One of the problems with living a long life is that you end up with a lot of what-ifs to consider. Few of them are more troublesome that the ones that involve your finances. Credit card debt can seem necessary. It can seem like a good decision. After all, it is only a shinny piece of plastic. What harm could it do? The problem turns out to be that it started me down a slippery slope from which I would not completely recover from for many years.
A credit card gave me money I could spend when I had no money to spend. Using a credit card is mortgaging your future to pay for the present. My children actually said to me, when informed by me that we had no money, “you’ve got a credit card.” The trouble came when I started to say the same thing to myself.
I assumed that next month I would have money I did not have this month. Many months I did. But when I did not, I ended up with interest on my debt. The result was someone making a good living off of my inability to control by desire for things. Since I could not control my impulse to buy, someone else wasn’t having to control their impulse.
When I realized that I was working to make someone else richer, my control begin to return to me. When I got greedy and wanted to keep all the money I was working so hard to earn, my backbone begin to stiffen and my resolve to take control of my finances begin to take hold.
During this process, something occurred to me that helped me resolve to change my financial situation. Perhaps it will help you as well.
What may be a temporary solution can turn into a permanent problem. A divorce left me with alimony to pay, the kids, the house and all the same debts. A credit card was the perfect solution. And my credit card debt rose again and again for an unexpected repair, for a once in a lifetime problem and for this and for that.
Credit card companies make money every time you purchase an item at the expense of the seller or perhaps you. They charge the seller a percentage of the purchase amount for processing. Do you think the retailer takes the hit? Or is the price you pay raised.
But credit card companies make a lot more when you don’t pay your balance in full. As long as I paid the minimal balance, the credit card executives were happy. Compound interest added up to cruises, to trips to Europe and to a hefty retirement fund for them. All of this and more at my expense.
You already have too many credit cards, if you need another credit card, because you don’t have enough money left after paying on the ones you have. Enough said.
The rosy future you are counting on is often not rosy. If I don’t have the $1,000 to purchase it, I can manage a monthly payment of $25 for the next four or five years, I’m okay, right? What could go wrong over the next five years? The stock market is going to keep on rising. Employment will never get above eight percent. In fact, I will probably get a promotion and raise soon.
It’s been said by smarter men than I. Credit cards are dangerous. They can kill your dreams. Using them is mortgaging your future and maybe that of your children.