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Archive for the ‘honesty’ Category

When I was very young, the first thing I remember my dad deliberately teaching me was honesty.  Some things I learned almost by default, but honesty was talked about often and on purpose.  When I was a little girl I would find myself in double trouble if I ever told a lie.  Lying was not to be taken lightly, and yes, my dad believed in corporal punishment for extreme crimes.  

My dad referred to himself as “Honest John”.  Some people may have disagreed with him, but they always knew where he stood on a subject.  When I was older I knew I could count on my dad for an honest opinion.  Believe me, sometimes his honesty hurt, but it saved me true heartache in the future (when I listened to him). 

I think we need some honesty in America again.  I think we need to be honest with our own selves.  I think Americans have been dishonest with themselves thinking they could afford more than they could.  I am speaking specifically of the mortgage/housing crisis we are in right now.

The mortgage sales people should have been honest with their clients and told them the reality of taking out a mortgage that they couldn’t really afford.  The mortgage companies could have helped both their clients and themselves by making sure the mortgages could be paid back.

Which brings me to wonder why these mortgage companies would have given out such risky loans in the first place, if their business could be adversely affected.  Hmmm . . .    From what I have found, the government forced these companies, by law, to ultimately make bad loans.  Oh, it didn’t say specifically to go out and make bad loans, but it did require the mortgage companies and banks to make it easier for disadvantaged people to get home loans.  In the past these people were prevented from getting loans because they were a high risk.  No one was being mean to them and preventing them from living in a home (renting is always a way to go), but they were prevented from getting themselves into more debt than they could afford. 

This brings me to the people that I think are most responsible for these bad loans, which are the mortgagees.  These people knew how much money they had to live on, and if they were honest with themselves (and not just listening to the salesman) then they would know that they couldn’t afford the loan that was being offered to them.  In reality what happened is that we had a lot of people falling in love with the idea of home ownership and they did whatever they could to get themselves into those homes.  Many have blamed this on predatory lenders.  I don’t think so.  I think the borrowers should accept some of the blame for this problem we now face as a nation. 

The other party I think is to blame is the educators of our country.  We need to be teaching our high schoolers some basic accounting and economics.  Who needs Algebra if you don’t know how to balance a checkbook?  My son, Taylor, brought to my attention this need for financial education in America.  You can check out the Financial Course he is starting at http://taylormarek.com/blog/ .  As a bank teller Taylor has seen the mistakes people make.  He can also tell a lot about a person by the way they handle their money. 

We can come back much stronger financially as a country if we would just be honest with ourselves and start taking responsibility for our own actions.  Another place that could use some honesty is our media, but that is for another post.  Stay strong and leave your stocks alone for now.  In fact, I hear there are some real good deals in the stock market right now.

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