LOL. What other way can our society get out of the debt that we’ve wracked-up over the years? Can’t someone please take our ID’s so that we can all get new ones??? :-) At least we could then claim ignorance, write-off the debt as the result of being victimized, and totally overlook how we ended-up in this position in the first place!
This may sound ridiculous, of course. But seriously, we’ve all taken part in creating this environment of dependence upon credit scores and ratings — we’ve let the banks and creditors take away our power. And in turn criminals are now taking advantage of our society’s bad habits.
For example, here I was, with a nice respectable 730 credit score, and a single 30 days late notice for a medical bill the insurance company didn’t cover (all of $69, to boot) and didn’t notify the hospital for 60 days blew that away. I suddenly dropped down to lower 600’s score, which means that it became suddenly hard to get any decent financing or interest rates. This despite having significant positive payment histories for amounts in the hundreds-of-thousands of dollars, liquid assets, real estate equity, etc. So why did I care whether I could get a credit line for only a couple thousands of dollars at my local Circuit City??? Why didn’t I just pay cash? To be honest, it’s because I like most of us have come to expect that credit is easy, always available, and the first choice for payment. Another funny experience is when I went into a car dealer recently and actually paid cash (well, at least by check from a cash account — I wasn’t about to carry around $48k!) . The sales manager at the dealer couldn’t understand why I wasn’t taking him up on his offer of “low” 3.9% lease financing, and he was actually getting pissy with me over this….. How crazy is that? Cash buyers seem to have become second-class citizens! Used to be I would get a special price, treatment, etc. for paying cash-on-the-spot. Those days seem to be gone!!!
This is all because we’ve become a greedy, need-it-want-it-now consumer society. Don’t get me wrong, I make a nice living and like to spend my disposable cash on toys and nice cars, etc. But I live within my means, don’t over-extend myself, etc. I have taken the time to understand how the “system” works, and more importantly how the system is not designed to protect or care for each citizen but rather mitigate risk of bad debt write-offs by the financiers. Yes, I use credit lines and financing — but definitely NOT as a way to live beyond my means or to impress others.
So forget about the common-sense crap advice that you see a lot of press about lately — I’ve put together some very simple thoughts on the subject. What got me thinking about this subject was that a number of bloggers have recently written about the “10 Things you should know about the credit…” and other aspects of the credit industry. But the lists always seemed like a rehashing of the obvious like call the credit agencies, complain to the FTC, etc.. So here I am taking a different “tough love” approach. Here’s a few nuggets:
- Credit Agencies are NOT on your side of the playing field!
- Banks and creditors really DO NOT care that you have made every single previous payment on time, had significant amounts of credit extended to you. They only care about your immediately available credit score.
- You HAVE BEEN reduced to a mathematical formula!
- Credit monitoring services WON’T protect you from becoming a victim of identity theft! At best these services will let you know when you become a victim so that you can take actions to limit the damage.
- Likewise, credit “repair” services won’t do anything that you couldn’t do yourself, and in fact could make the situation worse for YOU!
- The ONLY WAY to avoid becoming a victim of identity theft is to take necessary steps to limit your exposure. Remember the analogy that the only secure computer is one that is NOT connected to the network, turned-off, and perhaps erased? Well, the same applies to your identity… we just need to find the right level of reasonableness to continue living our lives without living in a paranoid bubble.
- You can never know all of the ways in which your identity is at risk — the criminals out there are just simply too resourceful. But you CAN be aware of the risks… by reading this blog and other resources (such as identity theft research web site and forums) on the subject to remain aware of the many ways others have become victimized.
This all may seem a bit harsh, or even more common-sense than the pundits have offered already. Let’s see what others have to say….. In the end, maybe our society as a whole should hope that someone steals our identity and our bad habits!
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