Thursday, March 20, 2008

Dumbing Down Our Youth, Society (Financial Speaking)

I've been doing a slow burn for a few weeks now.

Particularly since I saw the latest "you are slowing down the wheels of progress if you use cash or write checks" commercials pushing Visa cards.

Well, I came close to duct-taping my head last night when I saw ANOTHER commercial I had been warned about by some colleagues in a networking group I belong to. Knowing my dislike of TV ads promoting irresponsible financial behavior (my words), they knew I'd be riled up by the latest ad from a credit card company/giant bank whom I will not name. Trust me, you'll know it the next time you see the television advertisement.

In the spot, a wife or girlfriend tells her male significant other "well, I guess it's time to get a new TV." He dutifully (giddily, truth be told) heads to the local big box electronics store where he is introduced to a plethora of flat panels, flat screens, big screens, BIG BIG BIG possibilities. And as he reclines in a luxurious plush leather recliner (reminiscent of my own "Black Beauty" recliner at home), he quickly pulls out his mobile cellular/internet/mp3/backscratching device and rapidly taps into his charge account to see how much he can spend.

Now notice, he is no longer shopping to see what he needs. He is not shopping based on a budget. HE IS SHOPPING BASED ON HOW MUCH CREDIT HE HAS LEFT ON HIS CHARGE ACCOUNT.

(insert scream here)

Folks, this is what I'm talking about. Kids and even adults are being trained to just "spend what you have," instead of working from a budget. It's no wonder I have so many people who realize they should have gotten into real estate long ago, and could be quite comfortable now, but they are in non-productive debt up to their eyeballs. And they gladly pile it on.

I'll get off the soapbox now. But for everyone who says they have trouble putting money aside, in order to purchase something for a long-term investment, I'll show you some item they bought (but really didn't need) because they had a little extra credit they could use. As for the TV couple, yes they needed a TV. But we are led to believe that he picked out the biggest and best.

Did he need the biggest and best? Probably not. But the credit card company made it so very easy for him to spend far more than he probably needed. A giant flat panel screen that will make him happy for a while, until he gets his monthly credit card statement.

But then, that's the credit game.

Thus endeth the lesson.

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