Did anyone hear this episode of The Story, in which a couple discusses their experience with near-foreclosure and their life completely changing? (I've been working on painting the basement ceiling, you see, which is a horrifyingly slow job, and nothing passes the time and keeps my interest like a good podcast.) Anyway, I was with these folks right up until the time they mentioned that the lost job that triggered the downward financial spiral had been providing a 5 figure monthly income.
It's possible that I'm just all wrong about the demographics of my readership, but let's let that sink in for a bit.
I try to make it a habit not to get judge-y about this kind of thing because I do believe that almost none of us receive good financial education and on top of that, there are lots of companies that make it very easy for all of us to believe that we are entitled to certain things and that we can and should spend money on stuff that is a little out of our reach financially. And of course, everyone makes mistakes, yadda yadda yadda. And and and FRANKLY, when I do the math, for this modern expensive world with all of the things that we are meant to believe we need, $120K min per year is not all that much money. I can't believe I'm actually saying that and ten years ago I lived on like 12% of that amount--but depending on where you live in the U.S., it's true.
My basic problem here, however, is that I can't relate, like, at all. Again, maybe I'm misjudging my readership, but gentle bitches, imagine for a moment that you have an income of at the very least $10K per month and you still have student loans and credit card debt and you owe back taxes (though maybe the taxes came later in the story, after the house). Would you go house-hunting and if so, would you fricking do it in L.A. in 2006 and if so, would you buy a house with a mortgage payment that is worrisome to you from the get-go, knowing also that you will need to put a bunch of money into the house? Whatever other craptastical situations I might get myself into in life, I am positive that that particular situation will never be one of them.
I've actually been sitting on this post for a few days because I realized that what I was writing was pretty much just uselessly judgmental and doesn't come to any conclusions. Certainly, there are hundreds of other eps of The Story that I don't specifically relate to and I manage to be interested in and moved by them (remember that mantra about replacing judgment with curiosity)? And regarding one's income and the bills one pays with that income, it's probably true that most people are like koi, expanding to fit their environments instead of keeping things small and manageable--i.e., if you have a big income you're going to let your expenses increase because you can afford it.
So what's my problem? Is it the blue collar roots of my peoples showing? My inherited and cultivated frugality creating a kind of disdain for privileged people who let their finances run away from them? I guess that's probably part of it. Bless these nearly-foreclosed folks for finding their way out of it and figuring out what's really important along the way (hint: it's not material possessions!), but for me, they're not sympathetic characters. They were in a position to know better.
I was actually going to connect all of this to screed on why I can't really read fashion bloggers (except Tavi), but since that is likely to be directionless and judgmental too, I'm going to shut it down and go paint the basement some more.