A Generation of Debt

By the Editor: Siddharth Sehgal

One of the major challenges that my generation has to live with is debt. Student Loans, credit card balances, mortgage, insurance premiums and right down to shoes can be bought on credit, it’s a remarkable departure from the savings philosophy of our parents where we are encouraged to borrow, the bigger the mountain of debt, the more your credibility increases with lenders. For young Indians like me it’s relatively lucrative way to enjoy the brighter side of life but in this spending spree we forget that when sky turns cloudy, we may need an umbrella.

You can call it a generation gap, changing attitude, western influence, economic reason or anything else. Youth of today have a much bigger ambitions and visions about the future, there is nothing wrong with it, I am one of them too but what we don’t have is patience. Everything has to be a click away, if someone from my dad’s age group would describe the objective of life they’d say get education, get a job, get married, buy a house, raise your kids and settle down in life. Our generation too has those same desire but that’s not all there is always something more to want, to desire. This cost of “something more” is the reason our boat is going to be shaky when we reach later part of life. For example, take education, we Indians and many other societies throughout the world almost brainwash their kids on education. They simply equate higher and more degree = more money = more happiness. Which we realize very late in life is not true at all. In pursuit of this happiness loans are taken out against house, savings and other possessions. Many times these student loans are too high a price for the degree pursued at whose end, all a student get is a certificate and a massive debt to pay off without any guarantees of that six figure or for that matter any figure salary he had in mind at the beginning of his course.

Same story plays out in buying a car, house and other trappings without with we can easily go about our lives comfortably.  Especially when it comes to house, people sometimes go overboard. I am not telling you to live like an ascetic but have a practical sense about your financial capacity. Try to punch some numbers, have a cushion or umbrella. If you are a parent who instills this practical wisdom in your kids, hats off to you, you prepared him/her for the life ahead, you don’t need to worry if your son or daughter becomes a surgeon or a salesman. People may or may not become rich by earning more but they sure become poor by spending more.

One Comment

  1. As a reader of Indian Periodical, I completely agree with Siddharth’s editorial comments. My wife and I have lived in this country for the past 48 years. We came with $8 in our hands (this was the amount allowed by the Govt of India in 1968). I drank a cup of coffee for 25 cents at JFK where I landed, and now had a balance of $7.75 in my pocket! We had our son, and the 3 of us we lived on a very meager income of $5500 per year for several years. We were not rich, nor were we poor. Somehow, we managed our mohtly expenses, raised 2 wonderful boys, and got them educated to be physicians, and got them married. The 2 sons had zero debt when they became MD’s. We are very happy the way our family has functioned.

    I encourage the readers of Indian Periodical to plan your living, finances in a manner that you will get all your dreams completed, and you will have satisfaction. Please do not forget to keep enough for your old age-its is not the question of if, since everyone is guaranteed of old age. There will be challenges in old age, and you must be ready to face them bravely. We surely are doing !