If, over the years, my wife and I had "taken advantage" of all the credit card offers we had encountered at our Post Office box, we'd have a credit line approaching a million dollars. Early in our marriage, though, we just got in the habit of tearing them up. In the last few years our supply of credit card toilet paper has dried up, though. I'm not sure what gives.
A couple of months ago our LDS Sunday School class talked
The credit card industry is a scam that needs to be reigned in. But too many of us have played the all-to-willing part of the victim.about financial health. One of the ingredients discussed was to avoid by-mail credit card offers like the plague. "How many do you get, one or two a month?" someone said. At least one member of our LDS ward must have noticed my wife and I look at each other in "we don't get any" surprise. He asked me about it a few days ago. Maybe it's because we've never taken the bait? They haven't either, but they still are targeted by the mass mailings.
Maybe it's because we're essentially debt free? They aren't.
Maybe it's because we're getting older? They're 10-15 years younger.
At any rate, if you still get a lot of those offers, chances are you won't be getting many more. The New American reports that
Next up for ailing mega-banks: a credit card meltdown. No surprise here, really; Americans have overused credit cards for years, trusting always in unending economic expansion and plentiful employment to guarantee their ability to service consumer debt.The New American makes a good point, however. Despite the fine print, people ultimately aren't forced to use credit cards.
All that, of course, has changed dramatically over the last year and a half, with millions of Americans suddenly out of work and trying to service huge, high-interest credit card debts with no income and no savings. Credit card defaults are soaring, and much worse is to come, according to the government’s recently disclosed bank stress tests. By the end of 2010, says the government, America’s 19 largest banks can expect to lose as much as $82.4 billion in credit card defaults.
Old habits die hard. A generation of Americans used to running up credit card debt far in excess of personal savings to finance purchases of wants is unlikely to change its ways overnight. For now, some of these naïve souls are expecting government to step in and keep the credit card party going by legislative fiat. But the only thing credit card legislation will accomplish is more losses in an already reeling sector — losses that will doubtless prompt cries for more bailouts in the coming months.The credit card industry is a scam that needs to be reigned in. But too many of us have played the all-to-willing part of the victim.
Hopefully you haven't been living from credit card offer to credit card offer, paying off the debt from one with the introduction of another into your repertoire. If so, and if life hasn't already gotten economically very treacherous for you, it's about to.
By the way, does anyone know why my wife and I don't get credit card offers anymore?