Did Your Parents Ever Give You The Talk? (...About Credit Cards)

Dependents by Roland Tamayo
I don't really talk about debt much because I've always found ways to avoid it the past. I think it's because my parents set me straight about debt early on.. But I do use credit cards all the time, I view them as a great way to earn extra stuff while purchasing everyday things such as groceries, or just paying my monthly internet bill. The other day I was reading a post over at Journey To Saving titled, "Are Credit Cards Evil" and I found myself giving "The Talk" in the comments as a response. You know, the birds and the bees about credit cards.....

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

8 comments:

  1. I got my first credit card at 18 and my parents freaked out. They definitely gave me "the talk," but I didn't listen! I charged up thousands of dollars in debt when I was young.
    I did pay it off though, and I learned a valuable lesson when doing so. Their "talk" really did work- it just took a while.

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    1. Sometimes we learn the best from our mistakes! It's unfortunate but that's one way to really drill a lesson into us.

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  2. You know, I never did get "the talk". Fortunately enough, I've always been curious about money. I did my own research and it went pretty well. I use credit cards, but I don't have debt!

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    1. Honestly my "talk" was more of a 2 sentence speech of "if you use this on stupid stuff you'll lose it" kind of thing. I guess that's all I really needed to start me off right.

      That's awesome that you have no debt though and I'm sure you're seeing the benefits of the rewards systems that credit cards give.

      Thanks for stopping by!

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  3. My mom didn't even have a bank account when I was growing up as we lived paycheck to paycheck. I did start a bank account when I was younger though and any small amount of money I earned of received, I would put it in my savings account. Then came college and the credit card fairs where you could sign up for a cc on the spot. I signed up for three cards that each maxed out at $500. I was doing just fine...when I had a job. Then came the " I quit my job because of the principle of the matter" and began to live off my credit cards. I remember trying to send flowers to a guy ('cause I am romantic like that) and each card was declined. I was 18 years old and I ruined my credit. I never did pay them back. I was told, "if you have already been sent to the debt collectors, just leave it alone for 7 years then they have to remove it from your report. If you pay anything, it starts back over" It is now 16 years later and I still get claim letters. I've been told you can write to get them to stop because of the statue of limitations, but I still haven't figured that out...

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    1. I kind of think they shouldn't allow credit card pushers on college campus's. I think if a college student really wants or needs a credit card they can easily find one themselves. I mean, there is this thing called the internet these days. and I'm sure most college students are more savvy at using it than other people. Signing up for credit cards on a whim just because someone is there to give you one can be a dangerous thing.

      I had never heard of the whole "leave it alone" for 7 years thing before. I hope that you have gotten your credit straightened out since it's been so long, and I hope that you're more responsible now. I think I would just not want to hassle with debt collectors so I would just pay it off personally.

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