Have you ever viewed something at a distance that completely changes when you get up close? Perhaps not, unless you are near sighted, as I am. It is quite a revelation to think that you saw something and you got it wrong. Well my friends, whenever I write about credit card debt, I am told that I am just an enabler and that the only solution to the spend thrifts is a cold turkey, head in the sand approach so these credit card losers can "learn their lesson".
The problem with this approach is that the premise -- that all people who have large credit card debt are spend thrifts -- isn't correct. In most cases, not even close! The remedy of staying the course with the credit cards is as foolish as running them up in the first place by reckless spending (which in reality is probably done by less than 1/3 of the people). The idea of separating your credit card debt from your house is yesterday's solution because the laws have changed. Last, but not least, the thought that all debt is wrong and cash is the only answer to living is a wonderful thought, but might just cost you your job. Let's take a look at these notions.
From my almost two decades of experience I have seen more about people's lives than I ever imagined I would in the mortgage business, especially their finances.
Before I start explaining my experiences, I want you to realize that credit cards were designed for a purpose: to give instant credit to consumers for a various number of reasons AND they were suppose to be paid off at the end of every month. When it didn't happen, the credit card industry was born.
Have you ever tried to live without a single credit card? I did in 1975. After paying off a small ton of back credit card bills, I decided to pay cash for everything. Bad idea.
Really bad idea. In my work at that time I was required to travel, and so I did. Try and check into a hotel without a credit card. Even though I went to the same city once a month and stayed at the same hotel each month and had a letter on file with my financial information and a small deposit, it was a nightmare. Not to mention, if I had checked out and then found I needed to stay longer -- it was so hard the one night I slept in my car.
The bottom line is you need at least one credit card.
Roger Schlesinger's Mortgage Minute is heard on hundreds of radio stations and daily on the Hugh Hewitt radio show and Michael Medved shows. Roger interacts with his hosts and explores the complicated financial markets in order to enlighten his listeners and direct them along their own unique road to financial freedom.