Credit Card Debt – Your Responsibility, Not Your Bank’s

by Justin Weinger on September 15, 2006

The other day I was driving home from work and I heard an ad on the radio that nearly made me drive my car in to a ditch:

“Get back at credit card companies for making it impossible for you to get out of debt.”

credit card debt not credit card company's fault, consumer spending debt it your fault, take responsibility for your financial situation, you are not a financial victim

The reason I like Suze Orman so much is because she wants you to take control of your financial situation. You are not a victim.

Ads like this make me see red and infuriate me like few things can.  These ads love to portray credit card companies as the enemy and consumers as the helpless victims, when in many cases, this just isn’t true.

Before I continue my tirade, I would like to make a prefacing statement – yes, I do realize that some people come in to credit card debt due to circumstances out of their control.  Whether it’s bad health, loss of a job, death of the family’s “bread winner”, etc., some people have had to take on credit card debt merely to survive.  I truly do feel sorry for people in a situation like that and believe steps should be taken to help them out.

However, for the people who pile up credit card debt because they can’t control their spending, have to have the latest and greatest of everything and are unable to live within their means, I have some sad news: the credit card company isn’t your enemy – you are.

Have you piled up debt buying lavish items such as brand new plasma TVs, designer clothes, high end electronics, elegant home furnishings, etc., when lower priced alternatives would have done just as well?

That’s not your credit card company’s fault.  They didn’t force or coerce you in to buying these higher priced items.  The blame for this debt falls squarely on your shoulders.

So, if you’re someone who is in credit card debt or are someone who is desperately trying to avoid it, step back and think before you make any purchase with your credit card.  Do you really need this item?  If not, put it down and walk away. 

If you do need it, is there a less expensive, just as good alternative?  If so, go get that item instead.

Moral of the story – live within your means, and then you won’t have any financial enemies, your credit card and yourself included.

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