We often discuss the pitfalls of "quick fixes" to financial woes. Payday loans, for example, can draw a cash-strapped consumer into an endless cycle of debt. Interest payments accumulate, more loans are necessary, and the guy who just needed to make it to the end of the week is now up to his ears in debt. Still, for the most part, the consequences are financial. Generally, in this country we don't arrest people and toss them into prison for being in debt.
Is it only in this country that people don't like to admit they are in debt, that they shy away from asking for help? It seems especially true when money is involved. People who are falling behind on credit card payments tell themselves they can handle it, but the months pass and the interest piles up. For some, asking for help is out of the question because they don't want to be scolded for not asking for help sooner.
Consumers may be letting their guard down a bit these days when it comes to credit card debt. The recession is well behind us, but financial experts warn that wage growth has been slow. Consumers are not that much better off that they can be increasing their debt load.
We have all seen the ads for business schools and for-profit colleges. They promise us a world of opportunity if we enroll now in their programs, if we just plunk down thousands of dollars to learn how to be a graphic artist or a computer technician. The students we see in the ads are a diverse bunch: young people of color who are just out of high school, middle-aged women returning to the workplace after raising their kids, recent immigrants looking for higher-wage jobs -- they are all reaching for the next rung on the ladder to financial security and professional fulfillment.