Wonderful, accessible, way-too-easy-to-get, way-too-hard-to-pay-off, credit.
It makes the world go around and sometimes makes our head spin. It can be our best friend or our worst enemy. Using it gives you a temporary high. Owing it gives you a long-lasting headache.
Where am I going with this you ask? I shall tell you.
You sort of fall into credit use much like you fall into those early relationships of our youth. Often it happens by chance (an offer in the mail or you’re walking through the mall), it looks exciting, promising. You focus on how it will enrich your life and enable you to move towards your goals (owning a car, house, travelling, etc.). And for a long time all is good. Its manageable. And because you are managing it, you get offers for more and better credit (ok , not sure if that parallels so much in relationships). And then! One day! You realize! The honeymoon is over and you actually have to work a bit harder, make some sacrifices, actually live on – dare I say it? – a budget.
At some point throughout that process you have what Oprah calls an Aha Moment and you realize just how much credit (or the credit system) has used you versus you using credit. And you settle in – hopefully – to a new relationship with credit. A mature relationship. Sometimes it lasts (you reduce or eliminate your debt and change the way you use credit). Sometimes you redefine your relationship (consolidate or enter into a debt-reduction strategy). And sometimes you break up (bankruptcy).
My wish for you is that you develop a strong, eyes-open, respectful relationship right off the bat. Or at least work through the issues early enough to learn, and grow, and make credit your friend. If your relationship with credit is on rocky terrain, seek help early. I believe marriage counselling should be mandatory before signing the marriage certificate. And financial counselling should be mandatory before signing the credit application.
Do you have an experience about your relationship with credit that you would like to share? Use our comment feature and share with others.