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Final Word: When did credit cards take over our lives?

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.

About the Author


Karie Dozer is host of Arizona's Noon News.

She has been an on-air personality nearly continually since her college days. She loves radio because it is intelligent, immediate and almost always available.

She is the youngest of nine children from a Midwestern Catholic family where she learned to be heard, fight for a place at the table and find humor in almost everything. She was hired as a news intern while a senior at ASU's Cronkite School, and found that covering human stories like the OJ Simpson white Bronco chase and the 1992-93 Phoenix Suns was too much fun to pass up.

She loved life in the newsroom with all the action and crazy personalities to go with it. She anchored and covered some sports too, until politics dragged her away. She served as press secretary for Arizona's Attorney General Grant Woods for a five-year stint before jumping back to radio on a part-time basis. Three years ago she got back in the biz on a more regular basis as a midday host on what is now KTAR News. She has a passion for the breaking news of the moment, education, local politics, great food, sports and fitness. She has trouble turning down a good argument, a good book or a good glass of wine.

In her spare time she takes care of her boys, (husband Rich, son Jack, and yellow lab Buddy,) and bakes awesome chocolate chip cookies. She enjoys the quality of life the Valley offers her family and the natural beauty of Arizona. Her favorite places are golf courses, her own kitchen, the city of Flagstaff, and wherever her family is.

She considers herself lucky to work with the amazingly talented people of KTAR radio.

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