Credit and Debt
Can you listen to the radio or watch television these days without hearing about debt? It seems to be a hot topic in the news. Here are a few samples of recent headlines:
- Federal deficit on track for a record this fiscal year. Government debt to exceed U.S. economy. The Washington Times Feb 14, 2011
- Canadians' debt hits record $1.5 trillion. More being borrowed now than during recession. CBC News Posted: Jun 14, 2011
- Greek debt crisis prompts fears of EU disintegration. Guardian June 25, 2011
- Debt-ridden eurozone countries 'playing with fire'. The Telegraph June 27, 2011
We could of course go on and on but you get the picture. It's evident that many countries are in debt and in North America individuals and families are experiencing their own personal debt crisis. What has happened to bring us to our present state? Here are a few factors that certainly have had an impact: changing public attitude towards credit/debt, availability of credit, the abundance of "things", and the "buy now, pay later" philosophy that is so rampant in our society.
Debt seems to be the norm these days. We've lived with it so long that we don't even blush at the numbers anymore. We would prefer to sweep our dirty debt under the carpet but it no longer can be hidden. As they say, "It's time to pay the piper." (If you recall, the people of the town of Hamelin commissioned the pied piper to rid their town of rats, which he did. When it came time to pay, the townsfolk refused to hand over the money. The Piper led the children out of town, taking their children as payment instead. The moral of the story of course is that debts have to be paid, one way or another.)
Let's look at some current debt statistics:
- Total U.S. revolving debt (98 percent of which is made up of credit card debt): $852.6 billion, as of March 2010
- Total U.S. consumer debt: $2.45 trillion, as of March 2010
- Average credit card debt per household with credit card debt: $16,007
It is impossible to move forward financially when we have so much debt weighing us down. It is time to get our personal financial houses in order. We need to stop spending money that we don't have and pay off debt that we do have already. When we owe on the things we have, we don't actually own them anyway.
Don't despair—there is help available. We can give you lots of ideas to manage credit and reduce and eliminate debt from your life. You will feel the burden lift from your shoulders as you make a debt repayment plan. Debt is financial bondage—we offer you financial freedom instead.
P.S. The third chapter of our personal finance book: Power Spending: Getting More For Less, is about Credit and Debt. There are six sections: Avoiding debt, Good debt versus bad debt, Use credit cards wisely, How much debt is too much?, Getting rid of debt and What can you do about debt? If you follow our advice, you will be able to take control of your debt and put it in your past.