Friday, May 1, 2009

Rescuing Credit

I have been hearing a lot about bailing out people who are deep in credit debt and I always had an issue with that. In my mind, you signed up, you bought the goods USING the card (or line of credit, etc) so why is everyone else supposed to help you out now? I don't understand that.... I was listening to Andrew Wilkow's show on Sirius this morning and he pointed out that people aren't just signing a dotted line once (credit application, for example), they are doing it TWICE because when they walk in a store with their card and swipe it to buy a 52" plasma TV, they also have to sign the store's little slip that says 'the above signed agrees to pay the listed amount for this purchase', or whatever such wording appears on the paper. It's so true. YOU decided to get a card, YOU decided to make purchases with it, YOU get the bill. Not me. YOU. Not your fellow taxpayers - YOU. I did not whip my card out of my purse beside you and say 'Here, let me get that for you' and sign my name to the slip - YOU did. Why is that so hard to understand?

After you got your very first bill and saw the amount of interest tacked on, if you didn't like it, why did you use the card again... and again... and again? If you saw that $50 of your bill was interest and you only put a minimum of $50 payment on it, why are you wondering why the total doesn't seem to change, and then use the card AGAIN? Why did you put your groceries on it after realizing you didn't have enough money in the bank after paying for your inflated mortgage, brand new truck, leather furniture and hot tub? Why am I supposed to help you now? I live a very frugal life, do not own any new furniture other than what's in the baby room. My truck is a '94 and was paid off years ago. I rent instead of owning my home. I don't have a hot tub or a pool. I can't think of a single luxury payment that I make each month other than cable tv and my internet (less than $100 total)... so why on earth should you cry out to me to help pay your own debt that you signed YOUR name to? Sure, I'm in Canada and that is going on in the US, but would it be a surprise to happen up here? We aren't far behind. I know people with tens of thousands of dollars in credit card debt let alone other financing issues they face. What if someone wanted to bail them out up here? I think I would rather quit work and live in a card board box than hand my tax dollars over to people who made dangerous choices. I chose NOT to live like that, I chose NOT to max out my cards and get another to pay the first ones off. I chose NOT to engage in this activity - so why the hell would I want to help out the neighbour while they sit in a home full of new items while I sit in one with second hand items? I chose a responsible frugal lifestyle so I did NOT owe multitudes in debt, so that I could sleep at night with no real money worries, and I do not appreciate listening to others who are begging and pleading to be rescued from their own choices.

PS - I am just adding that I realize there are some people who were in dire straits due to job loss, medical bills, etc that put their food and essentials on credit cards. But do you really think that all or most of the credit problems right now are because of that? Or do you think it's rather in the middle with people trying to live beyond their means, to Keep Up With The Jones', to have everything they want NOW instead of saving up, and putting Want before Need? From what I have personally seen going on around me, it is more of than than the other. I certainly do not put down people who have real, valid needs and tried to keep a roof over their heads and food in their childrens' mouths and got the short end of the stick in life. But those are the FEW that need help, the rest do not deserve a dime of my own money. They really don't and that's just a harsh fact.

6 comments:

  1. I could not agree with you more. Take some personal responsibility and get off your butt and go to work to pay down your debt. I have had to do it and I am a better person for it.

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  2. AMEN

    Knowingly taking products and services while unable or unwilling to compensate the vendor constitutes either fraud or theft, both felonies.

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  3. That's what comes from allowing the government to intrude into everyone's private lives. This obnoxious intervention by the bureaucrats and politicians has created a sense of entitlement. Everyone wants the champagne lifestyle on a beer salary and the government has encouraged it with their cradle to grave paternalism. While there is nothing wrong with aspiring to the gilded lifestyle, the problem is that most of those in deep debt neither want to work for it nor spend the time in serious schooling to achieve it. As the old story goes: Moses spoke unto the people and said load your camels and asses and I will lead you to the promises land; today the government says sit on your asses, light up a Camel, this is the promised land.

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  4. Sorry for the delay in approving comments. For some reason Blogger did not tell me I had two more!

    Anyway yes, if people get themselves into hot water, they should be doing everything they can to get out of it. My bf had problems with his credit cards years ago and got in deep, so he contacted a Credit Counseling Service that had a good record with consumers (Better Business Bureau) and worked it out with them. It took awhile but he has had it all paid off for about 5-6 years and his credit score is back up. My brother also did this after getting silly with credit cards when he was in his early 20s and just did his best to get it all worked out. The end. All done.

    What I don't like is hearing about how credit card businesses are cut throat - well yes, they can be. That is how they make money - on interest charges, service fees, etc. Some are better than others but they all charge various levels. If you've never qualified for a card before and suddenly a company contacts you and wants to hand over a $5000 card, surely you must take a step back to think about it. Read the fine print, see that it's 30% interest, and then RUN like the wind. Don't sign your name on the dotted line(s), or if you get the card, don't spend spend spend and then wonder why the interest charge is astronomical. There are many steps along the way that alert consumers to what's going on with their card - statements, increasing credit (if you are having trouble paying the minimum already, why keep spending on the darn card when they increase your limit??), and then of course signing the slip at the store when you purchase something. Why is that the bank or institution's fault? Are they forcing you to apply for a card and then use it? I don't even take my credit cards out with me when I shop, unless I have something specific I know I'm going to put on there from time to time. Otherwise the cards remain at home, out of sight out of mind. And if I screw up, I won't be begging people to help me and waiting for bailout to save me, while protesting the card company. I'll be looking in the mirror and telling myself to stop being so stupid and then chopping up my cards.

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  5. Good post, in fact, excellent post.

    As I posted myself today - there is an illness in society based upon a desire to not be accountable.. that the rules apply to everyone else, but not me.

    How would these same people who rack up credit debt respond if, at the end of the month, their employer (or the government, or the person paying them support) said, "no, I don't feel like paying you today, I've spent my money on other things.. maybe later".

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*Disclaimer

These are my views and opinions. If you don't agree or think I am sadly misguided, that is your view. Feel free to share your thoughts but I also reserve my right to moderate content (IE foul language, excessive flaming, etc).

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