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Getting Over Credit, Debt, And Other Horror Stories

When people think of credit and debt, their minds immediately go to the worse case scenarios of them. We’ve all heard ghost stories of how bad credit can drag you down and limit your options and how debt can become a spiral that can truly be very hard to climb out of. But the problem is that a lot of people focus on the negative consequences of these stories that they fail to consider just how helpful credit and debt can be. Here, we’re going to challenge the phobia and help you use credit and debt better.

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The sooner you come face-to-face with it, the better

There’s a significant portion of adults who have never once checked their credit report. Some of these people might not know to, others have chosen not to because they’re staying well away from credit as much as possible. However, even if your record is immaculate, your report might not be. You might have to repair your credit score by no fault of your own but because there are erroneous accounts on them. For instance, you might be getting bad reports based on accounts that are mistakenly tied to your name but aren’t yours. Or you might be up-to-date with all your payments but your creditors made a mistake in reporting that you missed a payment.

It’s the next step in a better financial life

When used responsibly, credit and debt are the steps you take to make some of the biggest financial decisions in your life. When you get a car, when you buy a house, when you start a business, the chances are you take out a loan for them. With better credit, which is built by taking debts responsibly, you have the chance to get the best discount auto loans and the best mortgages. Having no history of credit isn’t going to help you get better deals. You have no history of being a responsible debtor, after all. Only by building a healthy credit history can you get the best deals.

Credit cards aren’t the devil

Those pieces of plastic might be considered the single most dangerous aspect of credit. Yes, people get themselves into credit card debt they can’t handle by using it to make lifestyle purchases they otherwise couldn’t. But that debt can be used positively to build up your credit so long as you have pre-planned a budget to always keep on top of it. Debt management turns debt from a danger into a simple part of life. You can get rewards cards that turn credit card use into extra purchasing power, whether it’s through air miles or through grocery vouchers.

Wise use of credit and responsibility for debts can be one of the most effective financial tools at your disposal. It can improve your purchasing power and it can help you make some of the biggest financial decisions in your life. In any account, it’s important to come face-to-face with it so you make sure that it’s not marred by errors that could come back to haunt you.

Delightfully Simple Ways To Dodge Debt Your Entire Life

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Some people think that owing money in life is basically inevitable. It’s easy to understand why some individuals have this mindset because a lot of people are in debt. In fact, it’s estimated that around eight percent of the country’s population are in some form of debt right now. Not just in debt but struggling to pay it back. Don’t forget it is possible to be in debt and be able to manage it. For instance, any time you have a house with a mortgage you will be in debt to the mortgage lender. But that doesn’t mean that you’re in a debt spiral, suddenly unable to handle your finances. That said, it is entirely possible to completely avoid debt through your entire life. Just because most people experience it at some point doesn’t mean that you have to. Debt is a nightmare, and it’s time to snap out of it and wake up.

Budget Budget Budget

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There is no one living in this world right now who can afford not to live on a budget. Even the richest one percent have budgets, they just have larger expenses. In many ways, this makes a budget even more important. So, if you live in a nice house and you’re on a lovely income, you might not think that you need to budget. But that’s a mistake because eventually you’ll overspend and end up in financial trouble. When that happens, you’ll have no choice but to borrow. Immediately, your time of living without the trouble of debt will have come to an end. Budgeting is just a matter of working out how much you make, how much you spend and using the difference to buy things you want.

If You Borrow…

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Make sure that you can afford the cost of the loan. There’s no issue with borrowing per se. The only problem is if the interest rate is so high that you can’t actually afford to pay it back. Then you end up in a debt spiral. So, only take out low-interest rate loans that you’ll know you’ll be able to pay back. Again, it’s a budgeting exercise. Work out how much you need to borrow and when you’ll be able to pay it back. Use a lender like Credit24, and you’ll be able to make sure you can always pay back any money that you take out.

Credit Cards Are Bad News, Avoid Them

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Finally, we need to talk about credit cards. Credit cards are just a way to trick people into living past their means spending more than they can afford. If you want to avoid debt, you need to make sure that you never bother applying for a credit card. This probably sounds easier said than done because there are plenty of massive expenses in life. We’ve just gone through Christmas, and there are probably a lot of parents with expensive credit card bills. You don’t have to be one of them. Instead, you can save through the year and avoid buying on credit altogether. No debt, no credit bills, no problem. If you buy on credit, you’re really just cheating yourself. You can’t afford to make the purchase, and the money you’re spending isn’t actually yours.

Fascinating Facts About The Credit Card

Did you know the Credit Card has been part of our purses and wallets for over 50 years?
Love them or loath them, here are some interesting facts about the credit card.

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This credit card infographic was created by Sainsbury’s Bank

Is the Virtual World Contributing to Financial Illiteracy?

