How We Can Learn From The Financial Problems Of Others

Our post earlier today about Chase’s sudden 150% increase in a couple’s minimum payment on their credit card debt brought out a lot of passionate comments from readers—and it also turned into a cesspool of blame. We see a lot of a particular type of sentiment on posts about credit card debt and money management, and it’s not helpful.

Why? Because we don’t know the full circumstances of the OP in any post. Here are some things that may be missing from your big picture overview:

  • their financial education up to this point
  • their employment history, including any lengthy periods of underemployment or unemployment
  • familial obligations such as caring for relatives, emergencies among extended family members, or helping others out of financial disasters
  • socioeconomic level (poverty tends to have its own gravitational force; it can be an enormous challenge to break free from it)
  • medical history and current medical situation
  • where they are at this point in their lives as far as paying off debts or becoming more fiscally responsible

When we post about financial situations, it’s so all of us can look at and learn from the particulars of that story. It’s not so we can make fun of them for suffering, or for attempting to solve their problems.

You can certainly share your own financial savviness with our community by posting comments that implore people—in a civil manner—to practice fiscal responsibility. Better still, provide examples of how you do it, or tips on how to transition from negative to positive net worth. Give advice. Offer examples and success stories from your own life. But this idea that people who are carrying debt deserve contempt or are somehow directly responsible for your own financial difficulties is pretty lame. If you truly are that awesome when it comes to money, the most helpful thing you can do is share that knowledge with the rest of our readership.

The more educated we all are about the topic, the better off we’ll all be.

Also, just for kicks, why not refresh your knowledge of the Consumerist Comments Code?

(Photo: Tela Chhe)