I sat down at the computer this afternoon and caught up on some PF blog reading. Unfortunately for those on my blog list I was a little easily rankled today and left a few slightly snarly comments.
The one that really got me going was the review of the book You’re Broke Because You Want to Be.
I get that the vast majority of Americans reading PF blogs are the ones who got there through overconsumption, etc. But, man, I just get tired of never being in the target audience.
This guy’s book has a catchy title and attitude sells. I get that. But what about those of us who did (almost) everything right?
I’m not claiming to be perfect. I chose Tim, knowing he was impulsive by nature. That manifested itself in a lot of small purchases that added up fast. And I even chose to let myself get carried away in that spirit from time to time, so that I could justify a few shirts or whatever from Macy’s.
For the record, I consider a shopping “spree” to be, well, anything over $20. But the instances I’m referring to were around $100-150 each. Still irresponsible. But the inner-grouch in me points out that lots of people spend that much each month on coffee drinks.
At any rate, we’re not well-off. Anyone who has read any of my posts about our life know that. We’re living on $3,098 a month, and Tim’s insurance (which is lower than his COBRA) is $336 each month. Our rent is $700. Then there are doctor’s visit co-pays $15 each, at least two a month. And the $500 deductible the new insurance has. And medications (my energy pills are $107 per month when bought in 3-month bundles).
Still, we’re doing our level best to chip away at the debt, even as more expenses pop up right and left.
And since I spend so much energy on not going stark, raving mad from the sheer, endless onslaught of life’s steady progression, well… It is easy to get sick of these books’ bland blandishments. Catchy phrases sell books, but there are no pithy summations for people like Tim and I. (At least, none that I can think of at present.)
Perhaps the worst part about these books is that you start to feel so universally left out. You’re told to cut your coffee drinks. Never had a taste for the stuff. Downgrade to basic cable. I was already there. Shop supermarket sales. Doesn’t everyone do this anyway?
You start to feel so alone, because these books ignore that some people aren’t in debt from the choices they make. Unless the uber-conservatives want to go a step further and start calling disability a lifestyle choice.
Yet I know there are lots of people in this country on disability. Or low-wage earners who have to fight to stay out of debt. But all we ever seem to hear are the sob stories from reformed spendaholics.
What about those of us who never got to have that fun in the first place? What about those of us who are just struggling to survive life, rather than survive our own personal-finance blindness? How do we keep going? How do we find corners to cut?
Why isn’t anyone speaking to us?
Well, the answer is simple: We never so much as clear our throats, much less ask a question.
Until we start getting ticked off — okay, so I’m already there but I was always a fast learner — and start making ourselves a target audience, of course the sector will be overrun by spoiled spenders.
So far as I’ve found yet, I’m the only disability/PF blog combo. And I only started because I was pissed off that no one else had!
Why aren’t we talking to these brilliant PF gurus? Why aren’t we saying, “No, we’re not lazy! We’re not spending stupidly! Now what else have you got for us?”
I don’t even think they’ve much considered our situations when they write their books. Because, really, why would they?
Suze Orman said that she rewrote her rules for Young, Fabulous and Broke only after a friend’s daughter told her point-blank that her advice didn’t apply to the current generation. That the rules were different. Orman thought long and hard and then started writing for this new population.
We’re never going to get answers until we ask a question. And my voice shouting into the void of the blogosphere probably isn’t enough to do it. Even with nepotism and intrigue, I’m still a newbie blogger who has a ways to go before she can be called “popular.”
So what are we to do, folks? Or, rather, since I’m doing my part: What are you going to do?
Because if I have to read one more debt book putting the blame on my indulgent lifestyle, I may actually have to start screaming.