Are you aware that the largest growing market in today’s economy is debt? Credit card companies are offering 0% interest rates. At the same time, the Madison Ave. moguls are telling everyone who listens you need this now to be popular, or that to be sexy, or the other newest and best trend just to survive. Like sheep many people went out and bought the best cars, bigger houses, latest gadget or trendiest clothes because someone told them they deserve it now. Suddenly, everything changes; the bottom drops out of the economy.

Many people today are facing very uncertain futures. Job losses due to plant closings and lay offs, mortgage foreclosures at an all time high and higher prices on just about everything. Some people have tapped their retirement funds or their children’s college funds or resorted to using credit cards just to keep up with daily expenses. Yet many people go on believing something will happen.

Recently, I met a person whose home is in jeopardy and he got satellite TV. The reasoning he gave was that the installation was free with premium channels for 3 months. He put it on his credit card and the extra hours from the holiday season would give him the money to cover the expense. Well, now the holiday shopping season is over, he used his employee discount to buy presents and charged them. Now he asks me what to do because he can’t pay his gas bill, the credit card payment and get his housing costs in line. Something is going to be late. He said, “This is not what I expected.” When I asked him exactly what was it that he expected if this wasn’t it? He responded, “I don’t know but not this.”

What this person failed to realize and many don’t is that we create our future and must take responsibility for our choices. A person with a lottery mentality will buy a cordless electric screw gun after the electricity has been shut off. I believe we need to live today for today but that should not mean creating greater debt for the today’s to come. We can only choose to be slaves to debt.

Before we create a debt we must assess the true value, as well as the true expense we incur. Many card companies send little notices with our bills that inform us we can keep track of our expenses if we use our credit cards for everything and have only one bill to pay. This in theory is fine but how many people pay their entire balance due? We only need to pay the balance due, right; so, how much are you actually paying for all this convenience? Then, they send you these convenience checks to consolidate your bills, all you have to do are sign them and you have reduced your debt. Have you truly reduced your debt or just given the credit card company more of your income, a bit more of your soul?

There are the bonus points they offer for just about anything; air fares, gasoline, cash back. Is the value worth the expense? Do you use all your points before they expire? Do you pay a fee for the privilege of points? Let’s not forget about prepaid legal, dental insurance, shopper’s discounts, extended warrantees, appliance insurance or home maintenance insurance.

Just sign the enclosed form and if it doesn’t work out you can cancel at anytime… Are you still paying interest on a program you have never used or used only once and doesn’t fit your life style? Do you drive the 20 minutes or so to get to the stores or dentists or lawyers in your program? What happens when you pay with dead presidents, you know, cash? Do you always get the same discount or do the terms change? Credit card companies charge these companies to promote them and in return expect them to encourage the use of their credit card.

In reality, you may have reduced your monthly payment but the debt is still there. You have just given the credit card company more of your income, a bit more of your soul. You have chosen to be a slave to debt.

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