Credit Myths

There is an old saying that if you tell a lie loud enough and long enough, then over time, the lie will become accepted as truth.

Like many of you, I had bought into the credit card myth. I believed that having a credit card was aprt of life and that you “needed” one to rent a hotel room or make other purchases.

Recently, I’ve discovered that one of the best ways to Improve Your Financial Health is to perform some “Plastic Surgery”. There is an overwhelming feeling of freedom and relief when you take a pair of scissors to that piece of plastic in your purse or wallet.

Dave Ramsey discusses this in further detail in his Financial Peace University course.

Imagine how much simpler your life would be without credit card payments or other loan payments. Imagine being totally debt free, or at lest debt free except for your home.
How much money could you save if that were your situation?

If you had $10,000 or more in a savings account, to be used only for emergencies, would you be able to worry less about the possibility of something happening?

One of the best definitions I have heard of “Financial Security” is this:
Financial Security means being able to afford almost anything you want – AND wanting very little.

When you tell a lie or spread a myth long enough, it will eventually be accepted as truth.

Here are a few “myths” about credit which have been told to us over & over again through marketing and the media.

Myth: You need a credit card to build credit.
Truth: A credit card does not “build” credit. In mnay cases, it can even destroy credit.

There is NO positive side to credit card use. You will spend more if you use credit cards. Even by paying the bills on time, you are not beating the system! Most families don’t pay on time. The average family today carries $8,000 in credit card debt according to the American Bankers’ Association.

When you pay cash for a purchase, you can “feel pain” of the money leaving your hand. This is not true with credit cards. Flipping a credit card up on a counter registers nothing emotionally. If you use credit cards instead of cash you will spend 12-18% more. This is money you could have saved.

Myth: What about my credit score or FICO score? Don’t I need a good score for getting a job,
getting loans.
Truth: The FICO score (Fair Issac Corporation) was created in 1958 as a way of determining the likelyhood that a person will pay their debts.

In other words, it is a debt score. It measures what debts you have and how likely you are to pay them. People with no debt over a period of several years actually have a ZERO score. Wouldn’t it be better to have ZERO debt as a measurement of managing your money, than a ‘score’?

Myth: Wouldn’t it help to get a debt consolidation loan? That is a good way to get out of debt.
Truth: When you do a debt consolidation, you just move the debt from one place to another. 88 percent of the time people do debt consolidation, they don’t change their behavior and go right back into debt. You can’t borrow your way out.

The best way to eliminate debt is by putting together a budget, and putting your debts on a sheet and knocking them out one by one, starting with the smallest balance.

Myth: 90 Days Same as Cash or 0% Financing is a good deal.
Truth: This is an advertising gimmick. Businesses are in business to make a profit.

When companies use this method, they simply build the extra right into the price. Then when you don’t pay it off in 90 days, they can charge you interest on top of it at rates from 24-35%. Worse, they will backcharge the rate all the way back to the date of purchase. And they know that most of the time, people won’t pay it off on time. Again, the reason for doing this is to make a profit – once when they sell the item, and again when they can charge you interest.

Please contact me for more information. You may reach me through my web site. You may also follow me on Twitter.

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