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Author Topic: Want revenge on credit card companies?
Charles
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Then pay off your cards and never carry a balance again. That's the most effective kick in the nuts you can deliver to the credit card industry.

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Why are credit card rates still out of control?

Despite congressional hearings, headlines, lenders push up rates and fees

By Herb Weisbaum

It has been more than six months since Congress began looking into what Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., called the “unfair or abusive” practices of the credit card industry.

In March, bank executives were called to testify before the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations. So much public attention was focused on the issue at that time that several big banks announced they would modify or eliminate a few of their most egregious practices. Committee members vowed to write legislation to protect American consumers.

So far Congress has done nothing to reduce or limit the exorbitant fees and sky-high penalty interest rates being charged to cardholders. And even though the Federal Reserve cut a benchmark interest rate this week, consumers are about to take it on the chin yet again.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/20811184/

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JATG
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AMEN.

I paid off my credit cards last year and cut them up and closed the accounts.

I hear people complaining about interest rates and the shell games the companies play jacking the due dates around and $40.00 fees and I smile to myself thinking those are problems I do not have to worry about.

I paid off my car and my motorcycle and swore never to go into debt for a vehicle again.
Now I put $x into my savings account and when the time comes (in the hopefully distant future) I need a new car, I'm paying cash.

I'm chunking serious change towards my student loans and hope to have it paid off in the next year.

I'm sick of the shackles of debt.

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JDC
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The thing that drives me nuts is that five dollar "fraud safety protection" fee they always want to sign people up on. I really don't want to pay 5 bucks a month just to have the card.. and I really don't want to pay interest on that 5 bucks if I miss a payment.

Is it me or do they just make stuff up to charge you? [Gary]

Whats in my wallet?.. NOT a capital one card, that's for sure.. I'll take my chances against that viking horde.

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JATG
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My favorite is a Dave Ramsey quip about Capitol One.

"What's in my wallet? MONEY!!!"

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Jasen
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Today's bankruptcy rate is ten times what it was during the Great Depression, foreclosures are at a 37-year high and the United States has a negative savings rate, yet we're told every day that the economy is going gangbusters.
George W. Bush often points out that more Americans own their own homes today than ever before. He doesn't mention that they also have less equity in those homes than ever before.

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Jasen
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The line between a loan-shark and a reputable bank has now become blurred with these banks all writing high-risk, high-interest loans and slapping on all these fees and coming up with all these schemes like double-cycle billing and universal default and on and on.

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OFFBEAT
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quote:
Today's bankruptcy rate is ten times what it was during the Great Depression, foreclosures are at a 37-year high and the United States has a negative savings rate, yet we're told every day that the economy is going gangbusters.
And if you are to disagree that the economy is going gangbusters.. you're a Liberal Media UFO Conspiracy Theory Nutjob!

Pay no attention to the falling value of the American Dollar conspiracy.

Everything is fine.. go about your business!

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"Get Rich, or Die Drawing!"

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Jasen
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Here is the current consequence of debt.
http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=026_1186197766

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tstevens
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If people would just read there contracts and think about them things would be a lot easier. However, as long as people have eyes that are bigger than their wallets, credit problems will always be an issue. Unfortunately their is always a new generation of kids that will come along and learn the hard way.

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ApeLad
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Credit cards are very handy for unforeseen emergencies (knock on wood). Even then, if you have good credit, it's wiser to transfer the debt to a bank or credit union.
Today Clark Howard was talking about how credit card companies are now targeting people stuck in sub-prime mortgages by offering them "new" credit. These companies are nothing but sharks.

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Jasen
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And the truth is, there are a lot of people who "look" like they're middle class but in fact if you took away their credit cards you'd see that they're actually quite poor.

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Jennifer Hachigian Jerrard
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quote:
...pay off your cards and never carry a balance again. That's the most effective kick in the nuts you can deliver to the credit card industry.
I do pay off my credit card's balance in full every month, though I never thought of it as a "kick in the nuts" to a credit card company. Interesting thought. [funny]

For now, the credit card's convenient. The delay in payment lets me earn a little more interest in my online savings account. I'm also hoping to build up a higher FICO score by keeping a good credit history.

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CavePainter
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I've been kicking Citibank's nuts for many years now. Charles is right... they absolutely hate customers that pay their balances in full... witness my rate which keeps going up and is now an unbelievable 36% which is their way to try to get me to go somewhere else (or make a killing on me if a payment gets lost in the mail.) Time to look for another credit card.

It eventually comes down to personal responsibility. Pay it off each month, and that item costs you only what the tag says in the store (plus tax of course.)

