Rhymes With Fuchsia

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Crunchy Granola

A brief follow-up on my credit-crunch post: predictably, a couple of people felt I was too sympathetic to deadbeats. Truth is, in real life Grant and I are almost pathologically risk-averse: rather than leverage everything from our underwear up to invest in the tech boom or the real-estate boom, we keep plodding along, avoiding debt as though it were our crazy Aunt Martha, and as a result we'll never get rich, but we're also much less likely to find ourselves indecently exposed when the bottom falls out (as it were). And now and then I've given in to the strong temptation to feel superior to the folks who are one late payment away from foreclosure, because, after all, the terms and conditions however usurious are spelled out in the fine print, a debt is an obligation to repay, people ought to know these things, we've become a nation of grasshoppers, bankruptcy no longer carries a stigma, o tempora, o mores.

But most of the hand-wringing I've seen along these lines looks only at the debtor side of the coin. I'd bet my skivvies those brazen bankrupts of lender lore are far outnumbered by the Mr. Potters who seem to have hung out a shingle on every street corner. Where is the stigma attached to taking advantage of the poor, the ill-informed, and the underpaid?

And Grant and I may be risk-averse, but we're also lucky. In a ton of ways, I realize once I start to count them up, we've been in the right place at the right time, through no effort or virtue of our own.

I found a couple of interesting links on the subject. The incomparable Fred addresses credit scores with his usual wit and verve; and on a new-to-me blog Tanta lays out subprime 101. If, like me, you look at the whole fiasco and wonder "what were they thinking?", you'll be fascinated by this post.

5 Comments:

  • I am about to take on some student debt and that worries me. I finally became totally free of consumer debt a year ago, and the idea of returning to owing anybody anything is... scary.

    By Blogger Will Pillage For Yarn, at 3:38 AM  

  • Your first paragraph made me think of drop-seat underwear!

    That's how we tend to live, too. We were lucky to buy a house when the market was down, and while we were a two-income, no-kids couple, we paid that loan off. "Move", in my vocabulary, is a 4-letter word. We didn't invest in our house, we live in it.

    A lot of the people with million-dollar lakeshore "cabins" up here have less that they actually own in the sense of "it's paid for and we have clear title" than we do.

    By Blogger Alwen, at 9:05 AM  

  • It's interesting that when someone is successful in stocks or real estate, they refer to it as "Making a killing." In order for that to happen, someone else has to die. The rich get richer, the poor get poorer, there's a sucker born every minute, and you can't cheat an honest man. The only reason these tired old cliches hang on is because - - they're true.

    By Blogger Roxie, at 9:38 AM  

  • I'm with ya here... too late for me to go reading anything educational (kidding...). Our mortgage payment is way less than an apartment rental... we're out from our student loand about a dozen years, and there isn't anything else (except a monthly credit statement but that gets paid off each month). Whoo and hoo! Hey, the t-shirt arrived in Australia already and he likes it! Rick said that you may have some more orders, he's been wearing it around his therapy gym. So I emailed him Grant's url.

    By Blogger knitnzu, at 10:37 PM  

  • I believe that in the housing mess, some committed fraud and some were taken advantage of. I truly feel bad for those who were deceived or faced unfortunate circumstances (lost jobs, medical issues, etc).

    DH & I are able to squirrel money away, and we constantly remind ourselves that we are lucky to be able to.

    By Blogger Nicole, at 6:23 PM  

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