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Home » Live, Personal Motivation

Personal Responsibility and Finance

Last updated by on November 4, 2014

Fresh off of my snarky “crowdfund my wedding” post a few weeks back, I have been keeping an eye on the latest crowdfunding trends. What a racket!

There was the story of the attractive and heavily criticized “posh brat“, an aspiring master’s degree student, who was able to fund her degree from Oxford through a crowdfunding plea. Over 26,000 British pounds ($44,000 USD), to be exact.

Whatever happened to using your youth and good looks to pay off your degree through more admirable endeavors… like stripping?

I love one I found in a Google search, from an aspiring law student (because what the world really wants now is to fund more lawyers). The result? $0 towards a $51K goal after 28 months. Ironically, the prospective student is pictured 20,000 feet in the air during a skydive on the campaign page.

But this one, from a better-off-than-most-beggar soliciting the Get Rich Slowly blog for $158,600 to pay off his family’s mortgage got me fired up. Why would anyone in their right mind give to such a cause when there are impoverished, disease-ravaged children literally starving to death? I’ll let him explain,

“For starters, you get to be a part of a fund that helps a family achieve a life-long goal of having financial freedom.

If this still doesn’t answer the questions “what’s in it for me?” or “what do I get for donating?” I answer with a question: “Wouldn’t it be great to be a part of something that helped one family at a time?”

If a regular guy like me was able to actually receive $5 donations from approximately 31,000 people, what stops me from starting an organization that helps others who want to achieve financial freedom?”

personal responsibilityWell… how about that you aren’t able to take personal responsibility for your own mortgage, for starters?

I hear there are credit card debt payoff crowdfunding campaigns out there as well, but I’ll refrain from making your blood boil further.

Sure, it would be nice for a group of people to swoop in and absolve you of personal responsibility. But it’s a mighty big ask. The average personal savings rate in this country is 5%, average mortgage debt is at $147,591, average student loan debt is $31,646, and the average auto loan debt is at $30,738!

People have their own bills to pay. And in the limited amount that they want to give to others, it’s typically reserved for more admirable causes than directly or indirectly subsidizing your poor spending and saving habits. Animal rescue and shelters, hunger drives, food banks, disaster relief, disease fighting research, etc., etc.

And lets say that enough people do show questionable judgment and save the day for you. Your end goal may be met, but you will have to live the rest of your life knowing that you did nothing to earn it.

There’s still something to be said for going out and earning it the hard way. Whether it’s digging yourself out of debt, funding your own education or wedding, or paying off your mortgage after decades (ideally only years) of hard work – those are intensely rewarding things. They are things that you can feel good about for the rest of your life. And the destination to get to those end goals can teach you valuable lessons. It’s called personal responsibility. And it is rewarding when seen through.

Just because you CAN ask others for handouts, doesn’t mean you SHOULD.

Have some personal pride, chase it, and earn it. Everyone will be better off for it, yourself included.

About the Author
I am G.E. Miller, & this is my story. My goal is financial independence ASAP. If you share that goal, join me & 10,000+ others by getting FREE email updates. You can also explore every post I have written, in order.

  • Tyler says:

    I agree that the lack of personal responsibility seems lacking. It seems like strategic defaults and bankruptcy run wild in our culture.

    Comments are no fun with out discussion so to give an alternative POV:

    Helping people is good. Its not really our job to judge their spending habits, but most people who donate are probably under a mountain of debt themselves, and that doesn’t really help anyone.

  • Let me go about this in a round-about way. Kids get trophies for finishing last. I spoke to my sister recently who told me my niece finished 4th. So I asked if she got a trophy? Yep. How many teams? Five. You can’t reward failure. And 4th out of 5 IS failing. You’re nearly the worst performer out there and yet you get a reward!

    I think that this sort of thing breeds people to not want to do better. If you saw other kids celebrating while you got nothing then you would work to get better. Instead you cherish your trophy and feel like you were great!

    That’s probably a poorly worded metaphor as I’m on my phone but hopefully you get the point!


  • Nathaniel Kidd says:

    I for one am an advocate for personal responsibility. There are too many people these days as it is who do not take personal responsibility for their financial situation and allow others to get them out of their troubles.

    I feel that paying off our own debt is rewarding and there is builds character. I truly enjoyed your views on this topic.

  • Charles says:

    I totally agree with Posh Brat’s idea that if people are willing to give her money, who is she to say no.
    The bigger concern is who are these people giving this money? I know a Nigerian Prince who won’t stop emailing me about Diamond mines…

  • Dominic says:

    I believe personal responsibility is a massive part of becoming financially independent.

    I wouldn’t fault the solicitor, though.

    The people donating are just as guilty of not being personally responsible as the solicitor is. Why would I contribute my money to get someone else out of debt? I don’t see the sense in that. I hold my self to a pretty high degree of self responsibility in that regard.

  • Chris says:

    I’m all for the freedom of choice … if they can make a compelling pitch, I might give them money. They might not deserve it, but then again, few people do, using the personal responsibility argument.

  • Ron Ablang says:

    It now looks like the online version of pandhandling.


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