Maybe I’m Just Naïve But….

by JT McGee

Where do people find these killer credit cards? The ones that can spit fire and wreak havoc on any bank account, no matter how big or how small?

They must be everywhere, according to the blogosphere, but I just can’t seem to find them.

A post at Get Rich Slowly inspired me to ask. The post is titled “How I Got Suckered into Opening a Store Credit Card,” and it reads like some D.A.R.E. propaganda piece about how kids will try to con you into drug use. The horror!

Dude, I don’t get it. Maybe it’s because I’ve always been a saver, but I can’t find it in my heart to fear credit. In fact, I’ve seven (7!) open credit lines, and I’m pretty sure I could charge up more in a day than I make in a year. Last Friday I had to stop myself from opening another because of a super-tempting 0% for 24 months deal. I passed it up, but I really didn’t want to.

But yet, even with a credit addiction, I haven’t found myself in cash crunch. I have high balances on some, but the cash to pay them off (I love 0% BT offers :D). I have a habit of infrequently buying things on Amazon that I don’t REALLY need, but I’d do it with a debit card just as I would a credit card. I just feel that sometimes things are really overblown. Credit cards are #1 on this overblown list, followed by international terrorism, breast cancer, nuclear power plants, and December 21, 2012.

Credit and debt can be two things: they can be something meant to empower you, and they can be something that necessarily enslaves you. On the internet, all credit is debt, and debt is slavery.

I see the other view: credit is flexibility and debt is leverage.

What about you? How do you see credit? Are you a no-go at any cost? Are you willing to use it? Do you embrace it, or do you neglect it?

Is debt a tool, or is it a handicap? I want to hear your view!

P.S. – Back on track with a post tomorrow about why the internet bubble 2.0 is just as bad as the first one, if not worse! You won’t want to miss it.

Photo by: Nzgabriel

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Ravi Gupta May 31, 2011 at 14:05

I embrace credit, I see no reason to shun it away. While I have two credit cards I’ve never run into a time where I haven’t been able to pay it off. I also get rewards on it so it helps me pay less eventually when I can redeem cash. I don’t understand it either how people can constantly bad mouth credit. Too many people lack personal responsibility I guess…

-Ravi Gupta

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Ashley @ Money Talks May 31, 2011 at 16:27

Credit is a tool. I compare it to fire sometimes. Fire is useful for cooking, heating, light but it can also burn your house down and disfigure you. If you have been burned by fire then you probably have an aversion to it. If you grew up in a house where you saw misuse of credit you might have different feelings than someone who didn’t.

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David M May 31, 2011 at 17:56

I love credit cards – I have the ability to pay them off every month and thus they are a great way to make tax free income.

I have flown to Asia 3 times using credit card frequent flier miles – twice in first class and once in business class. I have gotten at least 10 free nights of hotel stays. I have gotten more than $2,000 worth of gift cards. What’s not to love about credit cards!

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Darwin's Money May 31, 2011 at 21:00

I’ve never paid a dime in credit card interest in my life and I’d wager I’m at over $10,000 in cash back rewards over the years (tax-free!). When people aren’t responsible, there are those that want to protect everyone from themselves – kind of like the politicians trying to outlaw 401k loans now too.

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Ross @ Go Be Rich June 1, 2011 at 01:53

I was listening the “The Money Guy” Podcast today by Brian Preston (Love that podcast, find it on iTunes, it’s free), and he suggested that perhaps the reason this generation seems to be so credit-shy is because of seeing how the previous generation abused credit. Personally I was raised in a very fiscally responsible household, but looking back now at the parents of many of the friends I had while growing up, I can see now that the way my parents handled their money may have been the exception.

I guess it’s the lesser of two evil though to be scared of things like credit cards rather than rack up thousands and thousands of dollars of high-interest debt.

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Theresa Torres June 1, 2011 at 18:25

You are one of the lucky ones! Maybe it’s because of your mindset that credit is working for you. You see credit as a useful tool and not a thing to fear. So many people don’t know how to use credit cards properly that’s why they get into trouble.
I can’t imagine not having a credit card myself. Just think of all those benefits: rewards program, bonuses, frequent flier miles, cash backs, convenience, protection and money back guarantee against fraudulent purchases, and it even helps you track your expenses.
With all these, what’s not to love about credit cards? People just need to be more disciplined and use them wisely.

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Marie at familymoneyvalues June 3, 2011 at 11:47

Ashley nailed it. Credit is a tool – neither good nor bad in and of itself (just like money).

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Car Negotiation Coach June 6, 2011 at 17:48

Yeah, I agree, if you weild the credit sword properly it’s a great tool….as long as you don’t accidentally cut off your own leg. I love using credit myself for the points….I’m just very careful to always pay in full right away each month.

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