Friday, February 25, 2011

Paper or Plastic?

No, it's not Green Week on Insistent and Persistent. Today's topic is finance. 
    I have always been cautious, perhaps excessively so, about my personal finances. I'm old school to the core. I have an instinct that tells me not to trust banks or credit. Part of this has been my fear of getting caught up in buying things on credit and accumulating massive amounts of debt. On the one hand, I've always been extremely responsible with my money. I saved up my money for my first "big kid" bike and bought it myself. I saved my money up for a year to buy a particularly expensive Beanie Baby (this was about ten years ago when Beanie Babies were still something of a trend). I managed to save up to pay for some of my school expenses and my own living expenses (for the first time ever!) this year. But I refuse to get a credit card; I'm terrified of having a checkbook; and I can't even bring myself to take the proverbial cash out from under the mattress.
    As much as I'd like to agree with pretty much everyone I know who says I'm being paranoid and over-protective, something still nags at me. Can we really trust the banks? Of course, due to the society we live in, we kind of have to to some extent. Some places don't even accept cash anymore. *Gasp!* Moreover, can we trust ourselves with that kind of freedom? I, for one, do not. Yet another reason I do not have a credit card. I would be buying almost everything those infomercials try to sell me. I would be a total sucker. If there's a free gift for making so many purchases from infomercials, I would probably get it if I were given a credit card to order off the television with. Despite how responsible and careful I've been my whole life, I am not sure I could resist the temptation that comes with purchasing things on credit. I'd be cautious and pragmatic at first, much like I am now, but eventually, that "gotta have it" bug would creep up and I'd be charging clothes, shoes, purses, infomercial junk, and every electronic item you could shake a stick at--I'm still way behind on the technology, but with a credit card, it'd be a flat screen TV, Blu-ray player, I-Pad, MP3 and probably an overly complicated stereo system that I would never learn how to work.
    Credit can be just as dangerous as it can be life-saving. And for me, I think it would end up being dangerous. With all the credit card debt and irresponsible usage of credit these days, it seems just as possible that I could become one of them. Again, maybe I'm being overly cautious and critical about credit and the financial and economic system of this country in general, but when we look at the state of the economy, and some of the reasons it's taken such a long time to begin recovery, it does seem slightly more rational (or perhaps, more accurately, less irrational).
    As a disclaimer, I have absolutely no financial or economic expertise to lay claim to, excepting my own experiences, which, as I'm sure you've concluded, are quite limited. That being the case, I'll just leave you with this: If the good life were meant to be had through credit, credit would not be causing the kind of havoc it causes to so many people in this country every day.
Cash is still king in my book.

1 comment:

Outnumbered said...

You are not alone, I am terrified that one of my banks will collapse and steal my money (so i have it very widespread lol) and I don't think I will ever have a credit card in my life. Don't get me wrong I know you need credit to get a house/car/etc but I'd rather build that credit by taking out small loans and paying them back - credit cards are just dangerous.

+Constant Writer

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