“Big Hat, No Cows”

Looking around today it’s hard to ignore the fact that many people are struggling. Long lines at the food banks here are hard to ignore. During hard times it’s not uncommon for lower income families, or those on a fixed income to struggle to cover their monthly expenses. However, this time I suspect the issue is far worse than most people realize or want to admit. When you see someone tooling along in their new Mercedes you may think that guy or gal sure has it made, but are they really? When you see that family in the nice new house, new cars, latest toys, electronics, $8 latte, etc., they look great keeping up with the Jones’s, but they might be flat broke. There are people in their 60’s who still have student loan debt. A dear friend of mine needed to send me some documents recently, but embarrassingly admitted he had to wait till payday to afford the shipping. He has a nice house, good job and works tons of overtime, but a big mortgage, credit card debt and rising interest rates coupled with inflation has that ship sinking fast.

Big Hat, No Cows. An old boss of mine from Dallas, very successful guy, warned all of us that worked for him of this very trap. Buying all the cool toys on credit and looking the part, while privately flat broke or just barely making ends meet; he called it ‘Big Hat, No Cows.’ I fully admit that was me at one time. The wife and I were both making killer money and spending it as fast as it came in. We had the custom home, I drove a Lincoln, had a new Kawasaki ZX-9R in the 3-car garage, massive entertainment center in the ‘man cave,’ ate out or ordered food every day and had a wicked case of writer’s cramp from writing out all those bills every month. We looked like we were killing it, but in reality, we worked all the time and had little in the bank to show for it. Eventually we snapped out of that matrix, sold off the toys, paid off the debt and set a plan in action to get out of the rat race. Wasn’t easy, but we were very lucky.

So many people I fear are in that debt trap right now and sliding towards disaster. I for one think this economic downturn is still in the very early stages and the worst of the pain still lies ahead. I keep hearing people say this is just temporary, or the Fed knows what they’re doing or that the government won’t let that happen and other excuses to keep on just doing what they’re doing. The not so fun fact is that the Great Depression lasted 10 years, let that sink in. Everyone’s situation is different, but I hope you’ll take at least a few moments of honest reflection and evaluation of your own situation and make adjustments accordingly.

Prepare now.


  1. Another excellent article.

    My son makes fabulous money – more than almost anyone in my family’s history. Livin’ the life … the cars, the expensive past time of building great big ‘deuce and a half’ vehicles (he belonged to a group called Rednecks with Paychecks!), big family/friends bbqs. Livin’ the life. Then he started to develop health issues. Though not disabled, he can no longer do the physically demanding work he was doing and had to change jobs. This happened, of course, while he was having his new house built. Eye roll. He’s trying to adapt financially to the lower salary (a $30,000 a year loss) and fighting to keep his head above water. Mama told him, when he started making more and more money, to live beneath his income not equal to the income. But you know how it is … your kids only hear what they want to hear.

    Credit cards are a curse on you. If you can’t pay for the item today, what makes anyone think they can pay for it 30 days from now? As the cleaner quote reminds us – doo doo occurs. Avoid credit cards like the plague – because that’s what they are, a plague upon your house. And YOU signed up for it! If you find something you want/need – why not save up for it? Americans especially need to learn that instant gratification is the bane of their existence. You don’t need it right this minute. Plan for it.

    Keep blowing the clarion, Prepper – it’s important information.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Made sure the house was paid off before I retired. Always have saved 10% of every paycheck. Have no credit card debt. A bit of savings. And still worry with inflation and whatnot. Seems everyone today wants, gotta have etc. Its gonna kick them in arse soon.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. You are absolutely right. As Dave Ramsey used to say, ‘People spending money they don’t have on things they don’t need to impress people they don’t like.’ Some folks are headed for some tough times.

      Liked by 3 people

  3. So true, all of it. We were there in ’08; using credit cards to make other credit card payments. It got so bad that one Saturday, I grocery shopped at the 7-11 because I could use the gas card still. We were $80,000 in unsecured debt…not a good place to be.
    We got help from a debt management company that charged us $1844 a month for 5 years. they in turn, sent payments to our creditors until one by one, they were all paid off.

    Liked by 1 person

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