Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Wait - These aren't my socks?

So I was reading Three Black Skirts (hush, we all read stuff with silly names) the other day and came across a line that resonated:

The things you buy on credit do not belong to you until you pay for them.
I've run into trouble making similar claims over the years - particularly when it comes to big television, cars, loans and mortgages.

I have a 2006 vehicle that took me 1.5 years to pay off. During that time I'd often correct people who would refer to the vehicle as mine or congratulate me on my "purchase." I'd even jokingly refer to it as Ted since it sounds like "debt" backwards. The problem with my own awareness of the bank's ownership was that it put others on the defensive.

Those were never fun conversations.

Yet when it comes to large purchases such as cars, homes and that finnicky hybrid mobile home when can ownership be accepted? Is it dictated by controlling interest? If someone is able to sell it, pay off the loan and have money left over can they consider the item their belonging?

Is the defining moment when you owe less than its worth? Or is it when you begin paying less in interest than on principal?

The only way I can think of justifying the opposing argument is by disassociating ownership from debt and the original purchase. Remember the scene in Sex and the City when Carrie realized she was broke and all her money had been spent on shiny footwear? That's a classic example of ignoring the paying part of shopping.