If you're spending more money than you have, you're gonna have problems. Combine that with a predatory, underregulated corporation that doesn't give a damn about you and its a dangerous combination. Same is true for a credit card, same is true for a subprime morgage, and the same is true for our government's spending habits. Its simple. Read the fine print, and do the math. If you can't afford the Cadillac SUV, then don't buy one. Problem solved.

(No wonder why I don't fit in LA...)

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Jennifer Hachigian Jerrard
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quote:
I've been kicking Citibank's nuts for many years now. Charles is right... they absolutely hate customers that pay their balances in full... witness my rate which keeps going up and is now an unbelievable 36% which is their way to try to get me to go somewhere else (or make a killing on me if a payment gets lost in the mail.) Time to look for another credit card.
Hey, before looking for another credit card, see if you've earned "ThankYou Points" on your Citi card. I just found out about them recently. You can also convert rebates earned on your card into ThankYou Points.

Then you can exchange those ThankYou Points for cash. I'm not sure if you have to pay taxes on it or not...but hey, Citi will be paying you to use their card!

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Charles
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Glad to see this topic well received. It's an important one.

I was influenced early on by a couple of people who used credit cards very wisely. One was an ol' timer who thought they were the biggest swindle ever perpetrated on the American people and never carried one his entire life. Don't know how he did it, must have paid for everything like in the old days with cash or a check. He retired and lived well with no credit debt hanging over his head at any time in his life.

The other was someone who saw how to use them to his advantage. By charging larger items that he could pay for, he'd time his purchase right after the new billing cycle started for his card. He'd have 30 days before the bill came in, and 30 days to pay that bill. So for 60 days he'd be using their money while he could keep his in an interest bearing situation for that time before paying off the debt in full.

And if there was a problem with what he purchased, he could get the card company involved in the dispute and stop the payment. Much more control over the situation than paying in cash and trying to get your money back.

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Charles
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If you're starting out on building a credit history, the best thing you could do for yourself is to pay off the card bill right away in full, or at least pay it off as quickly as you possibley can, never showing a late payment.

What'll happen over time is you'll start getting these solicitations in the mail for new card accounts, or from a second card you may carry, that will offer you 0% financing on balance transfers for as long as 8 months to a year. All you pay is a transaction fee that amounts to 3% of the amount, usually with a $50 fee limit.

Buy a new computer or something else you may need for your business. Use one card, then when the bill comes in transfer the balance to the other card that's offering the deal. Figure out how much you'd have to pay per month until the 0% time is up and make those payments pronto when you get the bill.

Congratulations! You're financing your business with 0% loans. Find a bank that will do that for ya.

Using your credit wisely and responsibley can really help you expand your activities if you have a good record and don't get caught in the mindset of carrying a balance.

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ApeLad
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The sad fact about this topic, though, is it's akin to "buckle up" advice after someone has an accident.
Lots of people are under the thumb of credit card debt for lots of reasons, some of them may even be good ones. If you aren't, good for you. If you are, listen to the advice here. And listen to Clark Howard.
Not to suggest that anyone here is acting smug, but that is the risk.

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CavePainter
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Thanks for the advice, Jennifer.

Suze Orman in a recent interview said that if you cancel a card that you're unhappy with you lose all the past credit information from that source...she suggested that you should keep the card account open for a while (unused) until you build up your credit rating with another credit card company. Anyone know if that's true or not?

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Charles
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That's true Apelad. Card companies are very aggressive in their marketing to get people to go into credit debt. With no usery laws and nothing much in the way of regulations, consumers become susceptible and before they know it, they're in it deep. Sometimes it can't be helped but much of the time it can.

Any and every plan for personal finacial growth involves getting a hold of your credit and paying down the cards as an absolute top priority. Not having much money and not carrying credit card debt is much better off than not having much money and owing on cards. With interest rates that rival those of mob loan sharks, credit card debt today will just suck you down into a pit faster than at any time before.

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Charles
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Cavepainter, what credit reports show is how long you've had credit card accounts. Even if you're unhappy with them, keep your card but just don't use it. Get two or three good cards, carry one, and use the others as back up. Make sure you have cards with no annual fee if you can.

If things go sour with one start using the other. Don't carry any activity on the other at all or use it once in a while to keep it active.

Your credit report will be more favorable when it shows how long you've been carrying a particular card account, so hold onto the older ones. Use them sparingly and don't carry cards that charge an annual fee.

Also, they look to see how often you transfer balances from one card to another. Don't let that stop you. Pay it off in time and it won't make a difference to whoever is considering your credit.

