What pushes people over the edge financially?

financially cashFALLING ON HARD TIMES…


We all know someone who has struggled financially at some point in their lives and although it’s not easy to stay above the water how some people handle it is shocking.

It seems like each time September rolls around the media is filled with articles about people who are getting into trouble with the law for reasons relating to money.

Financially holidays such as Thanksgiving and Christmas can be a tough time for people who struggle with their money. Many struggle in silence.

It’s no wonder talking about personal finance is taboo especially if people are ashamed of their debt load. This time of year it seems as if we hear more about thefts, robberies, fraud and scams leading into the Christmas holiday.

Just the other day on Facebook my wife read a message on a group board from a mom advising other moms to make sure they lock their doors and take their gifts inside as someone had broken into her car and she lost everything.

It only took me a few minutes online this morning to read another article about a couple who faked a pregnancy so they could steal products from an electronics store in Barrie, Ontario. He would unwrap the electronics and she would stuff them in her fake belly. Desperate, you bet!

Do they not think that there are cameras all over the shop? Likely they don’t care which is sad. After I read that I asked myself what pushes these people over the edge financially that they get involved with crimes that could land them in jail or with a huge fine?

When you hear these stories you wonder if they have children who are waiting for their parents to come home. It saddens me to think that these children may suffer because their parents are on an extended vacation in the slammer for crimes they commit. The sad part is the crimes are often to take care of the little ones or to satisfy other greedy needs.

Some might blame mental health, drugs or alcohol for the people who feel the need to commit a crime but at the end of the day no one is above the law. So what are some of the reasons that someone would break the law? Money problems comes to mind.

It’s just not the law that people who are financially strapped and committing these crimes are getting into trouble with. People are stealing from their friends, family and loved ones.


Financially over the edge


Today I want to talk about what pushes these people to the point where they decide to rob a bank, steal or even kill someone for money. It happens every day!

Below are some of the actions that I could think of that someone might commit when they are pushed over the edge.

  • Lie
  • Cheat
  • Theft
  • Robbery
  • Fraud
  • Money laundering
  • Murder
  • Attempted murder
  • Abduction
  • Scams
  • Burglary

It’s without a doubt an act of desperation but there are people who are financially in the red yet have morals which prevent them from thinking about such acts. There are no excuses. Let’s take a look at a handful of reasons why people might do what they do when they are pushed into a corner financially.


Job loss/Injury


No job is secure these days and for those people who still believe they are safe from the dreaded pink slip are surprised when they it happens to them. The problem is many people go ahead and max themselves out financially so that in the event something should happen their financial ship would be sunk.

It’s important to have a back up plan in the event of job loss but if you don’t it can be difficult to make ends meet if there are no emergency savings to fall back on. Finding another job is a clear option but taking advantage of programs offered from Employment Insurance (EI) to gain new skills while collecting EI is a great way to invest in yourself and your sanity.

You can also make use of the local food bank for free groceries and hygiene products to get over the hump. Most cities have programs available for those in need that help with food, clothing and even housing.

Others might be struggling due to injury on or off the job and waiting for insurance companies to approve their application for help but in the meantime have no money coming in. Sometimes it takes months if not years to get answers from insurance companies who are adjudicating a case which can financially ruin someone who is not prepared.

Finding ways to survive send some people into survival mode when their bank account is empty. It’s tough but no one expects to get injured or find out they have an illness


Relationship stress


Job loss can be so stressful even for the best of relationships but it’s not the only reason relationships push people to do things they typically wouldn’t just for money.

If their spouse is spending too much money or the couple is on the verge of bankruptcy because no bank will give them a loan and they don’t have money to cover their debt turning to crime seems like a last option. It’s not but it’s difficult to see when you needed money yesterday and the bills are due now.

Most people don’t want to lose the love of their life or they want to provide for their family so any stress from lack of funds might make someone think of ways to get what they need even if it compromises their relationship and family life.


High Debt load no savings


When bankruptcy looms and creditors are calling it may drive someone to do something they will later regret. Although for whatever reasons the debt was created it has to be paid back and ignoring it only makes it worse.

When there isn’t enough money to buy food, pay the rent and bills desperate people who see no light at the end of the tunnel will do just about anything. Stealing is a great way to make fast cash by selling products that are hot or taking money that doesn’t belong to them. Money scams are a huge industry.

Do you remember that parking lot scam we were involved in earlier this summer? All it takes is for someone to find a few people to feel sorry for them and they will get the money they need to go on with their day.

This happened to us the other day again while at the grocery store. We watched him walk away and start looking in the windows of vehicles likely to see who left their door open. It’s not uncommon to hear about vehicle thefts especially around the holidays.

Many people tend to back away from giving and would rather donate right to the food bank or other services that help those who are struggling. This way they know that their donation is going towards what it is intended.

If these people don’t get what they need they will do what it takes to keep the roof over their head and their bellies full even if there are services to help them in the community. A warm night in jail is better than living homeless on the streets.


Peer pressure


When they have friends that are out of their league financially it can cause serious pressure to spend money they don’t have. Whether it’s to go out on the town, vacations or make other purchases they must find more money to make sure they can stay part of the social group.

These people tend to believe that this is the only way up the popularity ladder because it’s all about who you know. That may be true but let’s say that again… “It’s all about who you know’ NOT “How much money is in your bank account”.

Won’t you look like a fool when get caught in a lie, stealing, fraud or even murder just to fund your lavish lifestyle. Yes people get murdered for money.


