Simon Read: Is there any stopping the 'borrow now pay later' lot?


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The Independent Online

With reports that more than 32m people have been on the receiving end of those annoying PPI claims calls, texts and emails, my thoughts return to an email about annoying loan emails I received earlier this week from reader Jonathan Dumbell of Torquay.

Jonathan has contacted me in the past about the misery that can follow taking out payday loans. Now, after promotion at work, he's out of debt. "In fact I can now save 20 per cent of my salary into savings accounts and 10 per cent into my pension. I'm mortgage free and have no other debts," he says. That's great news. I wish more readers could report being in such a positive position!

But the fact that he's out of debt doesn't mean he's not still plagued by lenders. Jonathan reports: "This morning I opened my email account to find 27 emails in my spam folder: 21 were offering loans or credit cards.

"I usually get this amount on a daily basis and delete them without opening them. I thought it would be interesting to count them up over the week." By Friday he had received 89!

That's interesting and demonstrates how easy it can be to fall into debt when temptation is constantly arriving in our in-boxes. Their is also pressure, of course, from up-to-their-neck-in-debt 'friends' who say it's good to live on tick.

Jonathan reports the example of a friend of his who, he says, earns more than £150,000 year but has no pension provision or savings. "He has a £650,000 interest-only mortgage and hammers at me that I should borrow to buy a car or do home improvements to (and I quote) 'help the economy'. My arguments that I save to buy these things fall on deaf ears."

It's interesting, isn't it, that people who presumably know they are living on a dangerous financial edge want to encourage others to do the same. The key is to ignore anyone who encourages you to take on debt.

Jonathan also reports that he's learnt a lot recently from studying his grandfather's account books. "He died in 1976 aged 96 and never had a loan, credit card or overdraft but lived happily in his own home.

"In my 20s and 30s I would have derided him for not borrowing. Now I see that he was right all along. A shame I didn't learn that lesson much earlier!" Jonathan says. It's a shame that most of us don't learn that lesson early enough in life!

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