I’ve been reading quite a bit lately and the blogs/newspaper articles that have been grabbing my attention all center around debt and consequences. And while this seemingly has nothing to do with real estate investing it does speak to the mindset of many of the people that you and I know. And the debt mindset has an effect on how much our money costs when we do borrow and filters down into every consumer item you and I touch.
(In the interest of full disclosure I am not now, nor have I ever been since the age of 18, debt free. Besides my houses I have a car payment and a couple of other miscellaneous debts. So I too am a part of the problem.)
Jeff Brown had an article yesterday talking about Social Security, the Boomer generation and the probable lack of funding for future generations. It’s a read definitely worth your time. And don’t forget to take a few minutes and go through the comments. You should also take the link jump over to Brian Brady’s blog and thoughts on the subject.
Then in today’s Opinion section of the Kansas City Star Lewis Diuguid has an op-ed piece that has some numbers I haven’t seen before;
- At the end of 2006 US residents owed $745 billion on general-purpose credit cards… up $34 billion from the previous year.
- The savings rate for 2006 was NEGATIVE 1%.
- 13% of all credit cards have balances of more than $25,000.
- The national debt now stands at $9,815 trillion.
Reading those numbers and knowing how our government works you cannot help but know that taxes will start going up to pay for a whole lot of people who chose cable television, SUV’s and lavish vacations over savings. (Not everyone, but a good many.)
Younger generations are headed for uncertain times in which they’ll be taxed to pay for their parents’ and grandparents’ retirements as well as having the additional burden of saving out of pocket for their own.
If the government continues to lower interest rates to prop up the ease of additional debt I’m really not sure with whom to be upset. The American population’s appetite for instant gratification has gotten us to a point were financial disaster looms for tens of millions. And with our own government so far in debt (can you conceptualize $10 trillion?) there is really no way they are going to be able to help. Not in a manner that doesn’t cost you and I a lot of cold hard cash…or maybe we’ll just pay our taxes with our credit cards.