Loss of a Job.

With the continuing loss of jobs to a large sector of our community, without a doubt some will be heading for a period of belt tightening, and as well, a large dollop of relative poverty. Like it or like it not, everyone has a different idea of what the experience of real poverty is, and what’s more how to handle it. Some in this life have always had it good, many can’t possibly do without the so called good things of life, their expensive Cars, Sky Television, Telephone, Mobile telephones, Heat, Takeaways, the list is endless when you come to add up what makes up the ‘Good Life’. I haven’t even got around to the more mundane things such as Mortgage repayments, Medical Insurance, Private School fees. I know my list seems endless, and all absolutely necessary. Someone once said, for some families spending always exceeds income, some of it always seems to end up on their ‘Cards’, we will attend to that next month. Many people too have no idea of how to downsize, and balance their living expenses. A short period of living on their ‘Dole’ money entitlement, I know will soon motivate them. No one should starve, if the current levels of Benefit Payments are maintained. I only hope in many cases that their marriages are strong enough for the test it is going to be given. In the past and in 1930’s many of our older folk experienced a depression, (this is the only one I have had any personal experience of) then people were not only denied many of life’s pleasures, but many times sad to say, many families went to bed hungry. During this time the unemployed benefit was a ten times more basic than today, so basic that for many there was no money for anything other than to pay their rent, and put some very fundamental food onto the table. This was a terrible inditement on the Government of the day, there was plenty of food in the country. It seemed the only problem was distribution, I suppose also pressure from existing traders, as any free handouts would effected their business which was suffering as well. Sheep at one time were worth only 10 cents each,


In times past I used to do volunteer budget work, I found that in many cases, the problems in families were the same, regardless of each candidate’s financial position. It didn’t seem to matter whether the people in trouble drove up in a BMW, or rode a push bike. The solution seemed always to be the same, to take the immediate pressure off them so that they could think straight, then try to get them to live within their means. And of course let go a lot of expensive things we used to think that comes under the heading of indispensable. Simple things such as a refrigerator or washing machine are, but with reduced cash flow ‘Sky Television’ isn’t and when you only have a benefit to live on, you don’t have many choices, and it’s surprising what you can do without.


Strangely for older people it isn’t all that difficult to manage, as most of us have already had a taste of living frugally. As well, in our youth many didn’t enjoy what is now called today’s necessities of life, or luxury’s. We managed even without a telephone, the corner call box gave us all the communication we required to our extended family and friends. For many cases of folk in trouble, I blame many of the lending institutions and finance companies. In many cases where people have lost their homes, or are in danger of, the problem can be traced back to when the loan was first issued. Loans being handed out a few years back were set up to fail. I’m talking about 100% loans, and interest only. This was an exercise in stupidity. Once the housing market went into decline, the clients were in a flash put into a position where they now had an ‘negative’ interest in the property. Add sickness, or the loss of a job to this equation, and you now have a situation that’s beyond help.


Even at the threshold of a depression we were experiencing a wave of burglaries, especially around our Universities and other areas where flats are plentiful. (The Insurance companies load premiums in our CBD. and the district bounded by the four Avenues, as burglars it seems are not prepared to walk very far.) We have one section of our young if they can’t get the ‘Good Things of Life’ one way, they are prepared to help themselves by breaking and entering. They know if caught they will be treated leniently, it’s just a cry for help.




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