I've noticed in the minority communities (not all, just those that i've observed), adults were not taught the importance, and value of money, as children or young adults. I didn't say the love of money--but the fiscal responsibility that comes with having and KEEPING money. Many of us weren't taught to pay our bills on time, live on a budget, save for a rainy day. Many of us had no prior knowledge of credit (credit scores, credit ratings, credit bureaus etc) until we were told, we had "bad credit." It is NEVER too late to learn. At least once I week, I will post financial advice that I believe will prove to be useful and advantageous in our lives. This first post, hit homes for many minorities. Three words: IT'S A SET-UP, IT'S A TRAP, IT'S A RIP-OFF, IT'S A SCAM, JUST SAY NO.
Money Sense: Beware Payday Loans The cost outweighs the benefit
By Alfred Edmond, Jr.,Black Enterprise Editor-in-Chief
One of the most important aspects of becoming a successful wealth-builder is learning to recognize and avoid what I call poverty traps: behaviors and ways of thinking that sabotage our ability to increase our net worth and build wealth. The poverty trap I'm talking about today is payday loans, which are a costly way people address their cash flow problems or unexpected, unplanned expenses. Many turn to these loans because they are desperate or don't know any better.
We've all seen or heard ads promoting payday loans on billboards, on the radio and television, on the internet, and even in the mail: "Get Cash Until Payday–Fast!" The problem is that this is an unreasonably expensive source of credit, which is why people who habitually use these loans (also known as cash advance loans, check advance loans, post-dated check loans or deferred-deposit check loans) are usually perpetually short of cash, have weak credit scores, earn relatively low incomes and/or have adopted a lifestyle that requires them to spend more than they make.
Here's how it works: You write a personal check payable to the lender for the amount you want to borrow, plus a fee. The lender gives you cash in the amount of the check, minus the fee, which can be a percentage of the check amount or a charge for every $50 or $100 borrowed. The idea is that you will cover the check on your next payday. However, if you decide to extend or "roll-over" the loan, you pay additional fees for each extension–the longer you take to pay back the loan, the more it costs.
So what makes this a poverty trap? Let's say you write a personal check for $115 to borrow $100 for up to 14 days. The payday lender agrees to hold the check until your next payday, when you will redeem the check by paying $115 in cash. The cost of this loan is $15–a whopping 391 percent annual percentage rate (APR)! (And I think a credit card with an APR more than 14 percent is too expensive.) Roll-over the loan three times, and you've just paid $60 to borrow $100. It sounds crazy, but there are people engaging in this form of "money management" on a regular basis.
- Before falling into the poverty trap of payday lending, consider the following alternatives suggested by the Federal Trade Commission:
When shopping for credit or a loan, ask for the APR. Under the Truth in Lending Act, lenders must disclose this information, along with the finance charge, in writing. If you look for the option with the lowest APR, you'll find borrowing from a credit union, your employer or family or friends until payday will always be a better deal.
Ask your creditors for more time to pay your bills. Even if they charge a late fee or raise your interest rate, it will probably still be cheaper than a payday loan, and definitely cheaper if roll-over fees are added.
If you must use the services of a payday lender, never borrow more than you can afford to repay with your very next pay check, and still be able to cover your necessary living expenses. Constantly extending payday loans creates an almost addictive cycle of fees that can and will rapidly consume your income faster than you can earn it. It's virtually impossible and extremely costly to catch up.
To learn and commit to the 10 principles of the Declaration of Financial Empowerment so that you can learn to avoid this and other poverty traps, download your free Black Enterprise Wealth Building Kit.Alfred Edmond, Jr.'s column on Money Sense appears weekly at blackenterprise.com as well as on the Doug Banks Morning Show every Wednesday.
Family, it's time to break the cycle. We have parents who are messing up their children's credit, and the kids aren't old enough to have utilities in their name!! Stop the madness. The hardest obstacle to overcome is the attaining your credit report. Most of the time the credit report isn't as bad as you think. And if it is- handle your business, pick up the phone act like you're grown (since you're always saying "I'm a grown woman/man"--act like it) and get your affairs in order! If you're embarrassed to car shop, house shop etc because you know your SSN will be asked for-handle your business. If your heart palpitates when the subject of credit comes up-handle your business. If you want to be the one to have good credit, and interest rates to match-HANDLE YOUR BUSINESS! Now's a good time-wouldn't you agree?? Just begin paying your debts-one collector at a time.
In the U.S.A. (most states) you are entitled to an annual credit report free! Once you get your credit report it is available for viewing (or printing) for 30 days. After 30 days, you will have to pay. Visit the Annual Credit Report website: https://www.annualcreditreport.com/cra/index.jsp and if you don't have access to a computer, don't fret- you can call the toll-free number at 1-877-322-8228.
Village- it's time we leave our children wills-NOT BILLS!
You Better Recognize!!
"If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him." James 1:5 (KJV)