If you want some "tough love" financial advice, check out Caleb Hammer

Originally published at: If you want some "tough love" financial advice, check out Caleb Hammer | Boing Boing

I got as far as the one young man asking the other young man if a hamburger is 'more important than your financial future" then I was kaput.
There’s some interesting calculus going on there.
One that denies an unpleasant fact about hidden poverty.
Now I don’t know what the financial prospects of the client are, those student loans might have been for med school and he’s going to be eating aaaalllllll our lunch one day, but
based on the life facts of your average non white american, we can surmise that taking any small pleasure where it is offered might not be as unwise as the white boy in the position of financial authority suggests.
And sure 6 bajillion people love and follow that advisor boy,
because we all want to believe that just a bit more strenuous application of All that “Free Will” will save us.
But it won’t
Nothing will change without systemic change.
And it looks like Caleb Hammer doesn’t address that.


Over the years, I’ve become the go-to guy amongst people I know for doing this kind of thing. It usually happens when the person has found themselves in ruinous credit card debt. The first few times, I was kind of flabergasted that they didn’t have the monthly budget I requested as the first step in helping them out, but I quickly learned that this is a common situation. Like this fellow, I’m tough and realistic about time frames and sacrifices* but also approach the matter with empathy and humour. It’s as much about psychology and motivation as it is about spreadsheets and numbers.

For me, the satisfaction is helping people escape the various traps that late-stage capitalism has laid for them and then putting them in a position to enjoy a sustainable lifestyle where they can spend more time not stressing over money.

As I’ve said before, financial literacy courses should be standard graduation requirements for American public K-12 schools. As I’ve also said before, there’s probably a reason that this isn’t the case.

[* real and substantive sacrifices, not BS “skip the avocado toast” ones.]

From Orwell’s Road to Wigan Pier:

“Would it not be better if they spent more money on wholesome things like oranges and wholemeal bread or if they even, like the writer of the letter to the New Statesman, saved on fuel and ate their carrots raw? Yes, it would, but the point is that no ordinary human being is ever going to do such a thing. The ordinary human being would sooner starve than live on brown bread and raw carrots. And the peculiar evil is this, that the less money you have, the less inclined you feel to spend it on wholesome food. A millionaire may enjoy breakfasting off orange juice and Ryvita biscuits; an unemployed man doesn’t. Here the tendency of which I spoke at the end of the last chapter comes into play. When you are unemployed, which is to say when you are underfed, harassed, bored, and miserable, you don’t want to eat dull wholesome food. You want something a little bit ‘tasty’. There is always some cheaply pleasant thing to tempt you.”

That’s not really his mission. He’s applying bandages to indivduals and not trying to cure cancer for everyone. If he’s anything like me, he is telling people how to turn the mechanisms of the system to their advantage. For example, credit cards obviously are meant to suck users dry but once one’s financial situation is stable they can suddenly become a 30-day interest-free loan vehicle (by always paying off the full balance on the due date, or what banks privately call being a “deadbeat” customer).


I didn’t think it was possible to be this financially stupid, or just stupid in general.

Caleb: What is your rent per month?
Any one of the people in his videos: I don’t know.

I watched three of his videos, and just wanted to slap some sense into these people through my monitor. Knowing that my monitor costs about $300, I decided it was a bad investment.


I’ve learned that there are a whole bunch of reasons besides stupidity why people end up in these situations.


I absolutely share your perspective on structural inequality – I will say, many many people who go on Caleb’s show did not grow up in poverty, are not poor, and in fact many are privileged and make a lot of money (comparably). He’s much harsher on those folks, and when he does have folks who are not privileged, he’s much more kind and empathetic.


Agreed, anyone can be a victim of circumstance, and I’m sure he’s got some videos where that has occurred, but I’m not going to watch them all to find them.

Financial literacy is a great skill to have in a capitalist society, and I’m glad that I’m middle school I took Home Ec and Ec(onomics). Growing up, my parents never bought anything unless they had the cash for it, and that being a time before the internet always paid cash, I never saw my parents use a credit card. Times change of course, and I only use a credit card to get that sweet 5% cash back on all purchases, including some utilities. One still has to be disciplined with their finances though, and at a bare minimum you have to know what you make and what you spend.


If you’re in crypto get help from a mental health professional because you’re crazy


It’s worthwhile to think about systemic inequality and address it through political action, but that doesn’t help the indebted individual right now. To keep it personal: when I was in debt I couldn’t abolish capitalism, but I could ask my parents for a loan (and I was of course very fortunate that they were both able and willing to provide) and live on brown rice and beans for a few months. Finding a way out of a dire personal finance situation can be extremely empowering, and it’s a thing a lot of people need some help with.


This is very common with older people. By happenstance, this article just came through my feed this morning.


One telltale sign of financial trauma is money avoidance, Dr. Melkumian said. In other words, some traumatized people might refuse to create a budget, open their bills or discuss their finances.

Avoidance can also mean neglecting to spend when you should. For example, Mr. Sabree used to chalk his behavior up to frugality. But he realized that unlike saving for a rainy day, his choices were sometimes driven by a desire to avoid another brush with poverty.


Overspending can also be evidence of financial trauma. You might try to compensate for feeling deprived as a child by overindulging as an adult. For instance, you could blow your savings on a vacation, eat out too much or spend all your money shopping online


I honestly prefer Ramit Sethi’s “I Will Teach You to Be Rich” and his recent Netflix show “How to Become Rich”. He’s got a good balance between reality and meeting people where they are.

Stuff like this can be too big on entertainment value of hitting the small things, first, rather than laying out the big ticket, repetitive wins, and setting a clear limit, then letting that control day-to-day spending. Stuff like this focuses too much on shaming early stuff and less about systematically changing your structure. This risks really scaring people away from facing their facts.


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