Debt Unicorn (again)

March 21, 2011 · 7 comments

I might as well change my name from Ninja to Lisa Frank, because I freakin’ love Unicorns. While I was exploring Germany this weekend, I came across a store called ‘Unicorn’. I thought I died and went to Unicorn Heaven! Anyhow, when I saw that store it reminded me of an article I wrote a while back (one most of you probably haven’t read) about Debt and Unicorns. I think it’s worth reposting today…

I’m convinced whoever decided to draw a horn on a horse, and call it a unicorn, is also responsible for fabricating the idea that debt is a reasonable way of life. Seriously, it takes a very creative mind, or at least a lot of drugs, to make unicorns and debt popular. It boggles my mind.

I think debt is rooted in complacency (whoa that sounded kinda deep). There is nothing wrong with being content, but complacency frustrates me. Flat screen TVs, new cars, an overpriced home, and stainless steel appliances, are how prestige is sought. Keepin’ up with the Joneses is the American Dream. People with $40K annual incomes are living a six-figure lifestyle.

Don’t get me wrong, I have no beef with nice homes, luxury vehicles, or energy efficient appliances. Actually, I think they are all awesome, and one day, I hope to own these things, but guess what…. I don’t. I refuse to conform to the norms of society, when those “norms” are self destructive.

I drool at the sight of a plasma TV, but realize that the benefits of the TV (high definition/sexiness), don’t even come close to outweighing the negatives (decrease in net worth, more TV watching=less productivity, a desire to then increase sound equipment/dvd player/etc). So although the Joneses may have a plasma in every room of their house, I know that my life is actually better without.

Look at this picture of a Unicorn and tell me that’s not one crazy looking animal…

Now look at your credit card statement, and tell me your balance isn’t even more crazy! You can hang out with the Joneses all you’d like, but I think I’m gonna keep kickin’ it with my PF homies and increasing my quality of life and net worth.

Why do you think America has become complacent with debt? Where did we go wrong? Has it ALWAYS been this way? Do you think we learned anything from the recent recession?

1 CityFlips

I’m with ya. Not to say I’m a saint. I haven’t always been debt free. I get pretty frustrated when I realize I’m comparing myself to others and wishing I had things they have. The “keeping up with the Jones” situation has certainly gotten a lot of people in a big mess. Not sure how to break the cycle, but I hope it’s broken soon!

2 Larry

“Why do you think America has become complacent with debt? Where did we go wrong? Has it ALWAYS been this way? Do you think we learned anything from the recent recession?”

Here, read:
http://www.ihatedebt.com/ALookatDebt/TheHistoryofDebtinAmerica/AHistoryofDebtinAmerica.pdf

3 Jennifer

I remember when my husband and I were first dating, we got into a discussion about debt, and his stance was that debt was OK, it helped build your credit, and I was crazy for not having any. This started a pretty heated debate, and I found out that his entire family lived their lives this way (they buy EVEYTHING on credit!) Thankfully, I have been able to knock some sense into him (metaphorically, not literally – I promise I don’t beat my husband – lol) and he is now on the same page as I am. The only debt we have is our mortgage, and that will get paid off well before the 30 years. I guess how you are raised really does play a huge role in how you live your life and manage your finances. I was raised with the notion that debt is bad, you should never put more on your credit card than you can pay off each month, don’t buy anything big (with the exception of a house, and even then, always put at least 20% down to avoid mortgage insurance) unless you have the cash to pay for it, etc. I had never met anyone who actually viewed buying everything on credit as the smart way to live financially until I met my husband. Now he is almost more frugal than I am. I am so proud :)

4 krantcents

Some have become complacent! Controlling your spending takes discipline and not everyone has it. Accumulating debt rewards you with things that they want. The problem is you have to pay off the debt!

5 Kim

It goes hand-in-hand with laziness because many of us are handed things. We’re a declining empire and as a result, complacency will be gone by…the time our great-grandchildren are of age & the country is in the toilet.

6 Kim

PS – I love that you wrote about lisa frank. do the kiddies still like her stickers?

7 unavocis

Dear PDITF, I (hope I) have the pleasure, as another unicorn lover (no– really!), to introduce you to the poetic magic that is http://www.cornify.com. Simply upload an innocuous image and watch as it is transformed into something, well, magical.
That is all I dare say.

Except that I also love me some Jesus. For real.

xo UV

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