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Danny Lehane
Danny Lehane
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ANY DEBT IS BAD DEBT BUT TWINKIES ARE NOT BAD

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In my law practice I do not handle any bankruptcy cases. However, I can identify a train wreck. It does not take years of filing one bankruptcy case after another to recognize a financial disaster in the making. No one wants to get in a financial bind. I think it is safe to assume as well no one wants to weigh 600 pounds either. The problem is if you eat 10,000 calories a day and have exercise habits that make a slumbering sloth look like it is in a steroid and meth driven frenzy, it is a foregone conclusion you are going to become a whopper. And it won’t happen overnight. The same can be said regarding debt. It is not a sneaky shadow that all of a sudden jumps out and overpowers you. Debt is a process; it is a pattern of thinking, a lifestyle. We are trained from the time we can differentiate between cartoons and commercials to borrow and get whatever our little unfulfilled hearts desire. Nothing says I have arrived more than having the latest credit card in the “I make a butt-load of money” shaded color. Watch how impressed your friends and associates are when you whip out the latest and greatest color from Visa. The mauve colored card? Please, that was so last week.

Credit card companies bombard college kids with solicitation after solicitation to get their card. Buy now and you will pay later. Here is an unpopular idea for those aspiring minds: if you can’t pay cash for it, maybe you can’t afford it and need to learn to do without it. I saw a commercial for a credit card company that had the song “I Want It All” by Queen. The lyrics “I want it all and I want it now” repeatedly blasted in the background while some guy was buying stuff as if he were a contestant in a game show. You want "it"? Charge away my good man. However, once you get "it" and then realize "it" cost 112% more than it would have if you paid cash is it really that great of a get? Worse, if you cannot afford whatever it is that you must have, how can you enjoy whatever “it” is?

“Yeah this car/house/boat/plane/yacht/condo/blimp/island/ (or whatever you simply had to have) is sweet but if you see anyone that looks remotely like a repo/foreclosure person, feign death. They usually leave after a few hours.”

Here is a news flash: credit card companies are just like insurance companies: they are in business to make money. Period. They are not in business to improve your life. They do not care what you buy with the credit cards. The only thing they care about is that you buy something with the credit cards. They want you to carry debt because the lie they have sold is, “debt builds credit”. No. Wrong. Carrying debt builds wealth for credit card companies. It creates debt for the card user, pure and simple. Still, the earlier referenced 600 pounder cannot blame the innocent but indestructible Twinkie as the cause of his/her obesity. The soft cream filled golden sponge cake of delight is but a harmless object. It is only when 37 are repeatedly consumed in 2 hour cycles over an extended period time does the Twinkie get the unearned rap of being bad. It is not the Twinkie that leads to a problem; it is the habit of the consumer. Likewise, the spender has to come to the realization that the debt they have is because of their own actions not the credit card company. By the way, there is no decree or edict that I am aware of stating that one has to have a credit card in the first place.