Credit cards, debit cards and payday loans are all things we avoid, but many people are caught in a cycle that they just cannot escape. Frontline’s “The Card Game” aired on PBS and is an eye-opening look into how the market continues to capitalize on people least able to afford it.
The Federal Reserve Bank issued a report to Congress in July detailing the profitability of the credit card companies and explains how they make their money. But I doubt that anyone with the time to go looking for this kind of information is in the class of people that need protection.
Are You Stuck in the Cycle?
So, how do you protect yourself from the offers? How do you resist 6 months of 0% interest! After all, the only people getting anything “free” out of these deals are the people who pay off their balances in full every month. Better yet, how do you get out of the cycle if you are unfortunate enough to find yourself caught up in this card game?
Obviously, if you are not in the game, stay out; save your money and don’t succumb to the temptation coming in your mail every day. If you are stuck in the cycle it may take you years to dig out and who knows what might happen along the path to repayment. Most often the fresh start of bankruptcy is the best way to get out of the credit card cycle and start paying yourself first.
Protecting Your Finances
Being fiscally responsible is something we can all get better at and someone has to take responsibility for the problems facing our country. Pointing the finger and placing blame is easy, and making a change by looking at ourselves and how we live certainly is not. Just how much debt will convince people that they have to make a change is unknown, but I like to think of it like this.
The freedom we have in the United States of America is perhaps our greatest strength and if we allow it to, can also be our greatest weakness. Each one of us needs to endure the onslaught of marketing and competing interests that come before us each day and view it in the light of opportunity cost. Protect yourself by being suspect of proposals that suggest you will get something for nothing and become aware that nearly everyone you meet is vying for your dollars.