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Jennifer Hachigian Jerrard
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Someone actually made a film about credit cards and debt:
http://www.maxedoutmovie.com/

The trailer states that the average American household "carries $9,205 in credit-card debt and spends more than $1300/year in interest payments." Wow.

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Charles
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Thanks for posting that link. Looks like a powerful film. I encourage everyone to follow the link on Jennifer's post above and watch the trailer for the film "Maxed Out".

If the average American is paying $1300 a year in interest, that comes out to monthly payments of $108.33 on the interest alone. On a balance of $9205 that figures to be a rate of 14.1%. Imagine what people are paying on bigger balances at even higher rates.

Credit card companies used to give everyone a 30 day grace period. You had 30 days after the due date to get you payment in before a payment was regarded as late. Nowadays, it can take them a week before they get around to processing your payment once they've received it. And on top of that, even if your payment is postmarked before the due date it doesn't matter. They'll still charge you a late fee if it arrives too late and who's to say when it really arrives.

Nobody ever imagined there would be a time when credit card interest rates would hit beyond 20% and more, with sky high late fees and fraud on top of that when it comes to receiving payments.

Maxed Out will help educate more people about what's happening behind the scenes.

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Jasen
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I always thought that all of these corporate CEOs would be amazing generals during a war. There is always something to counter or squash the opposing force.
Like when the film Super Size Me came out, the same opening week McDonald’s made a hullabaloo about fresh fruits & salads etc. or when the grumblings of Ebay fees get louder & louder then Ebay releases a half off fee Saturday or some kinda lame crap like that. And there IS a law in Nevada that you can not pan handle around the casinos… hmmm I wonder if Casinos have any influence over laws? I mean what casino would want anyone to be reminded of poverty?
Oops sorry got carried away & off the topic a bit.

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Greg B
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Don't know how I missed this topic cause I can go on and on about how criminal these credit card companies and their ilk really are.

I'll post more details later as I'm in a rush, but the bottom line here is one word:

USURY

Do a little research on the web regarding the usury laws in the United States. You will be shocked at how this all came to be.

You're being screwed. JATG is smart, he's handling the problem while he's young, he's not going to play the game and that makes him more powerful. I saw far too many young people just out of college a few years into the work force and were half a million in debt because they got married, bought a house etc.

As I type, I'm working with some big companies that handle and help people with credit and debt problems.

Basically, we humans have default behavior patterns that others exploit. It takes a lot of control to bypass these behaviors and the predators know it.

Stay tuned.

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Steve G
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While we wait for GregB to solve the world's problems I'll offer this advice that very few will tell you.
The best way to build your credit score (which is unfortunately the most important thing about credit) is to have larger amounts available to you on your credit cards no matter how much you actually owe. If you owe 5,000 on a Visa make sure your credit limit is at least double that and as long as you're making good payments each month (much more than the minimum due) most companies will be glad to do this for you. This is what the credit score companies are looking for - just make sure you're not tempted to ever use that available credit.

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Fooksie
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Don't use credit cards to finance a life style you can't afford.

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" Every move a picture! "
Buddy Love

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Ganklin
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i'll offer some good advice too on credit cards. you dont need more than one. i've had one my entire life and its all i ever needed. if i cant afford something with the one card i have, then i'll just be living beyond my means.

greg let us know when you've cracked the credit card code with that uber brain of yours... [Roll Eyes]

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bronnie
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I agree entirely that one should never live beyond one's means.
Credit is indeed the proverbial serpent in the garden..the ultimate temptation that can really kick your ass if not handled responsibly.
Nonetheless,whether through credit or not,we simply buy much more 'stuff' than we need. Do we really need to rush out to Mervyn's for that "stock-up" sale? And Christmas.. that's a killer...unless you have a budget and stick to it.
If more of us were less vulnerable to impulse buying, advertising and so forth, can you imagine how much fatter our emergency/savings and retirement accounts would be? Isn't that worth the sacrifice for peace of mind alone?
We in animation are rarely guaranteed steady incomes; but when we DO work it's imperative that we resist buying, for instance, that fancy flat screen TV, or latest Ipod, and SAVE as much as possible. I know this may be a challenge given all the planned obsolescence these days,but perhaps we can learn to appreciate things we already have, and use them 'til they wear out before replacing them.

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I am not young enough to know everything- Oscar Wilde

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Ganklin
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i hear ya bronnie. like, when i bought my car a little over a year ago, i definitely spent a bit much more than i should have on it, but i totally plan on riding that thing into the ground (like i did to my last car).

i've got a few buddies who have crazy credit card debts, and what kills me is they have NOTHING to show for it. i always pay off my bill every month, and as such i had pretty decent credit when it came time to take that next step in my life of buying a condo. as such, i've got a decent rate which helps make my monthly mortgage payments a bit more manageable.

