A new study out said that 70 percent of Americans have credit cards. Back in the 1970s, only 20 percent of Americans HAD credit cards.
Remember the days when pulling out a credit card was a big deal? My dad used to pay in cash whenever possible. He did business that way for a lot of reasons. One, he didn't ever buy anything he couldn't afford. Two, he didn't like leaving a paper trail behind when he made a purchase, no matter what it was.
It wasn't that he was hiding anything, he just didn't think it was anyone else's business what he spent money on.
I wish my dad was still here so we could talk about the state of money in this country. I think the way he did it was right for a lot of reasons.
First, the idea of not buying something you can't afford is pretty basic, really, yet we don't seem to get that in America anymore.
We see our neighbor driving a new car and all of a sudden WE want one. Not only that, we think we deserve one. Never mind the fact that we don't know what he paid for it or how much money he has in the bank.
Nope, all we know is that car is shiny and new and we want it too.
Add to that the fact we are willing to pay MORE to borrow money to by that which we can't afford. And don't think you don't leave a paper trail when you buy on credit. Most Americans value their privacy and say they will do ANYthing to safeguard it.
But they use Visa or MasterCard to finance their purchases, including groceries, entertainment and medical. It's a real contradiciton, if you think about it. But most of us don't. Think about it, that is.
Does everyone NEED a credit card? No.
Does it make life easier? It can.
But the housing crisis of 2008 was brought about in large part because somehow we decided that ALL Americans should have the opportunity to own a home. Remember that? We found out the hard way that wasn't the case.