I was strolling about the other day (I like strolling about – helps clear my head and refresh me from spending too much time in front of the computer) and there were a lot of people out walking their dogs. For some reason I started to pay attention to the way that people walked their dogs and realized that the way people walk dogs and credit card use have a lot in common (okay, maybe not a lot in common, but there is an analogy that will help this post make sense)
While there were numerous levels among those walking the dogs, they could be broken down into three basic groups: Those dogs that were well trained, those that weren’t trained at all and those that were semi-trained.
Watching the people walk the dogs that weren’t well trained in most cases was more like watching the dog take the owner for a walk. The dog was in complete control jerking the owner ever which way it wanted to go and the owner holding onto the leash for dear life. It was almost comical if it wasn’t so sad and it must have been torture for those owners to take their dog for a walk each day.
Watching those with well trained dogs was a pleasure to watchl. These owners were in complete control of their dogs and many of them were not even on leashes.
The semi-trained dogs were the largest group. Some of them may have actually been dogs that were not trained at all, but the dogs were small enough that they couldn’t take complete control of the walk. These walkers were going in the direction they wanted to go, but had to pull on the leash a lot to get there and with a lot of stopping and starting in between.
I’m sure that all of you have seen similar cases of all three of these types of owner/dog relationships and as I watched, it occurred to me that people’s relationships with credit cards are quite similar.
Those in deep credit card debt let the credit cards control them instead of the other way around.
Those that use credit cards to their advantage have trained themselves to use their credit cards wisely and for their benefit and are therefore in complete control of them.
Just as with the dog walkers I saw, most people fall into the semi-trained area with credit cards too. Their credit card debt isn’t completely out of control. but at the same time, credit cards aren’t always used to their advantage.
The solution to both is also quite similar. Training a dog to be obedient takes time and patience as the dog learns. Learning to use credit card effectively requires the same time and patience to take control of them. Above all, however, it is the learning process of being disciplined and knowing when it’s essential to be strict.
When training a dog, you can never achieve the discipline if you aren’t willing to be strict when needed. The same is true with credit cards. The joy is that as you educate and train yourself on how to use credit cards properly and to your advantage, you don’t have to be near as strict because the obedience of using them correctly comes naturally. A lot like a well trained dog….