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bronnie
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Yeah, Ganklin..!
Enjoy that new car! You earned it!And yes-- keep up the service schedule, and you'll have it for many years to come! I've never owned one for less than 10 years. I bought a new car in June, but not before having racked up 222K miles on my old one, a '93. I guess I took decent care of it, as I still got a good trade-in value for it!

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I am not young enough to know everything- Oscar Wilde

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Greg B
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Like AN, there're other proactive groups using the web to help people get educated and handle credit and debt.

One of, if not the best is Credit Boards. www.creditboards.com

Thats site you may have seen on many news shows. It's comprised of thousands and thousands of professionals and average folks sharing valuable information regarding everything from medical bills, college loans, credit, debt, mortgages and then some. You'll always find some helpful tip or sticky-post tutorial regarding just about every situation from getting started in business to handling disastrous situations. If this type of resource was around when I was in college it would be a whole new world.

To show how effective this site is, I showed it to some colleagues here in Hollywood who finance mortgages, films, all sorts of investment projects. They sat down and started several companies to help people with mortgages, credit, debt help. This week an even larger series of companies form. We'll be working on the radio and tv ads soon. What's extra satisfying to me is that I was able to bring several well meaning people together to actually help and not hinder. It's been a lonnnnnnng road let me tell you.

It's about taking responsibility but that includes educating yourself. That's where Credit Boards comes in. Some folks there have books, DVDS all sorts of tutorials. Products of all sorts too. If you get stiffed by one of those crooked credit repair groups you can go to Credit Boards and call em' out.

Every day new data comes in. It's just a wellspring to see people helping people. Of course there are some real tearjerker stories regarding the uninsured. That's how a huge amount if not the majority get into debt. Pre-existing conditions and no insurance, illness kicks in, they're in debt. It's downright evil.

We're pooling our resources, signing petitions and nagging our representatives regarding all this.

That's when we found out that again, the slowdown in legislative action and executive action regarding addressing the high interest rates was due to unions and pensions. That old one-two punch in the gut.

The amount of legislation being tossed around is growing. Only a few lawmakers are addressing things because the rest don't want to lose votes. Revenue from debt is so lucrative it's caused us to become dependent on it which is what Pres. Eisenhower's administration and JFK's administration had been worried about.

The trick the greedy and evil do is introduce an evil, get it to the point of providing revenue for the unions and pensions and thus getting the public dependent on that revenue. This makes it almost impervious to nullification.

Foreign investors couldn't resist the debt goods. It's nothing more than planetary loansharking and it's so out of hand it's collapsing on itself.

The world has become so dependent on it that if it does collapse it will cause chaos. The Fed can't keep dropping interest rates.

Sure it's easy to say don't live beyond your means, but when the odds are stacked against you, you're old, young, ill, scared, and not only that but jobs and security are being farmed overseas you can see the multiple attacks. Add to all that layoffs too which the animation industry has had to deal with.

I was like JATG except that I never went into any form of serious debt when I was young. In the old days they still had strongarms showing up. The one time I did go into debt business-wise I was old enough to catch it and knew it would be handled. I was attacked because I wasn't keeping an eye on some accounts I had actually paid a company to handle. Their negligence cost me some headache but I got a quick education and haven't had a problem like it since. However, I was fortunate I was working for a big company like AOL and had access to our forums and news sites. I worked with those guys to research the problem and everyone pitching together helped educate people and help. That help has grown in the face of lots of opposition. President Bush's changing of the bankruptcy laws was a plus and minus. He had to secure the debt crisis by making people more responsible but then again didn't address the predation which often takes a big chunk of why people went into debt.

Remember, catastrophic illnesses, natural disasters, no flood insurance, no health insurance, were the primary reasons for catastrophic debt. You can do the research on the flood insurance scandals alone.

Bottom line is this area of our lives has not been addressed and handled properly by our government because it's too much money to mess with. It takes the people to do so and I for one have seen the people actually get together using the web to help one another with astounding results. I'm proud to say I have the opportunity to meet such people and can in some way contribute.

It proves to me that the power really is in the people especially when they have their computers working [Smile]

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http://www.spacefool.com

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rhinthell
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How do people feel about paying off student loans early?

I'm not very financially savvy, but I am good at saving and I never leave a balance on my credit card. If I don't have the cash onhand then I CAN'T afford it.

I should be able to pay off my car 2 years early within the next few months (yay!!!) and I paid off one of my three student loans a few months ago.

