San Diego, CA.
"When it comes to saving money, most people will simply
stop at nothing." For married couples, the new vow that
replaces"until death do us part" is "until DEBT do us
part". For the credit card spenders with huge balancesthe
way out is either bankruptcy or trading out their home
equity to pay off their credit card debts. These three
examples reflect the attitudes held by many American
consumers, and especially the younger generations.
The baby boomers are slowly learning that it is their
everyday spending decisions, especially the credit based
ones, that are negatively affecting their finances as they
approach retirement, more so than any investment decision
they ever made, if they even invested for retirement.
Jim Garnett, a member of the ICFE's Board of Educational
Advisors and the Education Coordinator for Consumer Credit
of America, a/k/a Consumer Credit of Des Moines has put
together some attitudes that lead to financial ruin.
"There are four attitudes that are very common today. When
they merge in one person, financial ruin is not far
behind! Here are the four attitudes," says Jim
1. " I WILL TAKE ALL I CAN GET." The average consumer
today has access to four times the amount of credit he did
just ten short years ago. At the same time, he has less
ability to repay it!. This "take all I can get" attitude
coupled with this easy access to credit, leads us to
borrow more than we need and have higher credit limits
than we should. The result is that we always seem to find
a way to spend up to our credit limit.
2. "IF I CAN GET IT, I CAN AFFORD IT." This attitude
confuses ability and access. We perceive that we can
afford whatever we have access to buy. But stop and think,
ability implies wealth while access implies debt. Credit
affords access to buy, far beyond our ability to buy. I
recall the client who was spending 40% of her take home
pay on her car payment. When asked how she determined she
could afford this car, she replied that the dealer let her
payments over seven years. She then had access to buy the
car, but she still could not AFFORD the car! Because
access does not determine ability. Her $24,000 Blazer cost
her nearly $48,000!
3. 'IF I CAN GET IT, IT IS A NEED NOT A WANT." To
illustrate how this thinking works, just imagine your boss
gave you a $1000 bonus tomorrow. You would immediately
begin to construct a list of things you need to buy with
this $1000. Funny, isn't it, that five minutes before you
were told about the bonus money, those needs were just
wants. Bewared of this attitude! Once we have access to
get something, we usually conclude it is a need, not a
4. 'WHOEVER OFFERS ME CREDIT MUST KNOW I CAN REPAY IT." We
put our confidence in the person we are borrowing from
because we think they are knowledgeable in the world of
finance. We trust them to tell us what we can afford. But
if their expertise were accurate, we would not see the
bankruptcy courts filled with applicants. We must begin to
assume responsibility for deciding what we can afford; not
leave it to someone else to tell us. We are the ones who
will be repaying it, not the person who lends it to us.
If you have a question for Ask Mr. G, please email it to:
For more info contac:
Paul S. Richard
Institute of Consumer Financial Education
PO Box 34070
San Diego, CA 92163
Email Reply: firstname.lastname@example.org
About the ICFE:
The Institute of Consumer Financial Education (ICFE) was founded in 1982 by the late Loren Dunton (creator of the Certified Financial Planner (CFP) designation). The ICFE is dedicated to helping consumers of all ages to improve their spending, increase savings and use credit more wisely.
The ICFE is an award winning, nonprofit, consumer education organization that has helped millions of people through its education programs and Resources. It publishes the Do-It-Yourself Credit File correction Guide, which is updated annually. The ICFE has distributed over one million Credit/Debit Card Warning Labels and Credit/Debit Card Sleeves world wide.
The ICFE became an official partner with the Department of Defense/Financial Readiness Campaign in June of 2004.The ICFE was an active partner in the California Student Debt Resource Awareness Project (CASDRAP) which resulted in a new web site: (studentdebthelp.org). CASDRAP disbanded in 2010, shortly after the web site project was completed. In 2011 the ICFE assumed the single sponsorship of the (studentdebthelp.org) web site and is now responsible for its content and operation.
The ICFE is also an on-line help for consumers who spend too much. ICFE's spending help was featured in PARADE Magazine in the Intelligence Report section. The money helps and tips are from the ICFE's Money Instruction Book, our course in personal finance.
Visit the ICFE's other web sites at: www.financial-education-icfe.org and studentdebthelp.org. Both sites helps consumers and students with mending spending, learning about the proper use of credit, budget and expense guidelines, how to set up and implement a spending-plan and also how to access financial education courses and how to teach children about money. Other ICFE services include: Ask Mr. G, a free eNews, and an online resource center for students, parents and educators, plus financial education learning tools and a book store.
About the ICFE:
The Institute of Consumer Financial Education (ICFE), founded in 1982 by the
late Loren Dunton (creator of the 'certified financial planner' (CFP)
designation) and it is dedicated to helping consumers of all ages to improve
their spending, increase savings and use credit more wisely. The ICFE trains and
certifies Personal Finance Instructors for its own curriculum. It also trains
and certifies Credit Report Reviewers and Identity Theft Prevention Specialists.
The ICFE is an award winning, nonprofit, consumer education organization that
has helped millions of people through its education programs and Resources. It
publishes the Do-It-Yourself Credit File correction Guide, now in its 16th
printing and has distributed over one million 'Credit/Debit Card Warning Labels'
and 'Credit/Debit Card Sleeves' world wide.
The ICFE became an official partner with the Department of Defense/Financial
Readiness Campaign in June of 2004.
The ICFE is also a partner in the national Jump$tart Coalition for Financial
Literacy and the California Jump$tart chapter. The ICFE staff is also active
with San Diego Saves, an offshoot of America Saves, and the California Student
Debt Resource Awareness Project (CASDRAP) (studentdebthelp.org).
The ICFE's on-line help for consumers who spend too much was featured in PARADE
Magazine in the Intelligence Report section. The money helps and tips are from
'The Money Instruction Book,' a course in personal finance, positioned to become
among the premier programs in the new bankruptcy and debtor education
The ICFE Web site at:
www.financial-education-icfe.org helps consumers with mending spending, learning about
the proper use of credit, budget and expense guidelines, how to set up and
implement a spending-plan and also how to access financial education courses and
videos and how to teach children about money. Other ICFE services include a free
eNews, and an online resource center of financial education learning
tools, including videos, books, software and personal finance courses.