Bernie Block: Credit Worthiness

"You're pre-approved!" said another solicitation from a credit-card company.

"$10,000 available credit line!"

"Low APR (Annual Percentage Rate)...only 2.9% on balance transfers!"

Whew. Another credit-card solicitation! Over the years I've had many.

No wonder. According to a recent story I read in a famous magazine, there were over six billion credit-card solicitations a year. Families now carry a credit balance on the average over $10,000. A consumer who owes $5,000 at a 16% interest minimum usually pays 2% each month towards their bills; this will take 36 years to pay off, and will be rewarding credit-card companies a lot of money in interest over that time. Now I can understand why there are billions of solicitations to tempt us.

I have applied for a few, especially when I could get a card on a NO FEE basis, and at the same time receive back a percentage, usually a minimum of 1% on my purchases; sometimes credit-card companies give higher interest rates on special offers on certain items or services, or airline miles, or points to buy products sponsored by major companies, like GM, Delta Airlines, etc. I really like the cash-back ones the's like saving money in a bank and forgetting it was there.

Eventually I converted all my credit-cards to just the NO FEE-CASH BACK types.

I can remember living off credit cards when I was unemployed for a while. It kept the wolf away from the door. I built up an "I-owe-you-credit-card-company" a large balance that took me years to pay off after I went back to work.

But it sure helped my 'credit-worthiness!'

I truthfully can say that without those credit cards I would have been in big trouble, financially. But thank goodness I had a good credit payoff background prior to that period of my life.

Over the past few years, I used my credit card cash-withdraw benefit to such an extent that if I took out $100 from any I had it would last me for at least three months.

My credit history is excellent now since I continue to receive credit-card solicitations by the dozen, every week. I then decided I would use my "old buddy"...Mr. Credit raise money for my retirement. I kept opening new accounts since I was addicted to what they offered by giving me bonuses to start using them.

That's how I started building my retirement account via cash available to withdraw for a few years.

One day my daughter who worked with me on my financial accounts said to me, "Daddy, you can't keep getting more new credit cards, you'll get confused and get into trouble and ruin your good credit background." 

"Yes," I replied, "I couldn't resist the goodies they gave me to help build my retirement account. I guess I'll have to cancel the hundreds I have and just keep the two ones with the greatest cash-back percentage."

I did that over the next few months, and as a result still kept my credit-worthiness stayed where it was the same and did not open any new account that came in the mail. As for my retirement savings,  I heard about a VA pension plan that was available to World War IIand Korean vets called "Aid & Attendance" which would help me have enough income along with my Social Security to pay for a contemplated move to an Assisted Living Facility for the rest of my life.

So in the end, I kept my credit worthiness safely tucked away for the future and if I even run out of money.



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Bernie is a real person who resides in one of our Brookdale communities. The views and opinions expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Brookdale Senior Living.


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