Jacking credit up is key to success
September 16, 2002
Forget all those get-rich-quick e-mails you get every day. I have discovered the true secret to financial independence!
And, for a limited time only ? until this newspaper biodegrades ? I’m going to share it with you ? FREE!
But first, let me tell you a little bit about myself. This doesn’t have anything to do with you achieving financial independence, but I figure that, you know, as long as I have your attention …
Due to what was probably a serious computer malfunction, I received my first credit card at age 18. For an 18-year-old, I was very financially responsible, which perfectly counterbalanced my lack of responsibility in other areas, such as emotional, mental, hormonal, etc. … I never used my credit card to purchase anything outside of my means, and was careful to always pay my monthly bill in full and on time.
As a result, by the time I was about 25 I had a substantial credit limit on my card. This, as it turned out, was not a good thing, because at 25 I experienced a post-teenage, early, mid-life crisis, which I dealt with by going hog wild with the plastic.
Apparently, other credit-card companies track these kind of things closely. In little, darkened, dungeonlike computer rooms all across the country the “Hog Wild” alert began blinking next to my name, causing these other companies to respond by making me offers that I couldn’t refuse ? new credit cards with preapproved credit limits and low-interest transfer rates. Horray.
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So, forehead-deep in credit debt, I began to do the Balance Transfer Boogie. For several months I was able to stave off the collection agencies by transferring monthly payments of the existing cards onto the new cards which were being offered. Like free drinks at a casino, the card offers kept pouring in, and I kept loading up.
One morning I woke up to discover that the offers had stopped coming. I responded by quickly going back to sleep.
The next morning, I embarked on a debt-free crusade, which lasted until about noon, at which point I went back to bed, again.
(NOTE: The part about financial independence is just a few paragraphs away. Feel free to skip ahead.)
To shorten the story a bit, I received an unexpected large sum of money from an insurance incident, just enough to allow me to pay off all my cards in a single month. Ahh, freedom.
The first thing I knew I had to do was to remove the temptation to charge again, so I began to cancel all of my credit cards. This is when the fun began:
LYNN: Hi, I’m Lynn, your customer service representative. How may I help you today, Mr. Smith?
ME: Hi, Lynn, I’d like to close my account.
LYNN: What do you mean?
ME: I mean I’d like to cancel. Close. Cut up my card. You know …
LYNN: (sound of furious keyboard tapping) And what’s the reason for this … this rather sudden decision?
ME: Oh, just trying to streamline a little.
LYNN: (more tapping) Haven’t we been good to you?
ME: Oh, certainly. I just want to try being credit free for a while. Just kinda go it alone.
LYNN: It’s our interest rates, isn’t it?
ME: Well, they are a little high, but no higher than the others.
LYNN: Others? There are others!? What are you saying, Mr. Smith?
ME: The other cards. Don’t try to pretend like you didn’t know.
LYNN: (tap, tappity, tap tap …) I’m going to have to transfer you.
ME: Sure …
BARBARA: Hi, this is Barbara, Customer Service Manager. What’s this crap about canceling?
ME: It’s just not working, Barbara.
BARBARA: Mr. Smith, we are prepared to offer you an unprecedented 2.4% interest on purchases and cash advances, as well as waiving the annual membership fee.
ME: Really, Barbara, I’m not…
BARBARA: Shut up! I’m not finished. We’ll also send you a cashier’s check for $100 and a handsome desk calculator.
ME: It’s over, Barbara!
BARBARA: Like hell it is. I’m going to transfer you …
By the end of the call, I had been guaranteed 0.0% interest, a $500-a-month membership courtesy stipend and 8,000 miles of free airline travel to anywhere in the continental U.S. Also, they promised to send someone over once a week to do my yard work.
A dozen cancellation calls later, and I’m pretty much set for life! I now have a live-in chef, chauffeur, a combined monthly “courtesy stipend” of over $10,000, designer wardrobe, three handsome desk calculators, a private jet at my disposal and weekend use of the VISA yacht. Co-dependence is a good thing.
Now, let’s review the steps to your own financial independence:
1. Get lots of credit cards and jack up some serious debt.
2. Come into some unforeseen cash and pay all the cards off.
3. Begin the cancellation calls. Remember, you’re holding the cards here, so to speak. Don’t hang up until you’ve been transferred at least four times.
It’s just that simple, folks … really.
I’ll see you at the Yacht Club.
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