Sunday, January 21, 2007

Cash vs Credit

The fight is on between the 2 and according to 20/20 on Friday; the credit cards are winning and the poor suckers aka the American people are losing. Yes the jury is in and the fight is fixed. There is no winning, and as pointed out by last week's 20/20 episode, like many other Americans in denial about other things, there is also denial about debt. This is a country that glorifies instant gratification. Everything in the now, satisfaction immediately, no waiting. The billboards and glossy ads and slick come-ons beckon to us. The things we need and don't need. The countless things we are told we should get, the things we're told that if we didn't have - well that we'd basically be nothing but losers. The "its" play into our insecurities and our need to be secure. Enough with that old car, shoot, get a new one, new phone, better home, spiffier furniture, paint, blender, toaster, food processor and lets not forget clothes, clothes, and more clothes. Don't worry, pay later, 0% interest, cash back deals and better yet, rewards! "What's in YOUR Wallet!" Mastercard is "Priceless" "Life Takes" VISA and the all famous "Don't Leave Home Without It!" Yes suckers, just put it on the card.

There is hardly an American that doesn't own a credit card or are not in some kind of debt. I count myself as one of the lucky few that hasn't fallen for the lure and ended up in that tender trap, surrounded by very possessions that landed me there. It is hard indeed to withstand the onslaught of "you need this" advertising. But the key point is recognizing the difference between a need and a want. Hey by no means do I not like the bells and whistles like the next guy, but the key is this - don't spend what you don't have and don't spend assumed money. But the insane appetite that this culture cultivates is insatiable. This is nothing more than a society of consumers. Eat eat eat, buy buy buy and as long as this continues at a maddening pace we'll all be sunk and the debt collectors will all be a calling; and as some of the calls on this last 20/20 show illustrates - some of them ain't too nice. So cash vs credit, I say, cash is always King!


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