Get Out of Debt Guy

I've Got a Low Income But Keep Getting Credit and Wonder How to Best Use It

Posted August 7

Question

I have an unusual situation, I guess. I have relatively low income due to some health issues, but my brain works. Despite my low income, credit card companies and banks seem to be dying to loan me money. I was even able to get a mortgage and pay it off. Now I have credit cards with up to $15,000 credit limit. I always hear about people who can't get credit. That's not me. I am very responsible, but I wish I could figure out how to take advantage of all this credit available to me. Unfortunately, I can't think of anything smart. I considered investing in education, but found online classes for free. I have a (very) small business going, but it does not require any investment... just my brain. And if I ever need anything, I save for it.

Is there anything I can do to use profitably all this credit that is available to me? I'm very cautious and would not do anything risky like trying to trade stocks. I'm also not very mobile.

I'm a subscriber to your email newsletter and greatly appreciate your work.

Thank you.

Yana

Answer

Dear Yana,

The reason credit is available to you is because creditors have identified you as someone they can make money from. Low income people are often targeted because lenders view this group as subprime or higher risk and charge them a much higher interest rate on money borrowed when they fall for the bait.

I realize it makes you feel good that lenders are willing to extend you credit like that but it is not a personal reflection about you or how you manage money. It's all about trying to dangle the carrot out there far enough that people will want to take a bite of it.

Sounds to me like you've got a good head on your shoulders and not falling for the debt trap. Rather than be concerned I think you should commend yourself.

The access to credit is a great tool if you need to pay for something now and have or will have the money to payoff the balance in a month or two. Sometimes unexpected financial issues arise when we least expect them to.

The other reason to use and payoff credit each month is to avoid the debit card trap. A credit card is a much safer financial tool to use than a debit card. There is nothing that prevents you from paying your credit card bill in full every month and get the additional consumer protections of not letting people reach into your bank account with a debit card.

Actually I think you discovered the best smart thing to do with this easy credit and that's to contemplate how you would use it. Now that's brilliant.

So the best way to use the credit at hand would be to use the lowest interest rate credit card a bit, pay it off each month, and let it help you build better credit. Using the card to your advantage is simple and can have financial benefits.

Comments

Please with your WRAL.com account to comment on this story. You also will need a Facebook account to comment.

Oldest First
View all

About this Blog:

Steve Rhode has had careers in opthalmology, real estate and as the head of a nonprofit debt counseling firm. On his blog, he offers hard-won, free advice about getting out of debt, consolidation and making the right choices as you manage your money.