have $20,000-$30,000 or more in credit card debt.) There is a tremendous satisfaction and sense of self-worth that comes from digging yourself out and solving your own problem.

Being able to distinguish what you want from what you need is an invaluable skill. That may be the most important thing parents can teach their children: happiness and fulfillment do not come from "stuff."