Payday loans: life preserver or anchor?

We knew a young man about 12 years old who decided that there was no way he was going to admit he couldn’t swim while he was on a youth group trip up in Canada. There were too many other boys around, most of them teenagers just a few years older, and he didn’t want to look like a wimp. So, he stood at the end of a diving board, knowing he didn’t really know how to swim and jumped off. Stupid? Maybe, but some people approach financial problems and payday loans the same way.

Fortunately for the young man, one of the kids in the youth group was an Eagle Scout who had taken life guard training. He knew what to do and had a life preserver in the water before you could blink. The young man took a merciless ribbing over his diving incident (by all accounts his dive was spectacular, the swimming, not so much) for the rest of the trip, but otherwise he was no worse for wear.

But what would have happened if the Eagle Scout had thrown him an anchor instead? He would have sunk like a stone, of course. Everybody knows that, so no one would throw an anchor to someone who is drowning. Yet, trying to get out a financial emergency using payday loans near you isn’t much different than trying to pull someone out of the pool with an anchor.

Don’t get us wrong. A payday loan CAN be a tremendous help if it’s used as a stopgap for an emergency, and then paid off right away. The problem is that most people, instead of using it like a life preserver and getting out of the deep end of debt, try to swim around with it for months at a time. It doesn’t take long before what looked like a life preserver is as heavy as any anchor. If you don’t pay them off quickly, they will drag you to the financial bottom and keep you there.

The thing is this: payday loans should be a last resort. Most people have someone who could help them out short term. Hell, if you’re that dead set on paying high interest rates, offer them to a friend. At least then your money will go to someone you like.

The problem is, just like the kid who couldn’t swim, most of us don’t want to admit that we’re in a bad situation financially. But ask yourself this: what’s really worse? Letting someone know you can’t swim before you jump in the pool, or after?

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