When the first credit card was used in the 1950s, no one could have imagined how the landscape of personal finance in America would change over the next 62 years. But slowly, debt have become what some Americans label as a “way of life.”
In 1970, only 15% of Americans had a credit card. In 1978, you had to be a millionaire, or pretty close, to get an American Express Gold Card. But sometime in the 1980s, credit card companies figured out how lucrative marketing debt at 18–32% interest could be. Profits soared and the perception of debt as a way of life began.
Today, debt is the most aggressively marketed product in the history of the America and the world.
And now, is perceived as a “way of life,” “normal,” and just part of the process of becoming “successful.”
But if you do normal stuff, you will get normal results. In reality, “normal” is that 70% of Americans live paycheck to paycheck. Normal is that foreclosures were at an all-time high when the market crashed in 08. Normal is that there were more than 1.5 million bankruptcies in 2010.
Normal is that the number-one cause of divorce in America is money fights and money problems. Normal is that people are stressed out, freaked out and under productive at work because all they can think about is MasterCard, who calls them 20 times a day.
Normal is mediocre, average, bland. You don’t want to be normal, do you?
So how do you become remarkable, different, and successful?
Well from my own personal life, I do things like building an emergency fund of three to six months of expenses, start investing in your kids’ college fund not there yet), saving for retirement, and even saving for our house. Everyone says those are great ideas, but we actually put these ideas into practice. And we know that practice makes perfect.
Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results is the definition of insanity. You’re not insane, are you? Of course not. So stop the insanity and stop believing the myth that debt is a way of life.