Financial Anger: A Plea For Kindness During The Economic Crisis

I hang out on a lot of finance/frugality related message forums and websites and I’m noticing a disturbing rise in the number of people being mean to those who ask for help. There have always been people who get their shorts in a wad over this or that hot button issue; that’s nothing new. And not every posting is always happy, happy, joy, joy. But these boards used to be a place where people were generally civil and helpful. Since the economy has gone south, I see a lot more anger and venom on these boards than I used to. It’s like the gloves have come off and people are feeling much freer to rip into someone for their bad choices.

I thought about why this should be and I c

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25 Responses to Financial Anger: A Plea For Kindness During The Economic Crisis

  1. Neal Frankle says:

    This is important and something I had not thought about.

    When I read about someone in trouble lately, the first thought that comes to my head is,”Here comes somebody else I’ll have to bail out”. Of course this is ridiculous – its an emotional response. But this is the reason you are seeing so much anger.
    Fortunately, I haven’t unloaded on anyone and fortunately, you wrote this post so we can all get back to our jobs – which is being of service to others.

    Thanks.

  2. justme says:

    ” Maybe others haven

  3. BobV says:

    I think the negativity of the news is also responsible for everyone’s mood. I have seen it at work, at church, and throughout my social interactions. When you are exposed to so much negative news and information, it changes your whole lookout on things. Trying, as I am, to look at some of the brighter news and staying positive, is the way to cope…. but not easy in this day and age of instant and continuous news.

  4. Broken Arrow says:

    Has SavingAdvice been like that, or is this mostly elsewhere?

    For what it’s worth, I thought SA has has been fairly civil. Like yourself, I’ve seen a lot worse.

  5. AnnJo says:

    Although I’ve tried to be civil about it, I’m probably guilty of “unloading” on some people – especially those who come on personal finance blogs for advice on how to walk away from debts they COULD pay, but don’t want to.

    There’s a real difference, in my mind, between someone who bought a house with 20% down and well within their means, only to lose their job and also find they are underwater on their house. Their options are few. But people who want to walk away from their homes and debts even though they are still earning a more than adequate income to service the debt, just because they can no longer look forward to making a killing on their house’s appreciation – yes, I confess that steams me!

    As for feeling superior, I’ve lived through several recessions, and long enough to know that a lot of what seems like wise planning is really just dumb luck or some lesser trait. I know I “overextended” somewhat on every house I bought, but was lucky to buy and sell at the right times and timid enough not to keep pulling equity out of them.

  6. ceejay74 says:

    Amen! I myself get no joy out of beating up people less fortunate, less together or less educated (financially or otherwise) than myself. But I see a lot of grim, self-righteous pleasure taken in insulting, demeaning and verbally abusing people on the message boards. Yep, even on SA from time to time, that blunt tough love just devolves into judgmental hatefulness.

    I’d love to see a return to civility, but people who have never screwed up, or haven’t in a while, feel perfectly justified. I just hope the people who give up on the boards do seek help somewhere in their lives, because it can be so hurtful that people just disappear from the message boards.

  7. justme says:

    #5 LOL another one who is more educated LOL

  8. ceejay74 says:

    Thank you, justme, you make a wonderful illustration of the point of this article.

  9. justme says:

    LOL yes it is

    but it is really really irritating that peopel look down on others when they believe they are more educated,that is not too nice.

    its just a pet peeve of mine that everyone walks around thinking they are so educated LOL and they must always mention that they think they are LOL
    I think that drives away many from the boards

  10. justme says:

    LOl I apolagize I was feeling passive agressive ;-)
    you can all be as smart as you wanta be and I will be nice ;-)

  11. Hilary says:

    I have to agree with #2 that the quotes around the “lucky breaks” was a bit below the belt. Aren’t you just saying that you don’t think there are lucky breaks? So aren’t you telling people in financial trouble that they themselves are the source of all their problems? May not be as straightforward, but a bit mean none the less.

