Consumer Credit / Credit Cards
Debt and Mind Set

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By Desperateone2
June 16, 2003

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I have 5 older sisters, and I think all of us at some point, including my parents, have filed for bankruptcy. After I was getting my credit cleaned up and trying to start over, I married a terrible person and he demolished my credit in little under 1 year. We are divorced and I have a 2 year old. I have to live with my parents now, and luckily they are my child's caregivers now, while I am working two jobs. When most of my family gets together, they complain consistently about what they don't have and can't get; however, they have tons more than a lot of people.

I was just having a conversation with one of my sisters last night. It was about her cell phone bill (which is really one of my cell phones she is using because her credit isn't good enough to get one.) Her daughter text-messages her all the time at 15 cents a minute. And my sister keeps using the 411-directory assistance for $1.25 each time. I was trying to explain to her AGAIN that we get charged for text messaging and why can't she just call you? I explained how she just spent more than $15 extra and didn't need to. She tried to rationalize this by saying she would rather pay 15 cents a minute for text than 49 cents a minute for airtime. I explained those air time minutes are only charged if you GO OVER the minutes allowed. She did as always, and said: "I know". Then the 411 service. I said, "call one of us or something, to look up a number in the phone book, I do." She said, "then what if no one answers, I've wasted minutes?" It is like talking to a lovely brick wall.

I know the 15 cents a minute thing is a different level than thousands of dollars, but it is the tip of the iceberg with my family and the lack of finances. My mom does nothing but complain about not having any money on a DAILY basis. Then I just get frustrated because she'll turn right around and purchase something like moisturizer off the home shopping network. And there always seems to be plenty of money for things like cigarettes. I love my family, but "stop the insanity".

In the last month or so I have become more determined than ever to change my thoughts on money and finances. I am determined to somehow break this "heredity" of poor finances and being swallowed up in debt. I want so much to teach my child how to manage money and create some level of financial "wealth". I can't tell you how much I think about him and wonder how can I teach him? Why don't schools teach you about retirement, money markets, or just how to balance a checkbook anymore? No one ever taught me that. Home economics was about how to cook and sew. If someone had taught me in school, or anywhere growing up, about mortgages and PMI and interest rates and depreciation and appreciation and most of all about credit reporting and credit card companies, [and] that it would take me 70 years and cost me double plus in finance charges than what I originally charged, to pay ONE card off...I'd be in a whole different lifestyle by now.

Why is it things like finance and work ethic are no longer taught? Would our country have such a large deficit if the country, as a whole, had been (could be) taught how to manage money, on all levels of income? Would we have such a high welfare rate if people were taught how to manage after divorce or as a single parent, or just make it on their own? We seem to always be tripping over the dollars to pick up the dimes and I just REFUSE anymore! The cycles have got to be broken. We can all have a better life without worry and debt. We can all have the American Dream of a nice house and car without "dying in debt".

I also thank heaven for this website. I have learned so much and am grateful to all who post messages and send emails with brilliant info and insight.

Thanks so much!!

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