Each week a different blogger takes on a money topic and lets loose. This time Mark Underdown from Small Acorn Money has something to say about credit cards.
When you hear the words “crack cocaine”, I expect you will immediately feel a strong negative impulse and would not wish to hear such words widely spoken in public – it’s clearly not a topic for polite, civilised conversation.
Yet why is the mention and widespread use of credit cards so readily accepted?
They cause just as much harm to people’s lives as hard drugs, yet people can freely mention credit cards in conversation and this is simply normal behaviour?
More debt than crack users
In the UK, there are approximately 300,000 crack cocaine addicts. A shocking figure when you think of the number of lives affected by this drug, and yet those who have become credit card addicts dwarf this figure.
Statistics from The Money Charity indicate that Citizens Advice Bureaus in England and Wales deal with 4,495 new debt problems every day. Whilst this figure includes all kinds of debts and not just credit cards, over the course of a year over 1.6million people have become so desperate in their debt struggles, they are actively seeking help. When you add in those who have debt problems but haven’t sought assistance from Citizens Advice, it’s clear that credit card addiction in the UK is staggering.
The total amount of credit card addiction in the UK is presently £65.7Billion and counting.
These figures suggest to me that our views toward credit cards need to change.
Credit cards should carry the same social stigma as crack cocaine. If people casually discuss credit cards at work, in your social circle or at home, you need to tell them to stop and seek counselling.
It shouldn’t be acceptable for people to openly display such self-destructive financial ignorance, and it’s dangerous for these plastic promoters of debt enslavement to appear in your checkouts and postboxes.
As destructive as crack cocaine
Crack cocaine destroys lives, families and people’s souls; and rightfully, has no place in civilised discussion or everyday life.
Credit cards are however just as destructive, and it’s time they are viewed publicly in a similar vein to Crack cocaine.
Credit cards are perhaps the most dangerous financial product commonly available, bringing the heavy user self-imposed and unnecessary stress, relationship strain, financial enslavement, hardship and impoverishment.
Occasional use can be ok
Sure, there are many, including me who use these products moderately for ease of purchase (such as buyer protection for flights and other international purchases), and to gain 0% advantages for a few months for larger purchases (such as furnishing a home). But this is perhaps akin to the occasional light marijuana smoker. On its own it’s probably harmless, but it can quickly lead to a self-destructive path if the occasional use becomes habit.
For every light credit card user out there, there is at least another who goes on to become a credit addict. How many people have taken out 0% credit cards only to find they have taken the gateway drug to forming a credit card habit, and then how many of those have gotten into a vicious cycle of financial decline into becoming credit card addicts?
Time for an intervention
If your friends, family or work colleagues use credit cards frequently, worse still, rely upon them; then it’s clear they require help, education and counselling in the same way as those addicted to hard drugs.
Excessive debt has never lead to prosperity and the self-destructive financial path we have been on for several decades now has created a mountain of debt, which it will be difficult to escape from.
No attempt is being made to rectify our copious credit card addictions; there is no hint of financial conservatism to pay for the burden of debt we have so readily accepted.
Collectively, our country is a mass of credit users and abusers eager for their next fix. Our country’s credit card addicts need to go cold turkey and it’s time they are cured of their credit addictions.
Mark writes at Small Acorn Money
Loose change is a space for bloggers to get something off their chest. The views in this article are not necessarily the same as UK Money Bloggers or other bloggers in the community.