What's in your wallet? Alec and Samuel L want to know

What's in your wallet? Alec and Samuel L want to know
photo courtesy trbc.org

What's in your wallet? The answer is simple: DEBT!

I must confess that Visa has one of the most creative commercial campaigns on TV. We have Alec Baldwin foiling a plot to kidnap him; he rides on the luggage carousel talking about double points and his beard growing contest with the Vikings and always ends with "what’s in your wallet"?

Then we have Samuel L. Jackson with his senatorial voice talking about your silver card, and oh yes, the 2% discount. He looks into the camera and with his award winning performance asks, "what’s in your wallet"? I sometimes wonder if he is having a tongue in cheek moment when he says with a commanding voice, to look in your wallet.

What neither star doesn't talk about are the pitfalls of the credit card or cards that are in your wallet.  If you are paying the minimum each month, your chances of paying your bill in full will take forever; the interest will eat up your payment. However, for those who use the credit card for business and can afford to pay off their balance in full every month, there is no interest to pay. Sadly, those people are in the one percent of card holders and for the average working person, a financial burden.

Yes you can purchase your brand new flat screen TV and charge it to your credit card. You have been convinced of a better life and happiness if you use your friendly credit card. Or you want to take that dream vacation you need for you and your family but don’t have the funds to pay for it. Not to worry! You have the friendly credit card to finance some or all of that trip.

You know that you have to repay the debt but when your statement appears, the shock of using the card is staring you in the face.  Notice the APR and you will say “what did I do"?  The interest can range from 10% to 25%. And, higher interest if you are late with your payment.

STOP the debt. Take your card and cut it up and don’t purchase the item. The older generation believed in 100% down and nothing a month.  All the experts say not to use credit cards to purchase food or any perishable product.  Most people have to finance their car or their home with a mortgage.  They need to beware of a home equity loan that is nothing more than a second mortgage. So why add credit card debt on top of everything?

If my memory is still reliable the credit card craze began in the early 1950’s. Diner’s Club was one of the early pioneers in this relatively new field of finance. Then there was the International Credit agency that didn’t last long and was swallowed up by another corporation.

The results were immediate.  In my early working years I was a ladies’ shoe salesman and most women purchased one pair of shoes.  But then with a credit card she could afford that second or even third pair she liked and took on this newfangled way of buying without thinking about it.

What the store owner paid in order to receive his money from the card carrying company was a percentage of the sale including sales tax. So the price was raised in order to afford carrying the card. We were hooked. The credit card company’s created their niche in the market place to the extent they meticulously put the average person in debt. Yes, “that’s what’s in your wallet”.

What’s in my wallet? Pictures of my family, grandchildren and now great grandchildren and my driver’s license.

Careful with what’s in your wallet.

This memory was of Chicago way back when it was 100% down and nothing a month.

Thank you for reading my latest blog. I have been ill since New Years Day and am happy to be back. I appreciate your loyalty!

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