Career stress


When a career is the source of stress whether you hate your job or not but have too much debt on your plate this can send someone who is vulnerable off the deep-end. Do you know someone who is not happy with the amount of money they make at their job and they live to get a raise or advancement in the organization that pays more money?

Sure you do because just about every company has one of these people. Sometimes jealousy can get the best of these types of people and one way they fight back is financially padding their bank account with money or products that don’t belong to them. This is their way of saying they work hard for the company and they are “owed”.


Personal goals


Setting financial goals that are far too high may lead the overachiever to commit crimes just so they can prove to people that they have achieved financial success.

If your friends live the posh life and you are trying to keep up with them the only way to show you’ve got the brains to go with your finances is to find a way to drive up the amount of money in the bank.

Sadly, this is only to impress others and is short-lived and likely these people will turn their back on you when the hear your name on the news or are getting the cuffs slapped on by the police.




When someone is depressed they may do things that no one will ever be able to explain. Depression is a scary time for someone and their loved one’s who try to help. Depression can easily come about when money is the main issue.

It’s at this time especially if depression is due to not being able to financially stay on top of their bills it may just push them over the edge. It’s always a good idea to talk to you doctor or encourage someone to do so if you believe they are depressed.




Marc and Angel offer an amazing 75 tips for those who are struggling with tough times whether it’s financially or for other reasons to help keep the spirit alive that I encourage you to read.

There never are simple answers to all the scenarios above but what we need to do is remind ourselves when tough times hit to make the most of the situation and seek the help which is needed.

What other reasons can you think of that send people off the deep end financially?



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  1. I do think drug and or alcohol addiction is a big part of it. The dudes who burglarized our house several years ago where from rich families but were heroin addicts trying to hide it from their family. They did it because they were punks and felt like it. Sure they were desperate. Desperate for their next fix. That doesn’t explain all desperate acts but I have to wonder if it is actually the higher reason.

    1. It’s no secret that when some addicts get desperate for money they will do just about anything even if they come from rich homes. Just because their parents are rich doesn’t mean they have a hand in their pocket. It may be a higher reason. Some rich kids have nothing better to do with their time especially if they aren’t motivated because life is handed to them on a silver platter. How many movie stars kids have suffered because of this?

  2. It’s dangerous when people go over the edge and you never know when it might happen. So it’s a good idea to be prepared and ready when the tough times comes. Know who to call and what to do.

  3. It’s just sad that people are apt to do these things especially when there is no other way to get money. The worst is people get killed. I just wish that government provide more sustainable jobs and people would just think some other good means.

  4. We have been through the hard times, still there but we now know what is coming in. It may not be that much but we manage. We had been doing well with hubby working a fair bit of overtime at work, and investments and RRSP’s.
    In Sept 2009 hubby was doing our roof and fell off the roof. That he was in over his head on that job is beside the point but we were lucky our truck with a hard fibreglass cover over the bed was parked where it was as he hit the back of the truck on the way down. The suspension took the force but he flipped onto the driveway when things recoiled. Basel line skull fracture, wrecked shoulder and 10 months off work…… We managed by selling off some of those investments…. Hubby thought we would be OK as once he got back to work and the overtime we could replace the investments. Except that with his shoulder he couldn’t do a lot of the work that got him the overtime before.
    A little over a year after he went back to work he got sick,took a few months to figure out the problem, short version he was diagnosed with Amyloidosis in June 2012. He is now retired as there is no way he can do his former job. I’m caregiver here and pretty much the sole driver to any appointments. He currently collects CPP-D and ODSP from the government. We get board from our 2 boys living at home and they help me out a great deal.
    We always knew if we needed it we could go to the Salvation Army church and the food bank. We have wonderful friends that have been there for us to help out and such. We went a number of months with nothing coming in. Hubby got short term disability from his work for 17 weeks, then we got EI for another 17 weeks. He had no long term disability so we applied for and eventually got the CPP-D from the government. But it takes time for that to be approved and we had 2-3 months of nothing at all coming in. It’s scary, stressful, and whole lot of other emotions. I wouldn’t wish it on anyone but I was never that desperate that I would or could do any of those things you mentioned. In a way I can understand it but I could never do it………

  5. Thanks for the link to the 75 tips – an interesting read!

    People do desperate things in desperate times. After several reports of people selling frozen turkeys in the social club, my policewoman friend hung around the frozen food store down the road and watched. A young girl came out with a frozen turkey stuffed up her jumper. My friend asked her to take it out and the woman insisted she was pregnant and that it was violating her privacy to show the policewoman her stomach.

    So, my friend played the waiting game. She said to the thief that she was just going to wait there with her for 20-30 minutes. Eventually the thief cracked when the frozen turkey against her bare skin became too much to bare!

    Its crazy what some people will do, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the financial pressures of Christmas had driven this woman to shove a Christmas turkey up her jumper rather than paying for it!

    1. Haha…. smart policewomen friend of yours. Christmas is a horrible time for many people and yes they do silly things like stuff a turkey just to have something to put on the table or in this case selling them. Sad that they see no other alternatives in their lives.

  6. The situations you described can lead to such desperation. While I agree that no one is above the law, I know that I can’t fully understand what it’s like to be in someone else’s shoes. For some it may be the thrill of the crime, but others may not have access to the social services they need. It’s such a complicated and sad situation.

    1. Funny I did write about some people doing it for the thrill then I took it out of the post but you are right. Not everyone who does commit these crimes are desperate for money maybe they are desperate for attention.

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