Sunday, August 14, 2011

Neither a borrower, nor a lender be?

OK - good advice, but from a worthless fellow - Polonius, not Shakespeare :-)

Sometimes, we have to borrow - a mortgage for a house is a prime example - or a school loan. Perhaps even for a car - if a car is truly essential to get you to work - although I would rather pay upfront, even if it means a cheaper ride. But otherwise, I think Shakespeare is right on. And the good folks at SNL - "Don't buy stuff you cannot afford."

It's not always a bad idea to loan money, but money should never be given to someone who has a bad track record. Well, unless you're ok with potentially throwing that money away. I know it may seem heartless, but I have a lot of trouble reconciling any gift of money to a person if I consistently see them buy discretionary things they can't afford - like cable, overly expensive clothes, etc. Especially when those are luxuries I deny myself, because I'd actually like to be able to afford to support myself when I am old & grey, and not leave any debts behind for others to have to pay.

Everyone has free-will, and can of course do whatever they want with their own money. I won't lecture a frivolous spender, but I'll never loan them money either.

Even though Mister Micawber wasn't quite smart enough to practice what he preached - here's his sound advice:

"Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen nineteen and six, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result misery." - Charles Dickens - from David Copperfield.

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