I just watched a really informative documentary on Netflix
called Maxed Out
. It highlights some of the ways banks, lenders, credit card companies and everything like them are manipulating American citizens into paying them more than they already owe. Debt is a huge problem in America right now.
One thing that I have experienced first hand is that Credit Card companies prey on college students.
Do you remember freshman orientation when there were tables all over campus that offered you a free t-shirt to sign up for a credit card with them? I do. The credit card companies want to lend to the young and naive who think it’s okay to just make the minimum payment; it gets the company more money.
The other group of people credit companies target are those who have just filed for bankruptcy. There are 2 reasons they do this: they can’t file for bankruptcy again and they have a “taste for credit.”
Lenders get your money four main ways
- Interest on your debt
- Late fees
- Over Limit Fees
- Raising your interest rate if you are ever late or over the limit.
Who can afford all this? We just graduated. Several of us don’t have jobs. Student Loans have just entered repayment. Debt is mounting, higher and higher. It’s a very scary and real situation.
There is another phenomena that is hindering our generation from having acceptable credit. More and more often parents are asking their children to co-sign loans
. Yes, Post Grads, that would be us.
In order to stay on top of your credit and debt and payments, I, as well as most financial experts, suggest looking at your credit score. There are several agencies that will give you your score for free. BE CAREFUL though. I used one of these once. They will give you your score for free, but then they also automatically sign you up for their service. You may cancel at any time, or so they tell you, but they make you jump through hoops to do so. Often you are not even aware that you are signed up until you credit card bill shows a charge the next month.
Don’t worry too much though, if ever you are feeling overwhelmed by your personal debt, check out the national debt
*UPDATE: Unpaid parking and speeding tickets associated with your license plate also show up on your credit report if they have been handed over to collection. Thank you DouchBag for getting a ticket in my car, never telling me, and never paying it. I REALLY appreciate it.