You know how I said that the “house always wins”? Well now I have proof that they do – in the past two weeks 15 credit card offers came to our house. FIFTEEN! That’s about one each and every day. Those companies know very well that the few dollars they spent on the mailings would come back to them many times over if they entice you to sign up. They all come with cheesy incentives to try and get you to sign up for their credit card and borrow their high-interest money. Here is my translation of their terrible incentive propositions:
“0% Interest Balance Transfers!” – “Move your debt to our bank so we make more money off of you”
“$150 bonus when you spend $2k in the first 30 days” – “Pay all of your household bills with this card for a month and we hope you don’t switch the payment methods so we continue to make money off of you.”
“Join now and be able to afford that new car you’ve always wanted!” – “Keep borrowing more money until you’re so far in, you use one credit card to pay off the other.”
With other people’s money being so readily available to American’s, trouble is always knocking on the door. It just takes that one day of weakness on our part. We sign up for the pre-approved card and go spend $50 on shoes, $300 on a new cell phone, $40 on lunch and before we know it, the interest from those purchases is eating up all of the income we have created for ourselves. But credit cards are not the only problem. The average U.S. household with debt has an average $15,191 in credit card debt, AND $33,607 in student loan debt.
There is even talk about student loan debt being the next big “bubble” in the markets. I’m not sure this is considered a “bubble”, but the point is student loan debt is in the news every single day. It’s such a prevalent topic anymore that we probably don’t even realize every time we see it in the news. It upsets me to watch those numbers rise because I know that means there are that many more students who are following in the footsteps we created for them – pay for everything with other people’s money – borrow for college, borrow for that new outfit, and even your car and just deal with it later.
It’s scary to know that so many of us are really in the same boat, yet we try so hard to hide it from each other. We could be helping each other let go of the crutch that using other people’s money provides. Instead, we go out with our friends, eat a meal we can’t afford, and use our credit cards hoping the points we get from that purchase will help pay the bills. We know it’s not the way we should be doing it, but we continue to use credit cards, get car loans and use other people’s money to pay for the things we can’t afford.
We need to remember that the credit card companies didn’t give us that card because they knew we could afford it – they did it to make money. They are a business. So many of the people you know are likely in the same boat you are – trying to paddle a boat with a hole in the bottom upstream. Don’t pretend you have money when you really don’t. Chances are, your friends will be relieved you don’t want to go spend more money but they were too afraid to say it and sound “broke”. Don’t hide behind your debt, embrace the fact that you know the mistakes you’ve made in the past and don’t borrow money from anyone….ever again.
Let’s change what is considered normal. Making a life for yourself using your own income should be normal. Borrowing other people’s money to have the things you think you need should not be normal. Let’s change the path we’re going down and make building your own wealth the norm. What do you think?