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January 07, 2022

Until debt do us part

By Deirdre McMurdy, Sympatico / MSN Finance

It's no real surprise to learn that people who make loans to family and friends not only feel pressure to do so, but they only get their money back about a quarter of the time. And they have only a one in four chance of getting paid interest.

Those are among findings from a new Investor's Group poll that also indicated 64 per cent of us have borrowed more than $500 at some time from a family member or a friend.

Debts- bad and otherwise - are the subject of a new book, Payback, written by Margaret Atwood, who's better known for her fiction than her views on economic issues.

But that's precisely what makes the book so interesting: it looks at debt as a fundamental element in the human experience, a concept that's deeply ingrained in society, religion, art and culture.

Of particular relevance, Ms. Atwood argues that our debts - and striving to manage them - is largely what defines us and our lives. As adults, most of us acquire huge debts that we spend the bulk of our lives working to pay them down. She also notes that after a period when debt was accepted as inevitable, it's now reverted to being equated with sin and lack of discipline.

It's a highbrow book that uses history, literature, anthropology and religion to bring a broad context to a subject that's getting a lot of attention these days.

Ms. Atwood, however, offers no advice on how to get that loan back from your brother-in-law.



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