Modern People: Can’t save, Won’t save
Have you ever noticed that when you want someone to give you something useful for free (or sometimes even for money), such as the Government, there are pages and pages of forms to fill out, hour-long queues to stand in and innumerable supporting documents to bring with you? But when it comes to paying a bill, it’s just a swipe of a card, a click of a button. It’s because, when something is in your interests, you do all the work. Getting robbed takes very little effort at all.
Two pieces of news came out at almost the same time in Australia regarding the housing market and banking sectors:
- House sales are rising sharply (4.2% in March, on the back of a similar trend since January)
- Bad debts are eroding the profits of the major banks. The latest, ANZ, reported a 43% fall in its cash profit.
This is on the background of rising unemployment, no evidence of a real turnaround in the global economy, the new threat of Swine Flu (real or imagined) and the Australian Government’s desire to boost military funding (yet some how crawl itself towards a balanced budget over years), which implies that first home buyer grants, gratuitous thousand-dollar cheques in the mail and mortgage relief programs are a thing of the present but not the near future.
If you had no significant savings, an unsteady job, the threat of dying of pneumonia over the next two months and read about all the dire economic news as abounds in the media, would you take out a mortgage on a house? Before you say no, remember that a whole lot of people are saying yes. They are probably saying yes because, in amongst all the negative facts, there are a few ‘experts’ giving glowing opinions of an imminent turnaround in the world economy. Of course they don’t have a vested interest in off-loading their own bad investments, do they?
A good proportion of those people who are buying new homes today must be oblivious to what’s coming to them. Have they got life insurance? Income protection insurance? If not, how are their spouse and children going to manage without them if something should happen? Who will pay the debt? Whereas before, those families entering a mortgage agreement only had to worry about next week’s rent, now they are faced with the next thirty years on the property which, who knows, may be worthless in a short while, because they and many others will be forced to sell. It’s a big risk to take if you have dependents to look after. Even those with insurance can’t depend on the insurer paying out in the long run. Many of those institutions might still be wiped out.
It’s so obvious that it hardly needs saying, that people, in general, cannot save money. Have money, will spend. Offer people a ‘bonus’, and they’ll go and get pregnant, even if they don’t want children. Offer a bonus, and they’ll spend it on Chinese electronic goods, or buy something on-line at a store located outside Australia. Offer a bonus (FHB grant), and people will sign themselves into a thirty year mortgage with a bank (heartless, soulless). Nobody seems to have a sense of danger. Perhaps it’s because they no longer remember fairy tales, with their big bad wolves, village destroying giants, deceiving witches, poverty stricken children, cruel step-mothers, lazy rabbits, poor widows and pestilence. Instead, it’s all Post-man Pat, the Telletubbies, Thomas the Tank Engine and those brain-numbing Wiggles. For the current home-buying generation, though, it was probably Fat Cat and Friends, Playschool and Sesame Street. That stuff wasn’t even well presented, let alone equally content-free.
What hope is there for these first home buyers, when they are so clueless? What about everyone else, who they are unwittingly dragging down with them? Just as it is said, “Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God, as thou temptedst him in the place of temptation.”, so we should realize that, if we tempt the Government, it will call our bluff. If everybody throws themselves into ridiculous debt, in the pursuit of the “home ownership” dream, they will break the whole system of property ownership. The Government will turn around and take away everybody’s property and we be left with a very nasty form of socialism, run, not by governments (which at least get embarrassed if you don’t vote for them), but by heartless, soulless banks, who don’t care an iota if you were to die in the gutter tomorrow.
The blame, though, does not really fall upon the heads of the populace. It has been robbed of its culture, tricked out of believing the sound wisdom of its ancestors, brainwashed by a four-cornered electric puppet-box which sits in every lounge room, even the bedrooms of teenagers. People’s heads are filled with illogical, unbalanced rubbish. It is no surprise, then, that their decision making is of similar quality.