My next goal is to either save up towards paying off all my student loans early OR to prioritize saving up to start a retirement account (I'm 25). I've been told that my student loan interest rates are so low (the biggest loan is fixed rate low interest), it's in my best interest to let it play out for the next 10 years. But I hate debt... and I feel like I'm paying less in the long run if I just pay it off, right?

Another interesting tidbit I picked up that not many people seem to know... your car insurance is debt that you are paying over the course of the year. It gathers interest. Pay it all at once and it's cheaper!

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Greg B
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rinthhell, smart!

Go to that website I posted www.creditboards.com it has all that info there.

It's never, never too early to start your retirement package. I was able to retire twice, once at 26 and again at 37. Only reasons I came out of retirement was boredom. I'm planning final retirement now for five year plan but looks like I'll get there 4 1/2 years earlier. It's about the amount of interest you get on your savings. I would always, always, stash something away and not touch it. Make it impossible for me to touch not even during emergencies. A well placed $50k at 10% or more compounded turns into quite a tidy sum in 10 or 20 years!

Smart real estate investing and always, always, invest in your talents. My Dad was a genius at this. Real estate and education, he was always well off. As I'm working on my retirement package I'm also looking at continuing education. So many things to learn!

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Doodles
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My personal revenge would be to steal the identities of the major stockholders and executives at these firms and use them to charge off a few billion in food and clothing for the poor.
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Jennifer Hachigian Jerrard
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quote:
Steve G:

...The best way to build your credit score (which is unfortunately the most important thing about credit) is to have larger amounts available to you on your credit cards no matter how much you actually owe. If you owe 5,000 on a Visa make sure your credit limit is at least double that and as long as you're making good payments each month (much more than the minimum due) most companies will be glad to do this for you. This is what the credit score companies are looking for - just make sure you're not tempted to ever use that available credit.

Good advice. I heard similar information a few months ago on the radio, though the host's rule-of-thumb was to use no more than 30% of available credit at any given time.

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If folks want to stop credit-card companies from flooding their mailboxes with offers, go to this site:

OptOutPrescreen.com

Filling out its online form will keep unwanted credit-card offers out of your mailbox for five years. You do NOT have to give your Social Security number when filling out the form.

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-FP-
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quote:
My personal revenge would be to steal the identities of the major stockholders and executives at these firms and use them to charge off a few billion in food and clothing for the poor.
Yeah! Except change that last part to $1.37 million worth of cash advances, and a couple dozen cases of the 2007 Hot Wheels version of the 1966 Barris Batmobile.
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It would no longer be a guilt trip if you wanted to know how a Batmobile would look if it was dipped in lighter fluid and set on fire. We are fated to destroy what we love!

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eboles
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Here's a documentary I came across a while back:

Frontline - Secret History of the Credit Card.

Seems to be relevant to the thread. Might be worth a look.

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Greg B
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Eboles very relevant to this thread. It's some of what I've been talking about however it goes back further than just the 1980's. This was a long, long term attempt by banking groups to control the consumer and started in the early 1950's. It's very extensive and too much for a message board but the documentary you posted covers alot.

The banking groups have succeeded in blocking the Bills that would enforce them to become more responsible because the lawmakers who present the Bills don't have the public's awareness and energy to do so. Believe you me, if the American People didn't want credit card rates to go high the credit card companies would be out of business the next day. Why then are they allowed to do this? Because the same reason half the country voted for George Bush II twice.

Too many people are making too much dependable income off the banking industry and they're not going to rock the boat. 1 out of 2 of your neighbors is in the loansharking business whether they want to be or not.

The tactics of the old world organized crime groups have now become par for the course in how we do business and it's wrong.

Professor Warren who appeared on the documentary brought out the one point that may well doom these practices. Something I've brought up numerous times, it's your Constitutional birthrights. That's when the BS stops whenever any action, state or federal trounces on those birthrights. However, when people are getting money for trouncing, it takes longer to stop it.

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http://www.boonestoons.com
http://www.spacefool.com

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Fooksie
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Frank, thank you for that poignant, coffe spitting homage to the Batmobile!
[cheers]

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" Every move a picture! "
Buddy Love

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Charles
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This correction was published today. The poll that was flawed. The average credit card balance in America is not over $9000. It's only around $2000. Also...

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The majority of U.S. households have no credit card debt, according to the Federal Reserve's latest Survey of Consumer Finances. About a quarter have no credit cards, and an additional 30% or so pay off their balances every month.

Of the households that do owe money on credit cards, the median balance was $2,200 -- meaning half owe more, half less.

Only 8.3% of households owe $9,000 or more on their cards.

http://articles.moneycentral.msn.com/Banking/CreditCardSmarts/TheBigLieAboutCreditCardDebt .aspx

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