Wednesday, August 6, 2008

The New Taboo: Credit Card Debt

Hand-written thank you notes. Hostess gifts. Elbows that have never rested on a table mid-meal. If none of these Emily Post approved etiquette staples apply to you, you're not alone. Modern etiquette is constantly changing. But a few rules seemed permanent: Say please. Say thank you. And above all, religion and politics are the ultimate taboo topics of discussion when meeting someone for the first time.

Well, not anymore.

According to a new poll by Creditcards.com, Americans would rather discuss their political and religious views during a first meeting than admit that they have credit card debt. In fact, the average person surveyed would choose to disclose their weight, age and health problems before they would disclose the amount of credit card debt they have amassed.

As we've pointed out already this week, ignorance isn't always bliss. If you feel unwilling discuss your debt with others, this may hold you back from seeking help to overcome your debt. Likewise, if you're sharing your finances with a partner, make sure that you're both being honest with each other about how much you each owe. Here are a few suggestions that may help make your credit card debt more manageable:
  • Pay off the credit card with the highest interest rate first.
  • Pay your credit card bill as soon as you receive it, especially if you are carrying over a balance, to reduce your interest charges.
  • If you cannot pay the full amount, pay as much as you can each month.
  • If you can’t afford to buy something, don’t buy it. While credit cards can be very useful, they are not magic. If you are careful with your budget, then you can avoid falling into the credit card debt trap.
  • For one-on-one credit counseling, contact the National Foundation for Consumer Credit at 800-388-2227 or http://nfcc.org/.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

most people i know wouldn't dream of talking about their credit card debt with close friends or family members, let alone strangers they'd just met!

i think families not discussing household finances and what credit really means with their kids has contributed to our culture of debt in this country.

thanks for taking the time to talk about it.

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