Yesterday afternoon my fiance and I watched the documentary "Maxed Out." I had heard of it from some other personal finance blogs so I decided finally to put it on our NetFlix list and check it out. I had high hopes for this documentary. I was sadly disappointed.
I feel the documentary was poorly made. They made a few good points but failed to bring home the reality. They fail to mention how Americans are charging their futures away. One point they make often is that credit card companies are bad companies. They want the people who will not pay off their balances, only paying the minimums and paying late all the time so they can rack up more and more fees against these customers. This is where they make all their money. But are the credit card companies the only ones to blame? What about the American consumers who have to have everything they want right now? Forget that they can't afford it! They have the credit to buy it and can pay it off over the next 10 years!
There were some sad stories of suicides. I don't want to sound unsympathetic but were these people not smart enough to say no to purchasing more consumer goods? I feel for the people who work full time and have more then one job but still can't pay their basic bills for the necessary things in life. Food, clothing, shelter. These are the needs. Everything else is a want and I feel most of these people that are getting in trouble are getting in trouble because of their wants.
In the end, my fiance and I always pay off our credit cards. We live with a strict budget that we do not allow ourselves to go over. We are saving for our future. We are paying ourselves first. We are also saving to pay off our own wedding. None of this wedding will cause us to have more debt then the debt we already have. Could we get caught in the consumerism trap and end up completely in debt where we can't afford our monthly bills? Yes but we will not allow that to happen. I have wanted that flat screen 52" LCD tv for over a year now. Still haven't gotten it and with the wedding coming up it is looking like something that we won't have for a couple more years.
Take responsibility for your own actions because the banks and credit card companies aren't there to look after you! They are there to make money and they will cheat you to do it.