Driven To Debt

driven to debtI got into a heated discussion with one of my friends over credit cards. He has concluded that his current financial problems are due to credit card companies and they have driven him to debt. He likes to shout to anyone that will listen that credit card companies are evil and all the things they do to keep people in debt.

He argues that credit card companies charge high interest rates, that they extend more credit to people than they can reasonably pay off and that they don’t explain how their product works which makes them evil. While I do not disagree with his arguments on what credit card companies do (in fact, I would argue that their whole corporate mandate is to try and keep you in debt), this doesn’t make them evil and certainly is not the cause of people being in debt.

The facts are, plain and simple, that the reason that anyone is in credit card debt is because they spent more money than they had. Now there may have been a very good reason for this (and “very good reason” can have a lot of different interpretations depending on who you are talking to), but in the end the choice was made to spend money that you didn’t have. Now if that debt occurred because you didn’t know that you were spending more than you had, then you failed with your budgeting. If your debt occurred because you didn’t know how credit cards worked, then you failed to do the proper research before getting the product. Either way, the responsibility comes back to you. There was nobody standing over your with a gun to your head making you get the credit card (or eight credit cards as in my friend’s case).

Now I can fully understand that people have a lot of frustration and anger toward credit card companies, but that doesn’t make credit cards evil in themselves. They are simply tools and like most tools, they can be used for positive or for negative. The point of this site is to teach you to use them in a positive way and to your advantage or come to the realization that they aren’t right for you and you should refrain from using them.

The point is that when people try to blame “evil credit card companies” or other circumstances for their current financial position and refuse to accept any responsibility for themselves, they will never be able to get their personal finances in order. They have accepted that other control their destiny and not themselves. The first step is realizing that you do have control to make the decision to get your finances in order and the decisions you made in the past have gotten you where you are now…

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11 Responses to Driven To Debt

  1. Pingback: Anonymous

  2. Harry says:

    It all starts when you present the card and sign your name.
    No holding a gun at you.
    Self accountability is what it’s all about.

  3. Jason says:

    While I may agree that the credit card companies are taking advantage of their customers to make profit, this doesn’t make them evil. In fact, one could argue that selling you a brand new car when you could get by with a used one or someone selling you a top of the line computer when an older model would work just fine is taking advantage of you too. All of them are simply using the fact that you desire more things than you need to survive to make some money.

    I think most people who blame credit card companies and call them evil simply don’t want to accept the fact that they did not handle their finances responsibly and probably tried to live beyond their means. People who I know that have gotten into debt because of other factors such as medical expenses haven’t blamed the credit card companies for their problems.

  4. makingitbig says:

    It’s always “the man”‘s fault with some people, isn’t it?

  5. Phil says:

    Worse yet, there are a host of individuals taking advantage of people who feel this way. Last week I heard a radio spot several times explaining that “big banking has conspired to put you into debt” and claiming that if you purchase his lessons, you can “beat the debt mafia.” The ad ended saying, “remember, it is NOT your fault.” Unbelievable!

  6. Rick says:

    I’m not sure i remember dave ramsey saying it in those terms.

    He is ALL about personal responsibility but does think credit card companies are evil.

    I’m not sure that “these individuals” are taking advantage of “helping” someone get out of debt and understanding personal responsbility and living within your means.

  7. Flexo says:

    When there’s an educational void, marketing takes advantage of that and fills that void with credit card goodness nonsense. Whose fault is it that your friend had an educational void? There’s no point in arguing or getting into a “heated discussion.” Nothing you will say will change his mind… because the educational void has already been filled. He’s no longer in need of education and he now needs reconditioning in order for him to change his mind.

  8. Super Saver says:

    On the other hand, credit cards are great if you pay them off every month. I get the use the bank’s money for 20 days and get points or rebates.

  9. Retireyoung says:

    It sounds like people who are overweight suing McDonalds.

  10. Ralph says:

    One could even argue that credit card companies are “good”, not “evil” – a bit like Robin Hood, they take from the stupid (who have a balance on the card and pay interest) and give to the smart (who pay the entire balance each month, don’t pay any interest, and get some benefit – eg. rewards pts, miles etc).

  11. Lucille says:

    I just wanted to comment on Super Saver’s remark that “you get to use the bank’s money.” Are you aware that it isn’t the bank’s money, it’s your own money they are lending you on your promise to “pay it back.” And then they get to charge you interest on your own money if you don’t “pay it back” before the month’s over. How’s that for a sweet deal for the banks?! What have they got to lose but the escalating interest they’re allowed to add on to your promise to pay (not on actual funds of theirs) if you stop playing the game? By the way, some people think this is actually an illegal practice.

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