Financial Wellness: Get rid of your credit cards?

Does going credit card free create more problems than it solves?

A popular media financial advisor recommends destroying all your credit cards and living a life completely devoid of credit. The high interest rates on credit cards, he argues, pull money away from building wealth. Yet that narrow argument misses the bigger financial picture. The main argument against credit is that it creates the opportunity to overspend and thus incur high interest rates when you can’t pay the balance off immediately. However, this argument is akin to saying that you shouldn’t own a car because it opens up the opportunity to drive recklessly. A credit card used safely as part of a sound financial plan can be a tool to open up numerous possibilities for your financial future. If you forego using a credit card you could:

Have a much harder time getting a car, house or personal loan in future. Lenders generally want to see that you have good credit before agreeing to give you a large sum of money. Most credit scoring models factor positively that you have wisely used a revolving account like a credit card. If you don’t have a history of using a credit card judiciously (with on-time payments and low balances), you may have to pay a higher interest rate because your score wasn’t as high. In the final analysis, not having a credit card could end up costing you thousands of dollars in higher interest payments. The positive benefits to your credit standing can also make it easier to rent an apartment or land a job.

Not have access to funds in an emergency. The old saying tells us that the only guarantees in life are death and taxes. This ignores unexpected large expenses, though, which are pretty sure bets too. Your best bet to deal with these situations is to have an emergency savings account established. However, failing that, having a credit card lets you easily pay for things like sudden car repairs or booking transportation quickly to help a loved one in need. Without a credit card, you could be stuck waiting much longer to get access to the funds you need, or be forced to take out a loan with less favorable terms.

Cost yourself additional money. Although they aren’t often thought of in this way, when used wisely credit cards can actually be a way to put more money into your account. Many credit cards offer rewards to earn cash back on your purchases. If you make a credit card transaction and don’t receive the goods or services that were promised, your credit card company may just be able to step in on your behalf and use their leverage to make sure you get your money back or are otherwise given a satisfactory outcome. Finally, many online retailers that offer deeply discounted merchandise you need in your day-to-day life only accept payment via credit card. If you can’t snatch up the bargains because you don’t have a credit card, that deal just evaporated.

No one knows your financial habits and preferences better than you. When making the decision on whether or not to use a credit card, make sure you are aware of all the potential benefits and drawbacks of each option. That way you can choose the path that best puts you on the course to ultimate financial success.

Your financial wellness is our number one priority; the Point West team is standing by to help you answer these and many more questions. Call or visit us today for more information. As a member, you have access to some great, FREE financial wellness tools and resources as well. Visit today!

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