Debt Feels good – until you have to pay it back.

In the last two articles, we’ve discussed two explanations pertaining to why some of us take on more debt than we can safely manage. Over optimism about our future and a struggle with self control that can begin when we are very young. It even seems that the ability to resist impulse is something that only develops when the brain itself physically matures.

But there is still more speculation on what drives debt and this angle is purely emotional.

Some experts believe that some of us may shop as a way to escape reality. Shopping can distract us from the real life stresses that we may be experiencing. Retail therapy, like emotional eating is done to comfort and to create a false sense of happiness. Like an alcoholic hiding the whiskey bottles in the garage, an emotional spender may purchase things on credit to essentially hide the spending from their personal bank accounts. They realize that spending their pay check on items that they do not need would be detrimental because they would not be able to pay household expenses. However, by charging purchases, they are very often spending more than they are actually earning, causing distress month after month and creating further need for distraction by shopping.

Another school of thought says many of us in the Western cultures spend money on frivolous purchases because we think that we “deserve” it. In cultures where economic class is sometimes determined by what car you drive, what neighborhood you live and what name is on your tag on your clothing, certain consumers want to achieve a certain lifestyle via the purchases they make. Credit cards make that desire all too easy to achieve, sometimes adding so much “phantom”  income to the family budget it puts some into a whole other tax bracket, until it has to be paid back. From post-breakup retail therapy to show-off car purchases, for some of us, what we buy is influenced by the impression that we want to give – and that, according to financial experts  is the quickest road towards debt.

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