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The late ’90s and early 2000s saw America develop into an overly pampered and severely indulged society. Nothing was ever too expensive nor out of reach because money seemed to be coming from a geyser that just would not stop blowing up the cash. With money, credit, and loans easily accessible to most people, nobody realized that a generation of children was growing up with a misconception that they were entitled to everything they wanted. After all, material things, whims, and ambitions could easily be achieved with the swipe of a card or the signature on a loan.
Americans play hard at work, so it only follows that they relax hard as well. This is what the sense of “gotta have it now” instilled in the people through the misleading advertisements for products and lifestyle choices that surrounded the daily consciousness. Something that became like a hypnotic spell for most people, seeing as how Americans often spent thousands of dollars in cash that they did not have nor afford to pay back.
Due to this misconception of the easy life, American adults began to lose track of their finances. Americans squandered money that they should have been saving. According to Eric Poulin in his article “Can, You Overcome Instant Gratification Urges And Get In Control Of Your Finances”. the average American adult saved only between 1-2 percent of their income. He further explains that means we”‘re spending 98% to 99% of everything we earn (and in some cases, we are spending more than 100% of our income by using credit vehicles such as credit cards, lines of credit, and loans) to finance our perceived needs, and then we are shocked to find our retirement is in trouble or not possible when we had hoped.
This is one of the effects of the “Got To Have It Now” society that was cultivated by loan sharks and credit card companies. Nobody within the ages of 30-40 is in any way ready for any big life emergency, nor will they be ready for retirement when the time comes because what should have been his retirement fund and savings account is all tied up in decades of debt payment schemes.
The effect of this commercially driven creature can currently be seen in the number of financial fiascos that have cropped up since the start of the credit crunch. They have become hostages to a superficial way of life that does nothing for their self-esteem nor teaches them valuable lessons that will help them survive financial bad times. Instead, it has forced the man to become highly competitive with each other and shows how our schools no longer train people to develop good financial judgment. Instead, everyone is encouraged to live with a facade of being rich in one way or another.
Outcomes of such actions usually center around the eventual bad debt that a person rakes in over the years. They simply keep borrowing money without realizing that the items they are purchasing do not carry an increased value over the years but rather depreciates at light speed instead. Most of the bad debt that people are in right now is because of items they purchased that have no resale value whatsoever such as cellphones, laptops, and other gadgets that can eat into a credit limit.
This brings me to the third effect of this “Got To Have It Now” generation. It would seem to the average person that these 30-40-year-olds have no clear sense of the difference between wants and needs. Needs fall under the category of things that help to sustain our lives. things like food, housing, clothes, medicines, these are needs that should be spent on. But the big-screen plasma TV is a want and nothing more.
These days, Americans are learning the difference between needs and wants the hard way. Credit spending is better scrutinized and oftentimes, people unknowingly choose the need over the want. Finally, the lesson that credit debt does not go away unless it is paid for is being learned by most people, although in a hard and painful way.
Days of senseless spending have come to an end. Americans are now being forced to reevaluate their spending habits and tighten their belts because of previously incurred debt that is almost impossible for one to pay off in today’s economic climate. This financial crisis has forced people to, if I may say so, grow a brain when it comes to senseless spending.
The financial crisis is not something that the government people created to control the people. It was the people that created the crisis when they stopped caring about their spending habits and those misjudgments have now come back to haunt both the innocent and the guilty. Can it be dealt with? Will the country ever get out of the rut? Only if people learn to start spending wisely and stop being so gullible to subliminal suggestions regarding how to live their lives.
These are but 3 of the actual effects that the generation of “Gotta have it now” adults between the ages of 30-40 have had on today’s society. Needless to say, by understanding how these people mismanaged their lives, we can see the root cause of the credit crises that we are embroiled in today. Not all of it is the government’s fault, nor is the fault of the banks, credit card companies, or real estate firms. This crisis can be considered to have been the result of a group effort to mismanage individual finances.
Poulin, Eric. “Can You Overcome Instant Gratification Urges and Get in Control of Your Finances?“. Ezine @rticles. Web. 2008.