The article, entitled "Debtors' Hell," discusses how the rise of consumer debt has given way to debt collection, and how repossession—once meant for deadbeats—can happen to anyone: you, a family member, your best friend, your boss. Here’s one of the many stats I found shocking:
An estimated one of every 11 consumers has at least one credit card that is more than 90 days past due, according to nationwide data provided to the Globe by the credit reporting agency Experian.
Can’t imagine losing a car or a home because of an unpaid debt, but it goes on every day. Bad things happen to good people. Losing a job, an unforeseen illness, or foolish spending can derail the best-laid plans. Credit cards has become a way of life, and if the Visas, Fannie Maes, and Sallie Maes of the world have their way, we will be a financially enslaved cashless society within the next 10 years.
Ask yourself this: if your car broke down or you had to take a flight out of town to see your sick mother, how would you pay for it? Would you charge it or take the money out of your emergency fund? If you don’t have an emergency fund, this is how bad things start to happen to good people.
Long ago, my husband and I decided not to be cash poor/house poor. We cleaned up our credit cards, student loans, and car loans; last month we made our last payment and became debt free except for the mortgage. No magic bullet, we just saved money, didn’t buy things we couldn’t afford, talked about money decisions together, and stuck to a budget. Believe me, it hasn’t been easy because my husband decided to start his own business last year. We don’t have the newest gadgets or latest toys. But I wouldn't change the feeling of having cash in my pocket for anything.
There are no easy answers here. I know credit cards can keep families afloat in the hardest of times. So for this Sunday Scribbings, my advice is to save your $ .02. You never know when you might need it.