Credit Card Craziness: Shifting the responsibility back to us.

Credit Card Craziness: Shifting the responsibility back to us

I have been doing a lot of media interviews lately that focus on the massive credit problems facing consumers across North America. Recent studies show household debt levels at all time highs, and increasing. On a recent call-in show there were two comments that encapsulated the key issues for me.

“Blame the financial institutions. It’s their fault”:
While I don’t disagree that banks and credit card companies have contributed to the mess we’re in, I fundamentally believe that the solution lies in individual accountability, not institutional blame. As individuals, we simply aren’t living within our means. There are a lot of factors contributing to that, but at the root of it is individuals not taking personal accountability for getting a handle on their money. From that perspective the solution is painful, but clear: let get of your excuses about it being the banks’ fault and improve your cash flow so you can pay down debt.

“It costs $80 to take a family of four to the movies”:

No argument there. It is expensive. But who said that going to the movies was a fundamental human right? This listener identifies the problematic cultural shift that has taken us from “what can I afford” to “what do I deserve”.

For me, the solution to the credit card craziness boils down to two things:

1) individuals need to take accountability for themselves and

2) we need a cultural shift back from "what I deserve’ to ‘what I can afford’.