Credit Where Credit’s Due
I’m admittedly a bit of a flake when it comes to finances, but all in all I have managed to keep my head above water. According to my realtor at the time of my last move “I have a responsible level of well-serviced debt”. That is a good thing, though I’m beginning to wonder at what point responsible debt becomes stupid, irresponsible excess. My point in disclosing the details of my banking situation is related to all the reports of new legislation for responsible lending practices and increased transparency from credit card companies in terms of overage fees, APRs and hidden costs. To be honest, when I come across these news items in the paper I typically gloss right over them — just like I do with all the fine print in my monthly statements. However, last night all this financial mumbo jumbo became as crystal clear as the Ketel One cocktail I choked on after opening my latest credit card statement.
The bill included a handy dandy little chart right on top. This chart clearly and succinctly outlined two estimated payment plans – one based on making the minimum payment each month and the other was based on payments of merely $20 more than the minimum payment. If I was to make just the minimum payment it would take me 21 years to pay off the debt and it would cost me roughly three times what I owed!! However, by simply paying an additional $20 a month, the debt would be eliminated in 3 years and, though I would end up paying more than I owed, the difference was far less than the two decade payment plan. Disclaimer in case my aunt is reading this: rest assured — I never make only the minimum payment and try to pay big chunks at a time, so that’s not my concern. However, I was floored by the dramatic difference a mere $20 can make in one’s personal finances.
Kudos to the organizations responsible for pushing through the legislation requiring the big banking asses to print these details in a plain and easy to understand way. Believe you me, I will be setting aside an extra 20 bucks from now on.
Posted by Sam