Blogging from the Highlands of Scotland
'From fanaticism to barbarism is only one step' - Diderot

Thursday 30 October 2008

Credit where credit is due?

I've just had a letter from my credit card company advising me that my credit limit has been increased by roughly 30 per cent; obviously I had not requested this increase, nor do I need it (I've never paid a penny of interest on credit card debt, ever). I use my credit card solely as a means of payment where my debit cards (Maestro and charge cards) are not accepted and the full outstanding amount is always paid by me online within a few days of the charge having been incurred and almost always several weeks before I receive the credit card statement showing recent charges and giving me several more weeks before interest starts to accrue on it. That's the way I like it.

However, it interests me that banks are still trying to push more credit at people. Obviously despite the warnings that most people are over-extended with debt, the banks are still behaving like 'drug pushers'; they can't help themselves and want the party to continue.

As for me I shall be continuing with more or less my usual level of expenditure; for example, I mentioned a week or so back that I had ordered a new relatively inexpensive computer and have been working happily with it for a few weeks now quite happily. What I have not mentioned until now, however, is that it was my intention to order a second new PC immediately after I received the first one and I had got it set up and running and was happy with it. So less than a week after receiving the first machine I order the second one and have been using it too, very successfully, for a couple of weeks now. Both are manufactured by Asus, but whereas the first of the two runs Linux and instead of a hard drive has a solid-state flash drive (40GB), the second runs Microsoft XP and has an 80GB hard drive. I have equipped each with a 16GB SD memory card and these hold all my photographs and documents and mean that I can switch all my portable data between any of my 4 laptops quickly and easily; the two Asus machines also each allow me 20GB of online 'cloud' storage space, although I haven't so far used any of that. Having the data in several different places also provides its own back-up and I have a fairly simple regular routine for keeping all copies of the data updated with additions and changes - I've been doing this for years anyway and is a worthwhile, but often neglected, discipline. The best part of these new machines (apart from them being highly-portable and with LONG battery life between charges, is that I no longer have to use my machine equipped with the horrid Microsoft Vista.

Anyway, barring strikes, riots and civil commotions (a phrase I always recall from insurance policies on documentary credits when I was involved in trade finance operations for years in the bank I worked for) and catastrophic inflation or complete economic collapse, I expect to be able to continue more or less as normal. I make no apology for this, nor do I gloat at those in a less fortunate position. However a rule I have always lived by is that I have never been particularly extravagant in my personal tastes, at least in terms of my disposable income. I have never owned a 'flash' car for example and it has been many years since I bought one with a loan. I have always enjoyed travel and have, to be quite frank, hardly counted the cost from day to day, but such travel and vacations have always been financed out of my current resources requiring absolutely no borrowing whatsoever. I have always lived 'within my means', but I am not in any way 'mean'; that's the way I was brought up. We never went away on expensive holidays when I was a child and whilst we always had everything we anted at home it was comfortable but never lavish and special treats were saved for special occasions - I knew my parents could not afford certain things others in my class at school had. This never bothered me. Yes, since I have been an adult I have occasionally stayed at very expensive hotels and resorts (at my own expense), but I have also made use of much more modest establishments much more often. 'Status' in travel or in my personal possessions is unimportant to me; I don't need to prove anything to anyone.

So yes, although my credit card issuer tells me I am a 'valued Credit Card card-holder' I have absolutely no intention of deviating from my normal prudent and very transient use of the credit limit offered, but only until I can get online and pay it off. I am perfectly well aware that the card company makes no money out of me, but I agree with them that I am a good credit risk; I've been paying an annual fee for my charge card for over thirty years and although I pay nothing for my credit card would certainly not object to paying one on that too for the convenience of having it if they ever decide to start levying one. But I'm certainly not going to help my credit card company out by taking on borrowing I don't require - I try and live well within my means. It's a great pity, in my humble opinion, that a lot more people don't behave similarly.

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