Before the advent of credit, we were a cash society. If you wanted something, you either had to wait until you could pay for it, or find a way to borrow money. The thought of asking mom, dad or a friend for a loan caused you to run the purchase through a “values check.” It forced you to evaluate, “Do I need it, or do I want it?” This is an important process that many of us have lost as we depend on credit cards. With the loosening of credit during the Carter Administration, more of us had an opportunity to obtain our own credit. We are now able to get it today and pay for it tomorrow. It allows us the freedom to make our own choices.
Credit cards can give us a false sense of security. We may feel that we no longer need to have an emergency fund, we can simply use a Visa card. We are now able to get it today and pay for it tomorrow. We no longer have to suffer consequences today, when we run out of cash. Credit opens doors of opportunity.
This simple process allowed us to rewrite the rules to the “Money Game.” For many, the misuse of credit cards means financial crisis and even financial ruin.
Credit cards, when used responsibly, can be a wonderful tool in your financial life. The trick to the game is to understand the rules of the card and not take on more debt than you can handle.