Taking Responsibility

When did taking responsibility for our mistakes go out the window? We live in such a culture this days, were pointing the finger seems easier than looking the mirror and saying, “I made a mistake”.  Well all want to blame the Banks, Insurance companies, Wall Street and the Government for the mess we are in, but this was a mess perpetrated by us. We let Wall Street investor take our moneys for a ride, we let banks put us in bad loans and we kept saying I do to the expensive life style we knew we couldn’t afford. We gambled with our money, our family and our lives and we lost. We lost our will to say, “NO” and we became the yes man or woman. We lost our will to be smart, and chose to be the teenage versions of ourselves who longs for everything when they need nothing. Thinking of the way we did things, reminds me of the guy who drives a SUV that’s fully furnished, with spinning rims and speakers in the high thousand, but doesn’t pay his child support. Or women who feel every sales ad in the paper is a reason to shop and then find themselves with closet full of hundreds of clothes she has never worn or never will, while other important things falls lacking behind.

People making $40,000 a year, decided to get $300,000 homes, on non fixed rate, and wondered why their mortgage would fluctuate from $800 a month to over a thousand dollars. Putting them in a situation where all other bills didn’t matter but their rent. Some of this people have kids, other necessity like electric bills, cable, car payment etc.  And because of these gigantic mistakes, we brought down the value of not just our homes, but our neighbors also. We brought down the value of our streets, cities, county and the state. And the trickle from this affected other sectors of Business in America.

Now we are all upset that the government is throwing money at these banks. We might not see it, but as much as the government was trying to bail out banks, they bailed us out also. The money given to the banks weren’t so the CEO’s can take longer vacations. The money was to clean the mess we began. The money helped the banks, which made lending money to individuals and small business owners easy again. The money had provisions that allowed people whose mortgage was on the rocks, get help with re-financing with lower rates. Provisions with tax credits and the list goes on. Now looking in the mirror was something I had to do also because I fell in this trap also.

I remember back in June 2001, when I was 19. I had a live in girlfriend. So I wanted to purchase a car, because for almost a year, we had been sharing a car and we didn’t have the same schedules, which made it hard to share the car. So we went car shopping. We found a car we liked and then the next day, we went back to speak to the dealers to try to purchase the car. With my job at the time, around 150 to 190 a month would have been the perfect amount to pay for a used car. And the car itself was about $6000 dollars. What I got next was something I was not used to. The mind games Car sales men play on you. I got there around 9am that morning. And with every trip to the bathroom, or the water fountain, the hours kept passing me by. The sales man came back and said I didn’t have enough on my credit to buy this car. At the time all I had on my credit was a $300 credit card that I was paying on time. So every time he left the room, I taught to myself, I won’t be able to get this car or any other car, if all other dealerships have a problem with me not having credit. But the guy said to me, I will get you in a car today, and that put a smile on my face. By 2 PM that afternoon, I was just sitting there and ready to leave, but I was still hoping my magic man would keep his word. Around 2:30 PM he did, he came with a brand new truck, a 4-seater Ford ranger. 2 adult seats, and 2 small seats in the back. The funny thing when I look back now is, I was not qualified for a $6000 loan but I did qualify for a loan for $22,000 for the new truck. The sales man said I got some student loan thing that they were currently doing, even though I wasn’t a student. He said for me to get the student loan, I could not get the car I wanted, I could only get a brand new car and the truck was the only one they had in stock. I don’t know if it was my youth, me been a trusting person, or me just wanting a car so bad, but I said yes. At the time I was making 8.50 per hour and I should have known better, but I chose not to.  Fact is I could have easily said no and gone else where, but I was thinking I could have the same problem with another dealer. And this is how, we Americans get ourselves in trouble. I dislike the fact that over-sight was taken off the private sector, but just like my scenario, I could have worked away, I could have said , ”NO”. But I didn’t because I wanted that car, just like most Americans wanted that Home. Wanting and Needing are the root to the evil that destroys us. We shouldn’t want what we can afford and we don’t need everything.

What we need to do is be smart, and not expect other people to look out for us. It is not the Bank’s job to look out for us, that’s our job, and the Government shouldn’t have a back door to our personal finances. It sickens me to think we caused the recession and then we have the guts to whine when the government tries to clean up our mistake. Banks are getting bailouts, Banks are getting bailouts. Well they wouldn’t need to if we didn’t feel the need to splurge, and spend like there is no tomorrow. How about we are all look in the mirror and understand, the only person really getting in our way is, simply put, us.

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