Building Credit

I often hear that the only way to get by in this country is by having credit. My dad says that I should get a credit card so that I can “build credit” by making certain expenses with that card. He told me that when he first came to the United States from Panama, he lived a cash only lifestyle. Things changed when one of the store owners/clerks asked why he did this. “I don’t see anything wrong with paying with money if I have saved enough of it,” he told the man. “Well what about building credit?” The clerk replied. The man reasoned that it is important to build credit, and that there is a safe way of doing so without going crazy with spending and running into debt. My dad took this advice.

My dad has a good head on his shoulders. After following this plan he has never fell into significant debt, or had to file for bankruptcy. Still, I believe he was taken advantage of by this man, who obviously would make a financial gain by encouraging a patron of his store to make transactions with a credit card. After recounting this story, my dad said that I could use a credit card to buy items that are too expensive to pay cash, like furniture. He made the point that there are many things I cannot accomplish without credit such as renting an apartment or car. A real case scenario confirmed this. When I went to Best Buy to get my first cell phone, I wasn’t able to buy a cell phone plan without a credit card. Since I did not have one, and my dad doesn’t think it’s wise to have a credit card and no job, we looked for a loophole. The only other option was to pay a large deposit of money that I did not have. My dad had just started a saving account for me, and we knew we wouldn’t touch that unless it was necessary. I settled for a crappy At&t gophone, complete with dropped calls and it had to get repaired once. The other gophones were probably of the same quality.

I understand the rationale behind the credit system. Businesses use it as a way to insure that their patrons are capable of paying for their products, making rent payments on time, and being a responsible consumer. In reality, it tempts people to live out of their means and always strive for an ever-escaping tomorrow. As someone who wants to get away from that, the credit system is just another hindrance to a less stressful lifestyle. It’s an entrapment when businesses leave the inferior products for those who don’t use credit, or not allow people to rent without credit. Rather than live an alternative to this system, not having credit just kicks me out instead.

My dad has really helped me stay conscious of credit, but there are parts of his plan I don’t agree with. He said I could build credit by buying things like tv’s or stereos (something he did) on credit, and by having at least one credit card once I have a job. Once I have that credit card, merely holding on to it for emergencies is not enough. To build credit I would have to spend with it. I do not want this at all. I do not plan on buying cable, a tv, a tablet, a new phone every year, or a car. I’m looking to head the opposite direction, which by today’s standards is seen as choosing poverty. Living within your means and not looking to raise your standard of living is social suicide. The whole idea of living here is to go higher and higher and higher, get more, and make more to get more and go higher. Even at the top you need to go on. The plane “never” stalls and drops back down – never even considers landing either.

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Posted on August 8, 2011, in Bureaucracy and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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