Anon: “He who goes a-borrowing goes a-sorrowing.” Not only does borrowing bring added care for the property of other people — it destroys self-reliance in the man himself. In the light of good judgment, lack of funds may well serve as an indication to the individual that something is wrong in the course he pursues, that the step he plans is either false or premature, or that he is going in debt, not for need but to satisfy a personal desire. Perhaps wisdom would say that unless all the principal factors in a contemplated move are present, one would better wait, and create in himself a feeling of satisfaction with things as they are — at least until such time that the ways open up for natural change. Borrowing, moreover, never solves problems, but only puts off the day of reckoning. The man who borrows gambles with the future. For who knows what tomorrow will bring? Where is the person who can say with certainty that when the time for paying back a loan comes he will be in better circumstance than he is at the present moment? The impulse to borrow indicates an unwillingness on the part of men to face their present situations squarely. Afraid to take inventory of ourselves, we poultice our ailments with a loan, upon the uncertain prospects of tomorrow. Oh for the courage to give up extravagant desires and to live within the limit of one’s means!
The growth and success of money-lending agencies have grown out of the realization on the part of individuals that borrowing and lending among friends is a dangerous practice, that in the final analysis it does not pay. Inspired not by the motive of helping others, but of realizing an interest on the dollar, loan agencies take advantage of the human frailty of unthriftiness, of the uncontrolled desire for things. Hence usury — the pounds of flesh exacted in payment by the Shylocks of modern times. And banks and agencies have found by experience that people who begin the practice of borrowing are likely to remain regular customers. The habit once commenced has a tendency to repeat, so that some remain debtors for the balance of their lives.