Here is a list of things people in debt do NOT want to hear. Living with debt is stressful enough; be the kind voice.
It’s bad enough being in debt. But it becomes 10x worse when people say mean or hurtful things about you, your debt, or debt in general.
I am writing this post as a person who has been in debt. A lot of debt ($125,181 of student loan debt). And as a person who has been on the receiving end of some ridiculous comments.
I hope this collection of comments helps you understand what you shouldn’t say to someone in debt…and why you shouldn’t say it.
1. “People should never get into debt.”
Ohhhhh how I hate this comment. Sometimes, debt is the best option, despite being risky. Other times, we just do stupid things with money. It happens – nobody is perfect.
While the “if you can’t afford it, don’t buy it” rule is good to follow in general, it doesn’t apply to everything in life. I couldn’t afford my college education, but I bought it anyway and it’s one of the best decisions I ever made. And the same thing could be said for so many things – medical procedures, trips home to visit someone sick, or buying an A/C unit in the middle of a Texas summer after the old one broke. How can you possibly judge someone for buying these things?
2. “They have such a good job. They shouldn’t be in debt.”
First of all, a good job doesn’t mean a good salary. Second of all, you have NO IDEA what their expenses and responsibilities are. There is so much more to a persons’ finances than their job.
3. “I can’t believe they are still in debt. They graduated 10 years ago!”
Again, you don’t know their life circumstances. You don’t know what their expenses are. Everybody’s journey is different. And some journeys take longer than others.
4. “They shouldn’t have gone to college if they couldn’t afford it”
Oh really? So you have to be rich to go to college? You have to delay college until you have the money? While I think it’s great if you can afford to go to college without taking loans, I don’t think it’s necessary. My college degree is what allowed me to get my job and be a productive member of society. And no, there’s no amount of work I could have done prior to or during college that could have paid my way. It’s sad that college is so expensive, but it’s reality.
5. “I can’t believe people have six figures of debt. That’s so stupid.”
Ugh, read above.
6. “People in debt are so bad with their money.”
That’s not true. I had an insane amount of debt and I think I’m really good with money. And yeah, some people are bad with money…but why do you feel the need to comment on it?
7. “Why don’t they just pay off their debt?”
Why don’t you just pay off my debt?
There are a thousand reasons why people don’t just pay off their debt. The obvious one? They don’t have the money to do it!
8. “Their parents are rich. Why are they in debt?”
Parents’ money does not equal child’s money.
9. “Why do they keep on having kids when they are still in debt?”
Don’t tell someone else how to live their life. Shocker, but they may feel kids > money.
10. “I can understand people getting into some debt (like house debt or student loan debt), but you have to be really dumb to get into credit card debt”
I used to get this comment a lot because I had “good” debt and people felt it was okay to say this in front of me. Well, it’s not okay. I truly feel that you can’t judge someone else, especially if you don’t have the full story. Maybe their reasons for getting into credit card debt were just as good as my reasons for getting into college debt.
11. “They shouldn’t go to [Happy Hour, that concert, the movies] because they are still in debt.”
Oh, so they are supposed to sit at home and stare at their bank accounts? Everybody needs a little balance in their life. They could have planned and budgeted for their outing. You don’t know so don’t judge.
12. “They shouldn’t have bought that [laptop, iPad, clothes, car] because they’re in debt.”
Can you imagine what it would be like for someone to judge and provide commentary on every single one of your purchases? Pretty awful, right? Don’t do it to others.
13. “I would never be in debt like them”
Stop judging people in debt
The bottom line is that you just shouldn’t judge how someone spends their money. They are a different person from you (obviously). They have different priorities.
You also don’t know someone’s entire story. Maybe they are in debt because of medical reasons. You wouldn’t judge someone for having a medical problem would you? Or maybe they were just bad with money. That happens – not everyone comes from the same background, gets the same education, has the same experiences, or has the same abilities.
So, let’s put a stop to the mean, judgmental comments about people in debt. Let’s be….NICE!
Have you heard any other absurd/upsetting/frustrating things people have said about debt?
Zoe Campos says
It’s good to know that this article reminds its readers that we don’t have an absolute idea of what are the responsibilities and expenses of the person in debt, so we shouldn’t say anything insensitive to them. I have a friend who doesn’t look like it, but one drinking session made her confess that she’s already submerged in debt because of her mother’s medical expenses and her father’s failed business. It might be better if she can find an attorney who could guide her through the process of filing bankruptcy to help her start again.
California Loan says
Some people can be rude and it’s just so sad to see. Most people have debt of some kind. Sometimes people from A-Z need a little bit of financial help. Life happens and sometimes you find yourself in a situation where you need cash. What’s important is knowing how to use debt or credit responsibly.
Thanks for sharing. Keep up the great work Liv!
Yes yes yes!
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