Is easy credit leading to the downfall of our society?
Credit seems to be quickly replacing cash as the popular way to pay for things in today’s society. It’s almost frightening to see how easily so many can get their hands on high limit credit cards to spend on what ever they like. People seem lured by the promise of great rewards and seemingly free money. Many people liken a credit card to spending money that is freely given to them when in reality that money is far from free and not paying it back on time can lead to dire consequences.
The fact that more and more people rely on credit to purchase not just impulse buys but such crucial purchases such as food, gas, and even bill paying is a sign that we as a society are giving less value to money; treating our credit cards like an endless supply of purchasing power that gives us what we want when we want.
At one time money really was valued; not in terms of having it was good, but in terms that having it meant that you could have more through saving to buy what you needed or wanted. I may only in my twenties but those around me who are older talk about the days when most people worked hard for their money and saved it to buy what they desired or needed up front or at least with payments of their own money. Now it seems society treats money as a thing that just stands in the way of getting what they want. With credit that ‘hassle’ of saving money is no longer; if you desire something you can put it on plastic and pay for it later or even better just pay it off in small chunks for years to come.
Then there are those that use the credit cards to try and reap the cash back and rewards that these companies dangle in front of us. Sadly however the truth is that most people that are lured in by these rewards do not have the financial diligence and restraint to spend within their limits and pay off their cards each month; thus the rewards become meaningless and the quest for them becomes a struggle to pull out of unneeded debt.
As credit becomes used more and more relied upon, people are no longer ranked and rated by their character, their reliability, or their ability to hold down a job; rather they are ranked, rated, and denied based on their credit scores. A system has emerged where in order to secure what you want or need; you need good credit to do so. The most common way to get this credit is by using credit cards; but of course many fail to do so responsibly and end up damaging their credit. As this path progresses they are denied more and more for what they not only want, but now for what they need. Things that others once easily got based on holding a job and being responsible are now only attainable by those that have better then average credit; the rest are left to either try and save (a concept that has all but vanished in America) or fall further into debt to pay for the things that they need.
Of course what would a world fueled by credit be if it wasn’t for those looking to capitalize on the millions who are pushed aside because of bad credit. The loan sharks known as payday loan companies have moved in to offer even those with bad credit the lure of easy cash. Although this quick cash is even more damaging with interest rates on payday loans easily surpassing the triple digits. So as those who try once again to get money or even just get by on bad credit, they are pushed further and further to the fringes of society and falling further into debt.
Those that support the idea of credit as being a great thing do not realize that many people are simply impulsive by nature. Dangling lures of easy money, great rewards, and lots of credit to spend doesn’t usually lure those that are financially secure and well off, it lures those that need money or want things that they can’t currently afford. Although it should be said that even those with enough money to not need credit cards still can fall into the trap as credit card companies offer far higher limits to those with higher incomes.
Human beings in general tend to be procrastinators despite our best intentions. We all tend to be impulsive at times and many of us at times get wide eyed at the prospect of what seems like quick cash to save the day or get us our new toy. But it is the rise of credit and the companies that prey on these human shortcomings that will ultimately do society in. As more and more people rely purely on credit and continue to lack good control of their spending, society will fall further and further into debt. For those of you that may be wondering if I am wrong because the credit card companies will profit and flourish and thus society as a whole will be financially ok, consider this: There is only so much money in the world; it only changes hands so often. As money is technically finite since producing too much can weaken the economy, society will reach a point where the majority of those in debt can no longer afford to pay any of their debt back. Without any money coming back to cover these debts, credit card companies will struggle to survive and jobs will be lost. Maybe this will be good and people in debt will redirect their money to the economy once again, that is if they had any in the first place. Plastic money has no value if no one can afford to pay it back.