Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Learning to be irresponsible

In 1997, I filed bankruptcy. I had taken on a lot of credit card debt. My wife at the time, now ex-wife, also participated. But I take the responsibility because I was responsible for the money in the family.

Why did I do it? I can come up with a long list of reasons. Being in the military, living on a tight budget, having a terminally ill sister 2000 miles away..... legitimate reasons for taking on debt. But, if you looked at the credit card receipts, you would find lots of stuff on there that we didn't need, cigarettes and alcohol among them. So I was irresponsible.

But hey, you can just file bankruptcy, and wash away your sins. No muss, no fuss. Sure, it messes up your credit rating, but it sure does make life easier without all those bills.

And it's legal.

Bankruptcy is the legal way to be financially irresponsible. To make promises to others, and not keep them, and still hold your head up high.

It's wrong though. That's the point. It's wrong.

One of the recurring themes of this blog will be keeping promises. And if you take out a loan, you make a promise to pay it off. You promise others, but you also promise yourself.

If you can't keep a promise, then don't make it.

When I filed bankruptcy in 1997, I lost credibility with myself. I learned that my promises don't matter. And that started a long downward spiral.

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