Post of the Day
August 20, 1999
Credit Cards Folder
Posts selected for this feature rarely stand alone. They are usually a part of an ongoing thread, and are out of context when presented here. The material should be read in that light.
I've been lurking on the Credit Card Board for quite some time and have seen many messages along the lines of "Thanks to Hugh G. Detter for his inspirational story on how he is sensibly budgeting to pay off his $waytoohigh credit debt". Yes, many of these stories are an inspiration and it is good to see people working hard to turn their credit spending lifestyle around but what got me started looking at the board was something akin to voyeurism.
You know how it is � you stumble onto a new site on the web and stop off in various places to look around. One of the message boards I chose to look at was "Credit cards" � I don't know why, it certainly wasn't one of the reasons I was poking around the Motley Fool in the first place. Anyway, look I did and quite frankly it took my breath away. "They have how much debt? How many credit cards. That's unbelievable" were my wife's words when I told her what I'd seen. Whenever I came back to the Fool I would look at the Credit Card board to read the latest story and see who was doing a happy dance. Why was this voyeuristic? Well, we don't need the advice on how to budget to get out of debt or to switch between cards to get low rates, we've been credit card debt free for all of our married life and most of our adult working life too. My parents were very proud of the fact that they had never bought anything 'on tick' (that's a British slang term for credit in case you didn't know) and without realizing it they passed on their foolish ways to me at a very early age. I guess the same sort of thing happened in my wife's' family (living on an American Serviceman's pay and then Widows benefit probably had something to do with it too.).
So why do I keep coming back here?
I guess its because I see this as a justification of how we live our lives. Why I'm driving an old VW Beetle when friends have the newest SUV (and newest car loan to boot). Why we always try to recycle, and have yet to buy bin liners or sandwich bags since we've lived in the States. Basically why we are Living Below Our Means � now there's a board I really do visit a lot.
So why am I writing? Well, I hope this doesn't come across as a "Holier than thou" dirge, it is not meant to be. I just wanted to say that these stories are an inspiration in more ways than one and are a constant reminder of the debts I do owe, and which, unfortunately, I can never pay back. A debt of gratitude to my folks for their example in how to manage your own finances. I only hope I can pass these Foolish ways on to my son � and hopefully with the help of the Fool, to show him how to invest Foolishly too.