Volume 94, Issue 99

Wednesday, March 28, 2000


Attack of the parking attendants!

There's trouble a brewin' in the hills

Comic makes light of left-wing values

Stickin' it to the feminists

Look out campus blues, it's sticker time

Health? I laugh at 'health' and death

Credit cards just a stepping stone to mortgages and car payments

Maraj's achy breaky heart

Credit cards just a stepping stone to mortgages and car payments

Tola Afolabi
C&C editor

I've been advised to get a credit card and start building my credit rating now. That way, my entry into the Real World, interestingly marked by the purchase of a house, will be easier when I impress prospective lenders with my borrowing abilities.

But what better way to prove my responsibility than by not getting a credit card? No credit is worse than bad credit, I was told. Ah ha – therein lies the rub. Since when did society start punishing you for actually attempting not to fall into the "debt trap?"

The student loan, something with which I'm unfortunately acquainted, is the first introduction to the "debt-trap." You come out of high school with your measly earnings and soon acquire a $40,000 debt. But not to worry, if you can prove to the folks at financial aid that you've maxed out your credit card and any other financial source, they may just help lighten the load with a bursary and a cushy Work Study position.

Remember though, it's more than proving you're a hopelessly poor student – they have to make sure you are hopelessly in debt too. Who cares about the ambitious student who spent his whole summer toiling in the sun for minimum wage to scrounge some pennies together in an attempt to remain debt free? So he's short $40? Too bad – he was foolish for attempting to "beat the system."

Mortgages and car loans are the next step. Unless you're filthy rich, where are you going to come up with the $150,000 for a house or $25,000 for a car?

Instead, you scrounge together the relatively minuscule down payment and are told you own a property which is both the collateral and the reason for the loan. But wait, before you are allowed this false sense of security, you have to prove you will keep up with the payments which will eventually earn you the right to call the place "debt free."

There is, you see, a very big difference between "owning something" and having something "debt free." The former, anybody can do, the latter takes about 10 or 25 years of diligence, depending on your amortization schedule.

I've concluded that trying to beat this system is impossible. My advice? Max out the cards, take out the loans, and live it up. If it's proof of your ability to borrow they want, make sure you're guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

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