Men have it tough these days. If you’re married, you have to deal with the traditional role of breadwinner, leaving you with a heavy financial burden. If you’re single, you’re expected to bankroll your dates and put the women you date on a pedestal. And if you have kids, I don’t need to tell you what a money pit children can be.
The point is, life is always expensive. And it can become very easy to ease that burden by using credit. At times, it’s a great tool, but there’s a slippery slope with credit, and it can become very easy to get in too deep. Worse, with so many hands to feed in addition to your own needs, it can be even harder to escape the credit trap.
Having credit card debt isn’t just an annoyance you face when you mail off your minimum payment each month. It can have a serious impact on your lifestyle and your future. Your ratio of credit used to your available credit makes up 30 percent of your FICO score. While that might not mean much right now, it’ll definitely be a factor the next time you try to buy a car or attempt to finance a big purchase. When banks see that you’re already borrowing to make ends meet, they’re not too keen on giving you more.
Furthermore, at some point debt stops becoming your problem and starts affecting other people. If you’ve given your significant other lavish gifts on the dime of Visa and MasterCard, that debt burdens both of you if you get married. Make no mistake, while she might be smiling after being treated so elegantly, she’ll be fuming when she sees that she has to help you pay off your bills.
How do you avoid this trap? Don’t set yourself up for failure. Live within your means, don’t spend more than you can afford, and by all means don’t use expensive gifts you can’t afford to make your spouse, girlfriend or child love you more. Instead, focus on building a solid financial future so that you can make the purchases that really matter, like a nice house for you and your family.