  12. Joan says:

    Huh? I thought #5 above was being humble in admitting that stuff working out for her in the past was not due to her own smarts, but to luck in timing plus timidity about taking any equity loans.

  13. Sarah Johns says:

    Good post. I agree with you Jennifer. Economic crisis make people mad

  14. baselle says:

    Its a shame that some of us are on our high horse – if you managed to stay in a good financial position, you did in part because you made good choices, but you are in some small part also because the economy was hot at the time. I’m in reasonable shape because two family members managed to die during the heights of real estate and stock markets. In a small sense, we took advantage of others’ bad choices.

  15. Diane says:

    These are difficult times and many of us are frustrated – I know I get steamed & tell my boyfriend how unfair this all is.

    I’ve made my share of mistakes & paid for them – which took years of work. So I’m not berating anyone for their mistakes. I’m willing to help anyone who is trying to solve their own problems.

    I guess I do have a problem with expecting someone else to bail you out.

    That said, I try to be civil & helpful & most of the messages I’ve read across the personal finance boards have been helpful. I’ve really not seen much negativity.

    I am trying to stay positive and be thankful for my blessings, but it is true that the constant barrage of negative news is difficult to overcome.

  16. Sherry says:

    Great post. Its so easy to judge someone else and people are fed up at having to pay for the mistakes those above them have made. They are not able to strike back at the ones who are really responsible for the problems of the economy, so it comes out in other venues.

    Following my divorce, I was one of those looking for help. The fact was that since I was the partner that had the credit rating, I was the one that was stuck with the debt. I wasn’t looking for a bail out, just a way to pay it back and still feed my kids.

    I was lucky, my creditors agreed to stop charging interest and a do-able repayment plan for the principle. Not everyone is looking for a handout, some just need a helping hand.

  17. flash says:

    Well, no matter which side of the argument you fall on, it’s a great discussion. You can be upset without being rude or ask for help without being defensive. It’s a great place for helping each other move forward through these times and understand many points of view.

  18. I think the number of people in the frugal living forum has increased quite a bit with the recession and all, overcrowding leads to less tolerance.

  19. China Brooks says:

    This is great. Thank you.

  20. During a recession, you can make bad financial decisions left and right and still be fine as long as you still have your job. You can also make good financial decisions left and right, but if you don’t have any money coming in, eventually your money is going to run out no matter how many coupons you use at the grocery store. It’s really ridiculous to judge people online when we know so little of their whole stories.

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  23. ThiNg says:

    It’s up to the rest of us patient folks to chastise the angry ones. There’s always bad or angry posters, but in ‘normal’ times, other posters will not tolerate their berating posts.

    I catch myself doing it. I see a plea for help (an obviously self-imposed situation) and then 2 or 3 angry or aggressive posts, and then I think “They have every right to be angry”, so I say nothing.

    It’s like bullying, it can only happen as long as people remain quiet about it when it happens. Thanks for the wake up call!!

  24. We need more good hearted people,my husband and I are disabled,we have been praying for a car,we are on disability cant afford one,the one we have is unsafe to drive its not going to last much longer.How do we get to doctors?go pick up prescriptions etc.My husband cant afford to pay for his heart medicine even with medicare WE ARE DESPERATE we are on social security disability very limited income,we have no money down for a car,what about the payments?This is the GODS honest truth we havent even been able to get to church.
    Someone PLEEEASE give us some advice (Sandy Roemer)

  25. Chris ... says:

    I realize this is an old article but I did relate to the message … and the comments. It is easeir to get mean with folks online when you can’t see or know the whole situation. I’ve been lucky! Even though I lost my job over a year ago and haven’t been able to find another one, I’ve made the best of getting to spend the additional time with my kids. Now that things are getting more desperate I find that I can’t even get work as a part-time cashier during the holidays. Life can be funny/strange when so many are hurting and others feel the pressure of government trying to help so many and knowing that somehow it will have to be paid for (by those still working).

    Thank you kindly…

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