August 26, 2008

Watching train wrecks

We first have to point out to our readers that we’re biased in favor of consumers and borrowers. Our company philosophy revolves around people not having to resort to the “legal system” to get a company to do something it should have done to correct a problem before the train goes off the track and the court filings start.

But there’s a hidden parallel problem a lot of otherwise responsible and even well-meaning business executives don’t seem to be aware of.

Consider these four important facts:

  1. A large portion of the consumer population is employed by major corporations (according to the Census Bureau there are over 57 million people working for companies that have more than 500 employees).
  2. Some (we believe a fairly large) portion of that employed population is in or approaching a debt crisis.
  3. Most employees will talk about almost anything, except serious financial problems.
  4. People experiencing financial problems will all-too-often delay taking effective action.

Which means some of those responsible and even well-meaning executives aren’t seeing the train wrecks and don’t understand the impact they have on their companies.

Granted, with a few exceptions for some positions, for privacy and confidentiality reasons an employer really shouldn’t delve into the financial problems of its employees. They shouldn’t have to. But there needs to be an awareness that people facing serious financial problems aren’t exactly functioning at their best and are spending inordinate amounts of on-the-job time and mental energy dealing with non-work issues.

And we’re not talking about providing “consumer credit counseling.” That’s nothing more than cleaning up after the train wrecks.

Everyone needs to finally admit that the only viable, long-term answer for many people (and our economy) is debt prevention, and how to get that message to those who need it most before the train accelerates is going to take more than some quick-fix web sites and alarming news articles.

(To be continued)

Craig and Dave

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