Bob Seger explains buying on credit

When I returned from a trip on Friday, Bob Seger’s Against the Wind was playing. I sat listening to the lyrics after I parked the truck. It seems funny, I started the truck on Saturday and “Against the Wind” was playing again. I looked at the dash where the CD player would be and realized I was in my old truck and didn’t have a CD player. Almost exactly 20 hours later, the same song was playing on the radio, parked in my driveway almost exactly where I left off the day before, an omen, a subject or the mood.

There were oh so many roads
I was living to run and running to live
Never worried about paying or even how much I owed
Moving eight miles a minute for months at a time
Breaking all of the rules that would bend
I began to find myself searching’
Searching for shelter again and again
Against the wind
A little something against the wind
I found myself seeking shelter against the wind.

The faster I go the more behind I get. The harder I work, the less I accomplish. I could quote every cliché in the world, but I also know that tripe that financial advisors are passing out is only more garbage. “A penny saved is a penny earned” was attributed to Benjamin Franklin. Who is going to take responsibility for the horse chestnut of a “Dollar saved is a dollar not spent”? Or explain how a purchase made with borrowed dollars that are never repaid counts as a purchase?

Granting credit is a privilege, not a right. Equal rights and distribution of credit may be a right, but recalling the “LOOK” people joke about getting from their spouses, I remember telling a male friend that he didn’t have the right to give me the “LOOK”. He needed to earn the right or pay for the privilege and so far he had done neither.

We bought a new riding lawn tractor Saturday. Naturally the salesman told us the old one just “wore out”. Our lawn is too large for the mower we were replacing. We needed to “upgrade” to a larger more expensive model. Our old one was less than 4 years old. I remember the Cub Cadet my father bought in the 1960’s. It was 7-1/2 HP and had maybe a 36 inch cut. We had a big yard then and the Cub Cadet lasted for at least 6 years. It had half the horsepower and narrower cut, no bells or whistles or electronics.

The new lawn tractor has a factory warranty for 120 hours or 2 years, whichever comes first. It has “built –in” clock. I can almost guarantee that something major will break at 121 hours or 2 years and 2 days. Programmed obsolescence. It is designed to fail. We bought it on credit. If I pay $200 a month on that account, I may actually have it paid off before it goes belly up and has to be replaced.

That is STUPID. In this situation, eventually the lawn tractor gets replaced. The difference is “If I buy using saved money, the purchase costs $1600.00. The merchant saves $20 to $40 in processing fees charged by the credit provider and I save 20% APR. Now if it takes me a year to pay off the credit card, I pay $320 interest.

That is one purchase. Multiply it about a million times and then tell yourself why the CEO’s of banks and financial companies are patting themselves on the back and telling investors that their pay is worth millions of dollars pay, benefits, and stock options.