The Credit Card: Is it your Best Buddy or a Plastic Parasite out to bleed your wallet dry?
The simple answer is neither. A Credit Card, when it comes right down to it, is nothing more and nothing less than a powerful financial tool. Just like a hammer can be used to build a hospital or tear one down, so too can a Credit Card be used to build your Credit Rating, earn rewards, protect you from fraud, and make your money work harder for you.
Of course a Credit Card can also be abused, and unfortunately a Credit Card is a far more difficult tool to master than a mere hammer, as evidenced by the fact that Americans, Brits, Canadians and Aussies owe more on their Credit Cards than ever before, both as a flat number and as a percentage of their income. Some estimates even put US Credit Card debt at over one trillion dollars – that’s enough to purchase an iPod Shuffle for every man, woman and child on planet Earth and still have enough left over to buy Microsoft!
Having said that, there are arguably better things to do with the money, like, say, curing world hunger or paying for research into renewable energy. The point is, the fact that we have managed to rack up such a massive debt in such little time (the modern Credit Card has only been around for 50 years) is truly frightening, as is the interest we have to pay on this debt – literally hundreds of billions of dollars every year.
At any rate, it’s glaringly obvious that we can’t keep spending money we don’t have without some pretty nasty consequences. The recent sub-prime meltdown and resulting ‘credit crunch’ is only the tip of the proverbial iceberg to our Titanic of consumer debt.
Master Your Card is your life raft…