Posted by: Dahni | February 16, 2008

The Mask

mask.jpg At one time in all of our lives, we have mostly worn some type of a mask. Some are still wearing one or more masks and perhaps everyday. Some could even change their mask many times during the course of a single day. Some of these masks are physical and some are otherwise. All of them pretty much have the same purpose. According to the unabridged dictionary of the English language, the word mask is a noun and the very first definition is:

“a covering for all or part of the face, worn to conceal one’s identity.”

The origin of the word was between 1525-1535 as the middle French (MF) word  masque, perh. directly  Italian mascheramask, disguise < pre-Latin *maskara, an extended form of *mask-, prob. with orig. sense “black” (blackening the face being a simple form of disguise); another development of the same base is early Middle Latin (ML) masca witch, ghost. Now anyone who uses mascara might not appreciate the word origin, but that’s the way it is.

With all that above, I just want to write about one particular type of mask. It is a mask that I am all too familiar with. Mine is personal and it is custom-fit to my face. It is the mask of credit.

If you do a search on-line using the word ‘credit,’ many things will perhaps astound and alarm you. You will discover other related words like ‘usury,’ ‘money changers/lenders,’ and even ‘loan sharks.’ In my lifetime a loan shark was often associated with bone breakers (they broke your leg or some other body part). Yes you were in big trouble if you failed to pay them and sometimes if you did not pay on time. Probably the average interest a loan shark required was around 25%. Isn’t that interesting because today, banks and credit cards companies charge around the same amount and it’s usual, acceptable, customary and totally legal.

It makes me wonder, do these entities really care about you and I? Average interest on savings they pay out is around 5-6%. This of course means their profit is still 300-400% after they have paid us our measly pennies. On top of this, banks can only make loans according to the amount of money it has on deposit. They get these deposits from the average folks like you and I. So to attract our deposits they often offer some FREE gift or even FREE checking. There is no such thing as FREE. Somebody pays for it. The FREE offers come with conditions. It could be free checking IF you have a savings account, direct deposit, or a certain amount of money maintained in your account regularly, but most of the time you still have to buy your checks. Where was the FREE part of FREE checking exactly?

Where do all the rich people keep their money? Generally speaking, they only have around 10% which is ever considered to be liquid capital or cash. Now their banking services are usually FREE, because the average person is paying for it. The bank loves their large deposits because it can make loans on it. Still they know that these depositors are smart and may find a better deal someplace else so the bank bends over backwards to keep them happy. These customers get letters of credit and just plain credit often only with a signature. It could and does and can happen in a matter of minutes while you and I may still be waiting for hours, days, and weeks for a loan. Generally speaking, the wealthy are not under, or over extended in their credit. They use credit, credit does not use them.

What about the rest of us or let’s just say me since you have probably never been in this situation right? J

Anyway, there are in my opinion, only two reasons for credit to EVER be used. One is for security/convenience (you don’t want to walk around with a lot of cash, you are not at home to pull the cash out of the jar or from under the mattress). J

The other reason is for emergency purposes. OK, maybe your home loan, but get it paid off as quickly as possible. What the wealthy do is pay off these credit card purchases regularly. They are not paying interest, but if possible, they are being paid to use this credit.

Credit to me and everyone other than the wealthy is a promise to pay. It is a legal and binding agreement between the financing entity and the individual. What has happened is that instead of buying when we have the money, when in a more secure environment and paying these off on a regular basis without having to pay interest, it has often just become an extension of our lifestyles. Every day becomes in fact, some type of emergency. There is something we just have to have and cannot live without, right NOW! Our promise to pay has become our hope that we have the money to pay for it in the future or at least enough to cover the minimum payment due.

That minimum payment is mostly the minimum amount the financier needs every month to keep making a lot of profit. We are mostly just paying interest.

Now I am nearly embarrassed to admit this, but I have actually used credit cards to buy cigarettes and food from the grocery store. How insane is that? I mean paying interest in the future for what I burnt up or ate in the past! This should have been against the law and I should have served time for committing such a crime or at least spent some time at the sooky asylum or some other local nut hut for those off their rocker.

So we get smart and we think to use another card to pay off the other card. Why in fact, this new card allows us to transfer the one amount for maybe a year without charging us interest. Some call this borrowing from Peter to pay Paul.

OK so we really get serious and decide to tackle this head on. Meanwhile one company gets a write off on their taxes because we defaulted on the loan, so they will be OK. Another company comes in and buys out that loan. Now remember, the original creditor already got the benefit of 100% bad debt tax write off. Now they are making money again. The new company comes after us with what they bought for  pennies on the dollar. They triy to make a deal with us to pay it off in one lump sum for say, half of what the original amount was. Whatever we pay is a great deal for them, but if we just accept the deal and don’t pay off the entire original amount plus interest, it shows up BAD on our credit report.

OK so how about working with a FREE credit service. Remember, there is nothing FREE.

They contact the creditors on your behalf. Then they make a deal which in essence screws the credit card company, pays them (the credit repair service), handsomely, and reduces our financial stress at least temporarily. If the full amount is never paid in full it stays on our credit report as slow pay or no pay.

We could just go ahead and declare bankruptcy. Now there’s an idea, not a great one or even a good one, but it is an idea. Unfortunately it is way too common a practice in this country. We succumb to what appears to be an easy way out and the creditors, well as it is said, some money is better than no money. Of course the legal profession makes good money off the plight of us poor debtors.

Now how did this ever happen in the first place and what does it have to do with wearing a mask? Remember, a mask is to basically hide ones identity. Well with my credit mask I must have appeared to myself and to others that I had the money. I must have appeared as if I am not impatient and I must have especially appeared to be living within my means. Again, a mask hides the true identity. So the first thing to do is to realize I am wearing one. The next is to just take it off. Then I can become the best of who and what I am. I can live within my means. I can either increase my income or reduce my expenses. Better still, why not both!

It all begins with taking off this filthy mask of bondage and potentially perpetual enslavement. Then I can just say, “Hi my name is Dahni and I’m a recovering credit-aholic!”

 Just Imagine,

Dahni


Responses

  1. […] Mask Posted in February 16th, 2008 by admin in Uncategorized Dahni – Just Imagine placed an interesting blog post on The […]


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