Wait, you never got "The Talk?"
Oh boy, you better sit down for a minute, there's something you need to hear.... It's the Spiderman speech and you probably should have heard it a long time ago. It's short and to the point, straight from the mouth of Uncle Ben.
"With great power comes great responsibility." - Uncle Ben
The credit card companies are “Uncle Ben” in this situation. They are giving you the power to spend money that you might not necessarily have. You have to use this power wisely, for good or bad. It's really up to you on how you use it.
When I got my first credit card near the end of high school my parents told me how I should use it. They didn't actually give me the Spiderman speech but they made it clear that it was to be used for emergencies or things that you planned to pay off completely at the end of each month. At the time I had a $900 limit so I don't think I could have done too much damage anyways, but I knew that if my parents saw any wreckless spending they would have given me another type of "speech" that would have felt more like "nagging". And as most teenagers would agree, nagging from a parent is probably far worse than the loss of a credit card that you weren't supposed to be using that often anyways.
I think that everyone should get the Spiderman speech when they get their first credit card. If you are using your credit cards to your advantage they can do a lot of good. You can get rewards for making your everyday purchases to pay for vacations, free stuff, or my personal favorite, cash back. But if you don't use your credit cards correctly then they can be an evil influence in your life.
Credit card companies should be giving you the Spiderman speech when you first get a card, but it ends up being a 10 page manifesto that no real human can read and understand. But to be honest, if the credit card companies are supposed to be Uncle Ben, then I'm afraid good old “Uncle Ben” doesn’t truly care about your well being. They would make nothing if you didn't keep a balance each month, so that’s the real difference here. The credit card companies want to see you in a hole, with a shovel, and continuing to dig so they just keep collecting more and more interest.
I personally am not against credit cards. I think that once you really know “how” you should be using them, they are a great tool that can provide great bonuses for things that you would be buying anyways.
Credit cards give you great power to do good or evil. It's up to you to use this power wisely.
So did you ever get "The Talk"? If you did, did it help? If you didn't, do you wish someone sat you down earlier in life to set you straight or did you figure it out on your own?
Painting by Roland Tamayo "Dependents"
Spiderman image via GIPHY