Debt: Intangible

It’s been a while since we featured anything about personal finance here at New Escapologist, so here is some wisdom concerning debt from a thoughtful recent edition of The Whippet:

Debt is a mental and emotional construct, not a tangible thing. That is, I loaned you $500 and now we both have the memory of that event, we share the opinion that you now need to pay me back that $500, and we share some values that you would be a garbage friend if you didn’t pay it back (unless you couldn’t, yada yada). So debt is the word that encompasses a bunch of ideas that we both have, that creates a relationship between us.

But those beliefs can also exist in the head of a single individual. Maybe you asked for $500 as an outright gift, because you knew you’d struggle to pay it back. But I misunderstood and thought it was a loan. And now the debt exists in my head, but it doesn’t exist in yours. FRAUGHT.

It’s an excellent read. Check it out, especially the points about the difference between technical and emotional debt as a way to stay mentally serene in the face of having a negative hi-score.

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About

Robert Wringham is a humorist and the editor-in-chief of New Escapologist.

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