Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Blogging Out of Bankruptcy

I was struck by an article in Sunday's New York Times that dealt with individuals in debt who are attempting to blog their debt away. The article is called "Debtors Search for Discipline via Blogs," and discusses how some individuals with large amounts of personal debt are now sharing the details of their financial lives in an effort to impose some discipline on their spending. This is fascinating--most people would rather tell you about their sex lives than discuss their finances. This observation is even more true when people are in debt and feel shame, as one blogger admits she does. In our society, money equals success, and, therefore, debt equals failure. Now obviously it takes more than the act of blogging alone to get out of debt. But a woman named Tricia who blogs at bloggingawaydebt.com says that she "thinks about this blog every time [she's] in the store and something that [she doesn't] need catches [her] eye." As the Times article points out, the "blogs open a homey and sometimes shockingly candid window on the day-to-day finances of American households in a time of rising debt, failing mortgages and financial uncertainty. In 2006, the average American household carried...$21,000 in total debt." Even a professional financial consultant has a blog devoted to her efforts to "escape from $19,947 in credit card debt"!

The fact that the debtors who blog acknowledge that they feel embarrassment and shame about their situation runs counter to the arguments put forth by proponents of the misnamed Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005, who portrayed debtors as profligate spendthrifts who ran up large amounts of debt without remorse. The Act was passed in 2005 after years of lobbying by banks and other financial institutions and by the credit card industry, all of whom stood to gain if it were harder to file for personal bankruptcy.

1 comment:

Jim Milles said...

This is fascinating--I had not seen the Times article and hadn't heard of this sort of blogging before. Although, come to think of it, I have heard of people blogging their weight loss efforts.

I can easily see the appeal of blogging for debt reduction. The blogger can build a supportive community through comments and linking to other bloggers, while still veiling his or her own identity. Thanks for bringing this to our attention!