Tuesday, November 25, 2008


It’s been a while.
I suppose I haven’t been feeling much disposed to ranting or venting recently.
I’ve been watching world events unfold and a feeling of despair has settled lightly upon my shoulders. The whole pyramid scheme that financial institutions conjured up is folding in on itself as it, like all infinite growth, is unreal and unsustainable.
People went along for the ride as we were told from all directions that having something you wanted right now was a good thing, why wait? Easy credit, read: DEBT, enabled people to have what they wanted, when they wanted it. The so called feel good factor of the past 11 years when people were encouraged to live an aspirational lifestyle have come to an end.
I always laughed when I read that term.
I pondered upon what it really meant and what was meant in it’s usage.
Living a life that entailed spending beyond what you actually had using credit cards and or borrowing money against the rising price of your house, how long did people really think this could have gone on for?
I had some credit card debt, sure, but not so much that I didn’t get it paid off nor did I borrow against the perceived value of my house, thankfully. My mortgage is well below average and when Mrs M and I bought our house we made sure that our repayments were the same as the rent we had been paying previously. We thought this was being financially sensible, especially when the mortgage lenders were offering us loans of at least £30,000 more than we felt comfortable paying off. I am really glad we didn’t get into more debt than we could cope with, mortgage wise.

Times were tough for a while, money wise, in the past 10 years, I would not have liked to have been in the position of having a bigger mortgage to pay off. I saw the aspirational lifestyle glitter and felt like I was standing against the wall at a party watching. This was a conscious decision and I missed out on a friend’s stag night as I told the best man that I couldn’t afford it. I was accused of many things but I wasn’t prepared to get into debt to the tune of a couple of hundred pounds just to get drunk in another city.

I worked in a techy company at the height of the internet bubble. What a strange atmosphere indeed, people acted as if the share price would rise forever. The exuberance was infectious, thankfully I had Mrs M to keep me grounded. It was plain weird, everybody was so happy, positive and confident. All because of a rising share price.

It all changed when the bubble burst. Oh, what a change. It became the most depressing place I have ever had to work in. Around this time an insidious ponzi scheme emerged called locally as "The Money Tree" my workmates grew glassy eyed at tales of aquiring tens of thousands of pounds in a matter of weeks. I voiced my opinions about it and suddenly no-one wanted to mention it near me. They didn't say much when they lost their money either. I'm sad that they all got stung this way but I fully understand why they did it. I jumped ship, thankfully, and got out of the techy world altogether. I earn more now than I did then but I never did get into debt to keep up with the neighbours. My aspirations are to keep my integrity, be a good husband and hopefully father when that happens. Sure, I like my toys, well, cameras but I don’t buy the latest model when they bring it out….I would like the D3 or D700 though. I have no games machines and don’t drive a flash car. I don’t spend lots of money on clothes and when I do buy clothes I try and buy things that don’t go out of style, though some may argue this point when they see my wardrobe.
I am somewhat of an anachronism amongst my workmates.
I haven’t got the latest HD TV with 1080P Blu ray player and surround sound system and not forgetting the PS3, the must have item. I am just not willing to spend so much money on these things as I haven’t got the cash and will not get into debt to obtain them.
I have the feeling that having debt will be a bad thing in the coming few years.
The ways things are heading I would like to be prepared rather than be caught out.
It may be back to the lentils and rice of my younger days in no time at all.


Blogger Nelly said...

Wise words indeed. It's a crazy-mad world we've made for ourselves that depends on us buying stuff we don't need.

I like a bit of a splurge as much as anybody else but, like yourself, am thankfully not in debt or crippled with a big mortgage.

11:23 PM  
Anonymous Nick said...

Sounds like you have a very healthy and sensible lifestyle, ignoring all the dubious blandishments from the have-it-all, get-rich-quick types. I've always been the same, I've never been in debt except for affordable mortgages and I never buy anything unless I really want or need it (I hate shopping anyway).

People blame the banks for their current plight, but at the end of the day they're the ones who chose to get into huge debts and rely on constantly rising property prices. Sure, the banksters are implicated, but only because people were willing to accept their reckless offers.

5:46 PM  
Blogger Mudflapgypsy said...

Nelly: Buying stuff we don't need is spot on. I know people whose recreation is shopping and they get all het up when they can't do it.

Nick: People are blaming the banks because the banks have lent out the fractional reserve and thus have no money at all. Then they came up with a way of trading debts and bets CDO's and CDS's whcih only happened after the markets were deregulated in ther 80s. Trading CDS's....try the newly added link in the post title. 9 pages in all but worth the read.

6:11 PM  
Blogger Mediterranean kiwi said...

an excellent post, Mr M
i always believed i was level headed, and i just wanted to meet people like myself, but am never in the right place at the right time - what you've said is so grass-roots

7:52 PM  
Blogger Manuel said...

it doesn't make any sense eh.....if we got into the mess we are in through over spending and creating debt how the hell is overspending and creating more debt the answer? baffles me.....

12:15 AM  
Blogger Mudflapgypsy said...

Manny: Credit (debt) makes the world go round, not money.

9:30 AM  
Blogger Manuel said...

not my world.....I just like actual money, no cards, no loans, just cash......

11:23 PM  
Blogger Mediterranean kiwi said...

Hi Mr M, I've always wondered what Crete would have been like if we were a separate country...

3:06 AM  
Blogger Mudflapgypsy said...

Manny: Cash is king but really they run the whole shebang on debt.
Sheer madness in my book. Handsupandgimmethemoney.

Kiwi: It was that way before, it could be again.

10:12 AM  
Blogger Mediterranean kiwi said...

i can hardly believe people are shopping like mad where you are - people are refraining here in hania. as for coriander, i would have to agree, it's pretty yuk. parsley is so much better...

9:00 AM  
Blogger Mediterranean kiwi said...

we also have slugs, but maybe not as many as you do where you are. i can imagine they are a real pest.

we had to kepp most of the young plants under cover for a while with netting until they were big enough to take off on their own, so that they slugs and birds didnt get to them...

7:59 PM  
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