Send holiday loans and ‘dumb debt’ packing
‘‘Approval without a disapproving attitude.’’
This is a phrase I saw on the part of Harmoney’s website advertising holiday loans.
Harmoney is an online peer-topeer lender, where people with money can go to invest by lending to people who want to borrow for things like holidays. The phrase is clever marketing. No matter how normalised debt becomes, people still fear being judged by the lenders who lend to them.
That fear, I think, is a symptom of a guilty conscience in many cases.
It’s like that little voice in your head when you head back to the fridge for the other half of the chocolate block. You know you are doing something a bit naughty that even you yourself disapprove of but just don’t have the willpower to resist.
When you borrow online, there’s no danger of seeing that disapproval in the eyes of another human being.
Harmoney will only judge you on your ability to repay, no matter what you borrow for.
Sure the investor, a person with money to earn interest on, may think borrowing for a holiday is ‘‘dumb debt’’ to use the Retirement Commission’s phrase, but the borrower never has to look into their eyes.
It’s no wonder that payday lenders seem to be doing so well lending online.
I can see how people get tempted into borrowing to holiday.
Some will be led to it by peer pressure, or a friend who decides to get married in the islands and (unreasonably) invites you along without giving you a plane ticket.
For others it will be better-off friends heading for fun in the sun asking you to tag long.
In some case the ‘‘holiday’’ will be a trip to a funeral or a special event being held overseas by family in whatever ‘‘old country’’ you come from.
That feels easier to justify. Family matters.
But a debt-fuelled holiday leaves only memories and a pile of money to pay back.
Owing money is stressful, no matter how much we pretend it is normal, and having debt that isn’t con- tributing to a wealthier and more stable financial future just isn’t smart.
Being beholden to others, being at their mercy should we lose our job or fall sick is really too big a risk to take for a holiday.
If you need time off but can’t afford to pay a holiday, have a staycation and explore the local regional and national parks or do a houseswap or go camping.
If your friends are getting hitched in Vanuatu, don’t go but buy them a lovely present and ask them to livestream their wedding so you can be there in an affordable way.
Even funerals are live-streamed these days and rightly so.
Many deceased people would be horrified to think of their loved ones spending thousands to go to their funeral.
Interest-free credit like that being offered by House of Travel at the moment is OK – if you have the money to pay it off the moment the interest-free period is over.
At least you won’t be overpaying for your short time in the sun but be careful not to let consumer debt become normal in your life.