taps Kalhoun on shoulder to let him know that someone else wants to use the soapbox
Here’s my opinion, which I’m aware is ragingly un-American and for fuddy-duddies (I’m 31, btw) and would cause the economy to collapse if everybody did it.
I think debt is bad (regardless of interest rate or anything else) unless there is a very good reason for it. That means that if you can, you shouldn’t get into it, and if you do, you should get out as soon as reasonably possible.
Very good reasons for it include housing (it’s unavoidable if you want to own a house in any place I’d want to live in), education, cars, and things like furniture and pots and pans that you need for home or clothes that you need for work. Even so, if it were possible to avoid going into debt for those things, it’s better to avoid it.
Education, housing, and major home appliances are different from other things on that list- I think it’s worthwhile to get a more expensive house or education if it’s of better quality even if you do have to go into debt, but I wouldn’t say that about cars or anything else, as long as the cheaper version is functional and reliable. (Of course, I’m biased on the car thing- my desire for a newer shinier car won’t overcome my fear of negotiating with car salespeople, at least not on the six-year timescale that I had my old car)
Things which are not very good reasons include pretty much anything bought with a credit card, unless you’re temporarily unemployed and that’s your only choice. They especially include weddings, vacations, and other temporary things. They also include stuff that isn’t absolutely necessary like vacation homes and toys.
I pay my credit cards in full every month (as does Mr. Neville- well, he mostly uses one of mine). In the few periods of my life when that wasn’t true, I was very uneasy until it was true again. I don’t even know what the interest rate is on my credit cards, because I don’t care- I don’t carry a balance, and I don’t get cash advances (that’s what ATM cards are for).