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The Culture Of Borrowing And Debt: An Ethnographic Approach

Sunday, June 23, 2013 - 9:08 AM
From The Financial Brand, revealing details of an interesting study on people's philosophy and attitudes toward loans and debt, and how financial marketers can respond to these emotional needs in the lending process.
Americans have a complicated relationship with debt, one that defies easy analysis. That’s why a pair of researchers from Filene, a credit union think tank, chose to study the subject using ethnographic models.

What is ethnography, you ask? It is an anthropological, interview-based approach to research that eschews statistics and data to better reveal beliefs, feelings and perceptions.

Filene’s report, “The Culture of Borrowing and Debt: An Ethnographic Approach,” set out to tackle two overarching issues: how consumers relate to borrowing and debt, and how financial marketers can respond to those basic borrowing needs. With that in mind, Filene used the following eight questions to guide its research project:

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Some surprising results, for example:  consumers will choose the path of least resistance when obtaining loans, even if the deal isn’t as good.  However, I am not certain this is true for members of the DA community. 
5
pearlbrownpearlbrown1,356 posts since
Nov 2, 2010
Rep Points: 5,955
1. Sunday, June 23, 2013 - 4:38 PM
"As consumers make decisions about borrowing, achieving balance is a critical component to how comfortable and satisfied they feel about their choices, Filene’s researchers note in their report. If a consumer can hit a point of equilibrium between their emotional and the financial drivers — what Filene labels “the golden mean” — he or she is more likely to feel good about the loan and their financial picture overall."

It also depends on the nature of the debt (e.g., mortage vs. new car loan).  Fundamentally, too many Americans treat loans and the resulting debt as a natural means to obtain more money.  Nowadays, one can borrow from FIs in terms of personal loans, home equity, home mortgage, education, cars, credit cards, etc..  There is no shortage of fund resources.  That is why the culture is borrowing/debt and the country itself is heavily in debt.  People have to re-learn only to spend what one HAVE, not what one can borrow.  The most happy person should be a person free of any debt. 
1
51hh51hh1,460 posts since
Jan 16, 2010
Rep Points: 6,348
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