Bob Haase’s Another Can of Worms

Our Debt and the National Debt

I was talking with a friend recently about taxes and he asked if I kept track of all the miles I put on for all the volunteer work that I do.  I commented that I did not have enough deductions to itemize and that I take the standard deduction.  He was surprised when I told him that we did not have any debt and that we did not owe on anything so we didn’t have much for deductions.  He said that we made a mistake by paying off our home and that everyone needs to have some kind of debt so we have deductions for our taxes.

I was surprised at how many people feel that it is a good thing to have debt and even more surprised to learn how much debt the average person has.  In researching debt on the internet, I learned that as of September of 2013 the average credit card debt is $15,185, the average mortgage debt is $147,133, and the average student loan is $31,509.

In another study I learned that only 55 percent of the people in the United States have more in savings than they do in credit card debt.

After looking at all the research reports regarding personal debt, retirement savings, net worth, and related information I better understand why our country is having financial problems.  We can’t manage our personal spending and debt and the people we elect to run our country can’t either.  That is probably why we are reaching a crisis with controlling our national debt. 

A lot of people spend more than they make.  If you do this long enough you find yourself with serious financial problems.   If our country spends more than it is taking in, it also finds itself with serious financial problems.  When so many people feel that it is a good thing to have debt you can better understand why our country is in the financial shape it is.

I don’t think most people realize how important it is to save for a rainy day, plan for retirement, and control their spending to what they need rather than what they want.  My wife and I are from the old school that tells us not to purchase things we cannot afford.  There are a lot of things that we would like to have or do, but we know we cannot afford them.  I think we need to be more thankful for the things we have than critical for the things we don’t.

Bob Haase is the host of “Outdoors Thursday” heard Thursday mornings at 9:10 a.m. on News-Talk 1450 KFIZ.