2005-06-29

Which is bigger?

Which is bigger: the percentage of people in the U.S. who say that they live paycheck-to-paycheck or the percentage of people in Mexico who say that they live paycheck-to-paycheck?

The percentage of Americans is 28%, while the percentage of Mexicans is 7%. Quite striking considering the per capita GDP of the U.S. is about 25 times as big as Mexico's.

What can account for this? Maybe for Americans it is worth living paycheck-to-paycheck as long as they can consume massive amounts of goods and services. Maybe we have a serious "keeping up with the Joneses" issue. Maybe we're more susceptible (gullible) to savvy advertising. Or maybe we have too much available credit and too little self-restraint.

I hope to be posting a few words on credit soon: Some thoughts about how it can be a really good thing and a really bad thing, our "success story" of how we carried huge credit card debt for years without paying any interest, and more. Look for it some time before August (give me a break, I'm in summer school!)

2 comments:

Carissa said...

I'm anxious to hear your thoughts on the credit issue--some of our friends are currently drowning in their various credit card accounts. Among other complicating factors, the "Mrs." of this couple realized (way too late) that the credit card company had been charging her for a "membership" to something called Excellence Gold (maybe it wasn't "Excellence Gold", but it was like that). Anyway, they told her if she wanted the charges stopped, she'd have to contact the company directly. Turns out, it's just a third-party who the credit card company creates to charge customers fees, which they "authorize" by failing to read fine print on some innocuous mailer. They told her she had "joined" and couldn't stop the charges, the credit card said they couldn't refuse the charge when it came to them! The scam was on the internet, and my savvy husband found it, told her to say she wanted a full refund, and for some reason those were the magic words. They say (for what it's worth) that they'll be sending her almost $300 in refund. We'll see.
It's a conspiracy, it's a scam, and I hope you figure out how we can stop this ride credit card companies have taken us on!

Anonymous said...

I'm debating about the value of credit card use to accumulate airline miles. It's a $75 yearly fee, plus I tend to justify purchases by the fact that I'll get airline miles and end up having to pay a finance charge when the amount gets out of hand. Any thoughts?

Bobbi