Warning! A Rant About Ill Informed Comments

Warning! A Rant About Ill Informed Comments

Rants from reading

I was reading comments on a financial post today that made my blood boil. I know, I know, I shouldn’t read them. There’s a lyric I love from the song Swear Jar by hip hop artist Illy: ‘You know the reason Mama said don’t read no comment sections’. It’s a great point. (If you have no idea what I’m talking about here, pull up a random video on YouTube and read the comments section. No seriously, do it! I’ll wait).

Anyway, the posted question asked was something like ‘What tips do you have to pay down your mortgage faster?’ (Note that for the purposes of this post, we’re not considering mortgages, or if you should or shouldn’t buy a home, this is a rant about destructive and unhelpful comments).

It was answered with the usual barrage of inane, unoriginal tips like: don’t buy take away, pack your lunch, go camping if you need a holiday, etc. The comments then quickly devolved to preaching and lectures on the need for self-discipline, hard work and sacrifice. Then this beauty turned up: ‘When I bought my home, we slept on the mattress on the floor for six months before we could afford a bed frame’. The rest of the comments made further enlightening posts with the words ‘in my day’, and a generational whinge about young people.

Why this makes me mad

Wow this makes me angry. Did this person seriously sleep on a mattress on the floor until they could afford a bed frame just so they could buy a house?

First, I call bull dust. This person lives in a developed country. They were clearly not poor: they bought a house. A house is expensive. Poor people may be homeless, or they may be barely able to afford their rent. They are not mortgagees (unless they fell on hard times after their purchase, but that’s not the case here). Second, that’s irresponsible. Buying a bed frame is a necessity. You need to sleep on a bed.

Buying a house is a luxury, a privilege. If you buy a house and sparsely furnish it because of low cash flow, that’s reasonable. You should have a bed though before you buy a house. And if you have nothing left to your name after you purchase a property, you’re completely cleaned out and can’t afford a bed frame, you clearly haven’t planned this properly. It means you don’t have the money to cover yourself if even the slightest thing goes wrong.

Obviously these comments is meant to engender either pity for this commenter’s bed-less state, or admiration for their hard work and sacrifice. I feel neither. If they really did buy a house before they bought a bed frame, they’re a victim of their own stupidity.

The reality

Here’s a real comment on the nature of self discipline and hard work. We all know someone that needs a good kick up the pants. The whiny kid who just graduated from university and wants the job it took you 20 years to build, or the 50 year old unemployed drop kick who lives with their parents and is waiting for them to die so they inherit their house. However, it’s just as likely that our university graduate is enthusiastic about working and saving for their future, and our 50 year old is an early retiree living it up in the Bahamas.

Self discipline is a skill. Hard work is an ethic. Sacrifice is sometimes required, sometimes not, depending on your circumstances, your reaction to your circumstances, and the choices you make. Some people never develop these traits. Some do. Age has very little to do with it. The decisions you make has lots to do with it.

Think for yourself!

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