There is no doubt the internet has changed the way we shop and make purchases. Not only has it made things more convenient, letting us make purchases from the comfort of our own home, but also internet shopping has removed the need for cash. Even when we do venture out to go shopping, many people forgo physical money altogether, preferring instead the convenience of paying for everything with plastic. However, if you have children, this may not really be a good thing.

The problem with this cash-free society is that it makes teaching children about the value of money incredibly difficult, because children have nothing tangible to learn with. Even when we withdraw cash from a bank machine, the concept of where this money comes from can be quite difficult for a child to grasp. After all, you have simply inserted a plastic card into the wall and received cash.

There can also be issues with parents opening up bank accounts for their children. While on one hand this is a good idea, as it helps children learn about saving and earning interest, it can also remove the tangible nature of money because looking at numbers on a bank statement is far removed from counting out coins from a piggy bank.

Is a cashless society causing financial illiteracy?

Plastic culture

Of course, children need to learn about using plastic. Both credit and debit cards are essential and unavoidable tools they will have to get to grips with by the time they are adults, and by the time today’s children grow up and become financially independent, credit and debit cards are possibly going to be replaced by the next generation of phone or watch based payment. However, without a basic understanding of money, where it comes from, the difference between debit and credit, and knowing that money spent equates to money earned, we could be at risk of bringing up a generation into this virtually cash free world with high levels of financial illiteracy.

Already, many children are growing up with a limited grasp of how debit and credit cards link to physical money. Many parents make purchases for their children on the internet, buying books, video games and other items. Some parents are even giving children their very own credit card to make purchases or to act as a safety net in case they need money when they are out. In addition, other parents readily offer up their credit card details to their children so they can purchases on the internet themselves or even open up credit accounts on Amazon, Netflix or iTunes, all of which can have unforeseen consequences.

The blurring of real and online worlds

A good example is the number of parents who open up accounts for their children to play apps and games online. As most parents know, online gaming is incredibly popular among children, but many games not only require a monthly subscription to play, but also in many cases, allow players to purchase additional items in the games using real money. Of course, parents have to hand over their credit card or debit card details to open the accounts for their children, which is where the danger lies.

An increasing number of news stories have highlighted incidents of children running up huge credit card bills by making purchases while playing online games. Many of these children are very young, so don’t grasp the concept that buying things in a virtual game world has an impact in the real world. In addition, the number of children that run up bills by making online purchases without their parent’s knowledge is rising too.

All this shouldn’t come as a surprise, because but with so many of us now making online purchases, the line between the real world where money is physical and has to be earned, and the virtual world, has become blurred. It is, therefore, no wonder that children have a hard time grasping the basics of financial management and how credit cards should be used responsibly, which could be costly when they grow up.

Young debtors

There has been a significant rise in young adults, and in particular, students, getting into deep financial trouble because of improper credit card use. In the United States, one fifth of all bankruptcies are filed by college students, and the picture is not much better in the UK. Most students have little or no credit history, and yet many are offered credit cards as soon as they start university. The consequence of this is that many students are getting into difficulty. Even by university age, not enough students have an understanding of interest rates and charges, but one of the biggest dangers is the ease in which credit cards give ready access to cash. Credit card cash advances are controversial, because they can encourage irresponsible behaviour. Making purchases with a credit card is one thing, but withdrawing cash that may be spent on anything, including socialising, leads many students to become debt ridden before they’ve even started work.

Another problem is that many students are leaving school with high levels of financial illiteracy and without a strong psychological link between actual cash – the physical money they earn – and the money they see in their bank account and credit cards statements, which is compounded by the reliance of plastic for online shopping and the diminishing use of cash, as mentioned earlier.

Back to basics

This psychological link is an important one too. Because even if a young person understands that the money borrowed on a credit card has to be paid back, psychologically and subconsciously this link can remain fuzzy. Growing up in a world where money is not tangible, but virtual, means the psychological link between what you have and what you have earned with what you can spend can be difficult to develop, but as with most things, by teaching children about money and the value of things at a young age, can help reinforce this psychological link. This is why The Financial Fairy Tales Books seek to teach both money skills and values.

Money advice for parents

Most children get money quite early on in life, whether as a Christmas or birthday gift or as pocket money, and often this is where developing this psychological link should start. For instance, paying money directly into a child’s bank account may seem like a good idea for encouraging the child to save, but actually handing them the physical cash helps enforce the idea that money is a tangible thing that exists beyond the numbers on a bank statement or online account.

Secondly, many parents make online purchases for their child and either deduct the money from their child’s pocket money, transfer it out of their bank account or even not take it from them at all. By far a better tactic is to make your children physically hand over the cash before you make any payments online, which again, will reinforce that what is spend on the plastic has to come from somewhere. The same is true in making purchases in physical shops. The act of handing over physical money and receiving change shouldn’t be underestimated, and neither should the importance of the trust old piggy bank, as it can provide a child with something that is physical, tangible and visible, rather than virtual.