Another Pointless Credit Sob Story – I’ve Stopped Caring
Today’s paper – on the front page no less – carried yet another story about a local resident complaining about his credit situation. The headline: “Credit Crisis Hits Even the Diligent.” Based on the facts reported in the story, the headline should read: “Another fool of finance pays the price.”
Mt. Juliet resident Wayne Anderson believed he was doing everything right. He paid his credit card bills on time and sent in regular checks on a home equity loan in California. But this month, Bank of America increased the interest rate on one of his credit cards from 14 percent to 28 percent, saying the $20,000 he owed on various cards made him too high a risk. That jacked up his monthly payment by $100 per month. Citigroup had already closed his line of credit on his California home, cutting off his backup plans to borrow if he needed home repairs or living expenses.
What is it about Mr. Anderson’s money behavior that is supposed to evoke my sympathy? The $20k in credit card debt? The unpaid home equity loan? Or maybe the line of credit as a “backup plan” for “living expenses.”
Why does the press keep running stories like this? They never ask the guy what he bought for the $20k in credit card debt or with his HELOC money. They never ask him about whether he has car loans. They never question how credit can or should be a “back up plan” for “living expenses.” (That doesn’t even qualify as a “plan” of any kind. That’s what I call a “failure to plan.”) The story calls Mr. Anderson “diligent” because he is paying minimum payments on time. As far as I am concerned, it is way too late in the credit game for a broke person to be called “diligent.”
The hard truth is that Mr. ToughMoneyLove has long since stopped caring about credit problems created by people like Wayne Anderson. With the cooperation of the press and Congress, he wants to make his problems our problems. Our focus in response is on personal responsibility. Is anyone listening to us? I will say this: If the reporter had called me for comment, it would have been a lot better story, because I would have stirred things up a little bit. Maybe it’s time for a letter to the editor. Do you think they would print it if I called old Wayne Anderson a fool of finance?