Credit card debt is like crack for the American consumer. A cheap alternative to pure spending cocaine but enough to keep you on the hamster wheel of consumption. I recently discussed how credit card debt while remaining subdued since the Great Recession suddenly made a 180 degree turn. Americans are spending money they don’t have on shiny plastic. Total outstanding credit card debt recently surged beyond the $900 billion mark. That is a lot of consuming. And with the average nationwide interest rate of 14% that means spending hamsters are probably dropping tens of billions on interest costs alone. I found it interesting that I got a few e-mails proselytizing how great credit cards were after my last piece. My reaction: So you enjoy locking in future earnings for money you don’t have today? Keep in mind people pray to the hedge fund gods for a 7% annual return. Getting a 14% return is like finding El Dorado had a sister name AmEx. It is amazing to get a 14% return (and with some cards, you are getting close to usury). Equifax released credit card data on 25 US metro areas and the results are startling.
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