Let me be completely honest with you. If there is one thing in my life I would do all over again, erase and start fresh it would be dealing with credit cards.
Photo credit: Republica
Little did I know that cheerfully applying for one in college would teach me very hard lessons that I would pay the consequences for even until this very day. Can you relate?
I was persuaded by a well-suited man, actually verbally seduced to sign on that dotted line and get a shiny plastic card with a $500 credit limit to spend it on anything I wanted and did not have to worry other than making the minimum payment every single month. Until this day it is one of my favorite (and costly) regrets.
I clearly remember the very first time I used it as if it happened yesterday, I bought a pair of Calvin Klein jeans. The owner of the store was happy that I was buying it but he saw that it was a brand new card and did warn me not to go crazy but to proceed with caution. If I only listened to him and understood what he truly meant back then!
I must admit that I did use it judiciously through the years through my university years (they helped me pay tuition, books, monthly bus pass etc.) and helped me quite a lot during my many adventures around the world!
Photo credit: Stevebp
Fast forward a decade…ok two decades.
I have come to realize that there were not many sources of information or did not do my part by researching or educating myself on the many dangers of being tied down or a slave to credit card debt. I fell in a trap and no one but no one forced me into it. I had to dig my way out.
I now know that it is only beneficial to one side, the companies that issue the cards or banks.
Seriously, who reads the small or fine print detailing the rules, penalties, regulations, interests, actions and what not? Who is there with pom poms encouraging you to actually take a magnifying glass and read it through and through? No one right?
Question. Why did they have to make it so small so that it would be almost illegible and again not in favor of the consumer? Couldn’t they have printed it out on an extra page in block letters? Were they going to spend too much fund$, extra fees to enlighten people? I did just say that there’s only a group of persons winning that game didn’t I?
Well, not long ago I went to a bank (that I will leave nameless) and spoke with a bright financial advisor who is surprisingly friendly and treats his clients as if we were relatives or close friends which was strange but actually it is nice to know that there are still people with good hearts remaining!
I firmly believe that in order for me to open up and trust someone with my personal information, situation or problem, I need to know that this person has MY best interest at heart, not just for the benefit of the company they are working for.
I mean if I could, I would simply ask them the following: “I don’t care about how many degrees, where you got your MBA or doctorate or where you excelled at in order to qualify for the position you are currently in. Tell me, what has been YOUR biggest failure and how did you overcome it?”
Then that would definitely help me give out the information requested and then I would know whom I am dealing with. Basically I would know the true colors of that person.
No one is perfect in this life don’t you agree? Behind everyone is a human being who has had its share of ups and downs, dealt with their own ordeals and is able to analyze, take new course of action and moves forward!
Even though I was not the one who was there to discuss possible solutions, I sure learned quite a great deal that day by asking so many questions (remember that I am a journalist at heart, makes my stories even more interesting!).
We did not get the result we were looking for but the time, effort and that human side will certainly be remembered for a long time. If I had to fill a client satisfaction survey (which now banks ask for) he’d get more than a 10 for sure.
You may or may not have noticed as of lately that I have been sharing a few links to an American Bank that is offering great advice to consumers and it is Wells Fargo Bank.
They are one of the largest financial institutions and are offering sound, easy to understand information, real advice so that we ALL learn as much as we can, get back on track and manage our credit more intelligently from now on. Oh did I even mention that they offer it in English and Spanish? Yay 🙂
It is NEVER too late to learn from your past or current mistakes because they do NOT determine your future. They inspire you to take some inspired action and not let it stop you from achieving your goals!
Photo credit: 777546
I now know better and have definitely learned valuable lessons. As an educator, I wish a special class was created in grammar or high school. The new generations need to learn and be savvy and well prepared for the future.
Now I turn it over to you!
What have you learned about credit cards and their use through the years?
Was there someone who advised you or did you do your own research?
What would you suggest to new users?
Speak your mind!
Until next time.
Tashi delek, all the best.
P.S: I was not compensated in any way or manner to write this post. I wrote it because it had been on my mind for quite some time and had to unload and writing for me is not only therapeutic, it helps me voice out my concerns and connect with others who may be going through similar situations! I am now relieved and glad it’s out 🙂