Is there resentment when the irresponsible join the ranks of the responsible?
When I started my blog, I had no idea there were actually hundreds of blogs with similar goals in personal finance. I just wanted to write about money and debt in order to gain a better understanding of it and change my own situation permanently. Looking back, I am amazed at how long I simply lived with debt and regularly made poor financial decisions without ever thinking for the long-term. I am really glad I made the decision to stop being broke all the time and figure out what I needed to get it together. Along the way, a lot of cool bloggers have come by to comment and offer support. The majority of money bloggers are positive people who understand the value of encouraging your fellow man in pursuit of their goals. Put another way, they’re not haters. For that, I am extremely grateful. I’d been embarrassed about my debt for so long and never really talked about it with anyone and had no idea how to take the first step to change my ways. It was nice to put my situation out there and receive encouragement and advice in return. Plenty of people go into debt for college degrees, medical bills or even investments or real estate that doesn’t pan out. I have no such good excuse. I just liked spending money on shiny things and partying and plane tickets and I didn’t think that not having money was a good enough reason to stop me from doing anything. Now, of course, my debt is holding me back from building the businesses and products that can completely change my life. So I’ve been better about money because being financially sound will provide me real freedom, long-lasting freedom to do what I want to do, not just a temporary escape financed with debt.
I was irresponsible for a long time. A lot of people are. A recent Economist article put it this way: “Consumers are now engaged in a long, hard process of shedding debt and learning to live within their means.” Does that sound familiar to anyone else? But it made me wonder: do some of those bloggers who seem to have a lot of disdain for the “debt bloggers” resent us because we were once irresponsible and now we’re joining the ranks of the responsible and proclaiming it proudly for everyone to congratulate us and maybe do a little self-congratulating and back-patting ourselves? Does that just annoy them because they think: “What’s the big freaking deal here, people, I haven’t been in debt my whole life! I’ve never paid a cent of interest besides business and mortage loans! I don’t see anyone patting ME on the back!”
I think I get it. I can be honest, I have felt a similar twinge of resentment at times when someone is very vocal about being in recovery or rehab. On the one hand, I am happy they are able to turn their lives around (that’s what I am trying to do). Their friends or peers might be discussing them glowingly and applauding them and praising their efforts. I’m not going to lie, somewhere in the back of my head I have a horribly judgmental thought in those moments, “Well, I never got addicted to anything! How come no one’s praising ME?”
And that’s exactly the point, isn’t it? I’ve never been addicted to anything (besides avocados and quesadillas, but I think we’re talking about addictive substances) and so I have no concept of trying to quit a substance. To me, it seems easy as hell to quit drinking or smoking. And to some of you, consumer debt is mind-bogglingly idiotic. It seems pointless and repetitive to write about debt. And maybe there’s a little twinge of resentment: do we really need to applaud people for getting out of debt they could have avoided in the first place? Maybe. Maybe not. But if it’s working and changing people’s lives around, why hate on them?
Not paying for expenses with debt is the first step to changing your financial future. I am staying focused on that and if other people who are looking for ways to get out of debt get inspired by my progress, then my blog has accomplished its goal. It’s great that there are responsible people out there who never got into debt and can give real life advice on building wealth, understanding taxation issues, and analyzing investments. I like Financial Mentor and Money Mamba for that. But the people who have climbed out of debt and went from being irresponsible to responsible are just as interesting to me and offer the most worthwhile reading for the average indebted household with $14,517 in debt.
(BTW- no blogger has directly said anything mean-spirited about my blog that I know of, I’ve just noticed the tone of some bloggers and that lead to this post. My readers have been nothing but ridiculously kind and supportive even though my writing is nowhere close to what I want it to be. That’s OK. Keep trying, I tell myself.)
What do you think? Do some bloggers have a chip on their shoulder about the debt bloggers? Do other bloggers have a chip on their shoulder about the wealth bloggers? Should we all just stop worrying so much about other people’s siutations? Let me know!