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75% of the population in Mauritius are in debt, who is to blame?
Recent statistics compiled by APEA (Association pour la Protection des Emprunteurs Abusés) show that 75% of Mauritians are indebted and that 10% are on the verge of bankruptcy.
Why do you think we have reached such an alarming level of debt in this country?
It is one of the alarming effects of the "consumer society". People are drawn into a spiral of a life style that they cannot really afford. For example, the government has pushed the notion that every family should have a university graduate. The government does give some assistance to maintain the university student in some cases. However, when there are several young people in one family parents cannot deny to offer the others the same education possibility. When you have two children going to university and your are a low-income earner then the chances are you are in debt because of loans. There needs to be the right balance in budget management. Sometimes it means accepting that you cannot do the same as others but the societal pressures are real.
You've raised an interesting point. If the first child has gone to university, then it is unfair not to send the second one. You get significant help with the costs of sending your child to uni if you're a low income earner, that is, when the parents do not be make more than Rs15,000 a month. Now how many household bring in Rs20,000 monthly? I'd say a lot and they don't get financial help with university costs.
However I think the real problem lies in the fact that people nowadays are spending more than they can afford. I'm surprised at how many people have the latest gadgets; mobile phones costing more than Rs30,000, tablets, digital cameras, well you name it and they have it. How often do people change their mobile phones here? A year or sooner if a new and better one has been released.
Now to mention the mentality of "if my neighbour has this, I'm going to get something better"...
I know of cases where the low-income is approx. Rs 6,000 p/month. The family unit is four, the head of the family is retired, the wife works, and two children are in uni. It is obvious that there is severe financial difficulties to survive each month. Debts can include electricity bills, telephone, internet access. Other expenses include materials for uni such as laptops, books, clothes, sports/gym attire. Under such circumstances many are not eating proper meals each day. Consequences of which are the appearance of medical ailments. Personally, I cannot understand why people cannot draw the line and take decisions rather than plunging themselves in spiralling debt. The mentality today is different to the 50-60's where parents and kids accepted that not everyone would be able to have it all.
I think that plastics (bank cards) have a lot to do with this. In the 50s, people were dealing mostly with real money; it's not like nowadays where you swipe your card and settle your bill. If people were paying cash, they would be more careful with their spending. Imagine counting the notes before handing it over to someone else - you would think twice before spending your hard earned money, right?
Bit funny, but I remember people burying/hiding money/gold under trees, they used it as bank in 50s..
Think about Positive points of Paper money:
1. No risk in loosing it/thieves (Password protected)
2. No need to count every now and then for any transaction.. It is automated.
3. No deterioration of papers. (Imagine your Rs. 1 Million got eaten by termites/insects... Oh $h!t.. you're poor again)..lol
4. Last but not the list - No problem if you jumped in water with your Debit/Credit card.
Change is the only thing that remains unchanged. Rule of evolution applies everywhere. We adapt or PERISH (like our good friend - DODO)..
No more applicable.
How do these statistics breakdown? Do they include mortgage debt?
There is a big difference between having a manageable debt on a house - or a car in some cases - to having excess consumer debt.
Of course it's a matter of opinion whether any sort of debt is good or bad. Some would say you should never take a loan even to buy a house - others would rather not spend their whole life saving to by one.
Our financial system is debt based - money is debt by definition. Businesses and governments take out and offer loans as a matter of course. If your debts are unsecured then why not make the business decision to just walk away? I don't know what the bankruptcy laws are in Mauritius though.
I haven't seen a detailed breakdown of the stats but if three-quarters of the population is affected, then it must be bad - that's why the APEA is trying to raise more awareness for consumers.
A manageable debt is not necessary good because you may be able to afford it given your current circumstances which may change (with loss of job / earnings).
What measures have been put in place to protect consumers against debt? In one recent discussion, someone said they were able to get hold of a credit card without a job. Surely there's something wrong with the society, right?
Like Mike has said one of the issues here is that the Government makes is near impossible to get a good job without a degree and that costs a lot of money that many people do not have. I also find that weddings here are so ridiculous I know someone who spent millions on his first child's wedding, I mean come on, really?
Also like Gices said there is a lot of competition here on who has the most, biggest and best. My neighbour just bought a new van and still has a pick up truck so all my other neighbours are like 'ooh look at him, why does he need both' everyone is competing with each other.
Then you have 4 year olds with ipads that the parent's have no idea how to use, I was at a birthday party the other week and there was a 4 year old and a 5 year old sitting in the corner glued to their ipads, in my days we were playing hide and seek and chasing the balloon, what happened?
There is too much peer pressure and parent's cave in to the children's request, in my day no meant no.
People need to be stronger and not cave into social pressures, I think I may be the only one I know who has never used internet on their phone, I have no need to.
Indian weddings tend to be really costly - they span on several days, require lots of decoration, large venues, lots of food and expensive clothes. Many parents can't afford this but are expected to do so (family pressure, status etc) and resort to taking a loan to meet up with the costs. I personally don't think it's necessary.
Off topic but it might help someone stay out of debt.
One of the few ways I know to get a degree-equivalent qualification without the expense is by taking the Royal Statistical Society exams. You can self study or take inexpensive guided study programmes. The graduate diploma has worldwide recognition and is equivalent to a good UK Honours Degree.
Not for everyone I know but it could help a few...
Agreed. It should be simplest possible. Money can be used to help new couple get jump-started in starting their family.
@grasslizard : Great suggestion :)
@Zeroun : Definitely, instead of feeding relatives, that money would be better spent to give the newly weds a kickstart in their life together.
i would rather say, " stay happy with what you have", taking loans etc is one of the worse thing anyone can do if they can't repay that back. sometimes the need is crucial , then there is no solution but whenever possible, Loan is something which people should avoid, it only leads the person to make loss and maybe in a way or another increase his stress in his daily life. The major profit makers of loans are banks.
IF anyone thinks of student loans etc, i don't suggest that, because before you even get a work you realise you have a debt to pay. but sometimes we have no choice, you can't blame the society where people are middle class mostly. Not everyone is born with a golden spoon in his mouth. everyone gotta work hard in order to build a future. but in order to build a future , budget and money is a crucial aspect.
That's the reason people move for it. you can't stop poverty but well i would had been happy to see people helping one another in case of education etc. but we are living in a crucial and selfish world , everyone cares about their own problems or rather everyone has problems.
Tomorrow you need to get married, build a house, start a future, if you are not left with the minimum sum of money by your ancestors, you will end up taking a loan. so i guess the summary of debts only includes poverty. Some people want to start a buisness, without capital their only choice remaining is taking a loan, so basically , we can't solve such a problem, it has evolved in our daily life and interest became something which almost destroy the life of the loan taker.
anyway, stay in your limits and your shoes, don't dream stars if you are gonna stay on land, dream a future, build a future but not one which is higher than the rate of a king or a prince. build a future which will be the basic need for you for your life.
The rate of interests of bank is too high as per as i guess, some people might even stay unable to pay it even when they reach their old age. the government needs to have special arrangement for people taking loans experiencing poverty.
Well, my opinion of Mauritian society is that we are copy-cats. Most of the people wants to live a life-style that they can not afford! While trying to do so, they're indebted. Because by nature humans are greedy. Dream of a bigger car, bigger houses never end. Humbly I would like to remind that - "humans have unlimited wants with limited resources."
While taking loans, one must seriously think about unforeseen circumstances like sickness, death, redundancy, unemployment.
May GOD save us from greed's !