My Year of Living Dangerously

My Year of Living Dangerously: Being consistently broke this year has given me a great perspective though. I’m fascinated and disgusted at the same time by the people who use sites like Wesabe or Mint to tally, organize, count and recount their money over and over again. I mean, do you realize that more than half of the U.S. doesn’t have any savings beyond a 401k, and the bottom third has no savings at all and heaps of debt? From reading the echo-chamber on the blogs you’d think everyone would find these sites useful. They’re not, especially to the 100MM people in the U.S. that aren’t in the middle or upper class. Seriously, where are the online financial services that will let me schedule out a bunch of bills, and pick and choose among those I can afford to pay this month based on an income that’s less than the total debt payments? That’s what I – and the other 1/3rd in the U.S. – would like to see, believe me. [I had serious conversation about a product like this, although the focus was savings not bill schedule displacement. However, the important difference I see is that it is hard for that bottom third to gain enough access to computers to make the service worthwhile, and of course, they can’t pay for it directly, it would have to be ad based or collect bounties for steering people to other useful credit tools/services/etc. Not simple. I should add that I spent quite a few years being poor when I worked as a musician, and can feel his pain quiet acutely to this day.]

2 thoughts on “My Year of Living Dangerously

  1. Other than a few bright spots (1999 and 2007) I’ve been in the same situation pretty consistently for the last ten years, and I know lots of other people in the same boat.

    I disagree very strongly with the premise that most of those 100MM can’t get access to computers. Many many of them have low end desktops. They may be a few years old, and the owners may not know much about running them, but they do have them.

    Even Mike’s and Shannon’s (Lauren’s Mom and Dad) old friends have access to the web, at least when they have homes.

    I’m not arguing that the software would be a good idea. Personal experience says what most of the poor (anybody from middle-lower to lower-middle class) need is training in basic money management training. We help at the local shelter one day a month. Most of these people have low-paying jobs, and (the dry ones) spend almost all of their money on coffee, tobacco, fast food and lottery tickets.

  2. Is there software that you think would help? Forget how to support it or monetize it for the moment. Second, I should point out that while I had little money for a long time, the setting and mindset were very different.

    I accept what you say about access, and that folks often have it. Is it helpful? Can it be made more helpful?

    It’s all just a tool, so how you use it matters… but something that eases the way if only a little can make a difference. I’d like to continue to try.

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