Time to Take 'Interest' in Credit Card Debt Epidemic
November 13, 2008
.Millions of Canadians are mired in credit card debt. Upward of $15 billion per year is paid in credit card interest in Canada alone. We are on the verge of a recession--- Which has many working people worried and panic-stricken, while credit card companies lick their chops at what lies ahead.
Adam Strimaitis, author of The Millionaire Moron, ignores the obvious 'Who?', 'Where?', and 'When?' parts of the equation, and instead focuses on the more vital 'Why?', 'How?', and 'What?'--- As in why is this happening, how does it happen, and most importantly, what can we do to fix and avoid it.
The main reason people get themselves into credit card trouble comes down to simple math. I conducted a poll ten years ago, asking a wide range of people what they felt the numeric definition of 'good money' was. Approximately 80% of people surveyed responded by saying $50,000 per year. Ten years later, I conducted the same poll of the same amount of people and approximately 80% of people said that $50,000 per year was 'good' income. More startling than than a completely different group of people comprising near identical results was the fact that the price of everything has changed in the last ten years. Inflation has caused prices of real estate, gas, food, entertainment, and just about everything else under the sun to skyrocket. The only thing that didnt expand was our expectations.
Let's do the math of average approximate monthly expenditures endured by a $50,000 per year income:
Monthly Gross Income : $4,000
Income Tax: ($1200)
House Rent/Mortgage: ($1700)
Property Tax: ($200)
Car Payment: ($500)
Car Insurance: ($250)
Total Expenses: $5,180
Monthly Net: ($1180)
Yearly Net: ($14,160)
These figures, although variable, do not even include various means of entertainment such as movies, shopping, sports, and dining. Also, it does not include the expense of children. I don't need to conduct a poll to find out whether raising a family is expensive or not. As long as people desire to live above their means, credit companies will continue to collect the 'juice'.
Credit can be an enticing proposition, and human nature dictates that it is far easier to purchase something when the physical exchange of paper money is absent. Also, credit card companies are savvy if nothing else. Millions of solicitations are made on a yearly basis to average people, who already have credit cards with outstanding balances, and the offers are not limited to adults. It is not uncommon to see an 18 year old sign up for their very first credit card in order to be awarded a free T-Shirt at a ball game, only to see them parading around the mall with their new plastic friend one week later---getting an early jump start on a lifetime of interest paying. Most of all, how it happens revolves around around demand. No one is going to complain about something that they need to survive, and thus the vicious cycle continues to perpetuate itself. As long as the need for credit remains prominent, the general population will be held hostage by companies willing to give them a little more.
There are two ways to get out of the red. One is to lower expenses--- some of which you've grown accustomed to, which can be a pain-staking transition. The other is to raise revenues. We are firmly entrenched in the era of the entrepreneur and given the times, one could conclude that if you aren't doing something entreprenerial--- be it full time or part time--- you are seriously missing the boat. There are alot of low capital, start-up business opportunities available, and one doesn't necessarily have to compromise their full time job to get in the game. Treat the first forty work hours a week as survival, while the next forty is an investment in your future. At any rate, working for yourself in some capacity can enable one to essentially write their own pay check, but they have to be willing to take the first step in getting it done.
For the up and coming generation still deciding on what career path to take, be aware of the eye-opening trend taking place, and educate yourself through observation of pattern. To recount one of my favorite maxims: "Learn from other people's mistakes, because you'll never live long enough to make them all yourself".
Adam Strimaitis is the author of 'The Millionaire Moron' and frequently runs motivational speaking sessions and training seminars on topics including Entreprenerial Mindset, Goal Setting and Achieving, Making Money, Start-Up Business, and Leadership.
He is hosting a Power Seminar on November 29, 2008 in Toronto. Registration is open to the public at http://www.themillionairemoron.com For more information contact