Basically, another poster on another thread brought up this topic. So, to keep it from detracting from the OP of that thread, I thought we could discuss it all on it's own here since it is an issue that's very important (and quite relevant) for us Christian's in today's economic outlook.
I guess I had overlooked this topic in the scriptures and Tradition. Is it truly frowned upon? How can we, in today's credit driven world, deal with it?
For starters, one can cut up the credit card, pay that sucker off, cancel the account, and live frugally within one's means. It's not that difficult once you get started but it does require a radical change in one's outlook and attitude towards money. My wife and I are in the process of doing just that. I've lived through massive credit card debt and repayment and it's not something that I would wish on my worst enemy. Yes, I put myself in that situation through irresponsibility, but I've paid back what I owed and realized one does not need
a credit card. Indeed, both of my wife's grandparents have lived their entire lives without a credit card or indeed an ATM card. Her grandfather has bought everything, including two homes and a number of automobiles, with cash, and most of that AFTER the powers-that-be decided that we must live in their "credit driven world".
In America, you cannot own a house without a loan from the bank.
I have to disagree. The problem arises when people think loan = free money and they live outside their means. The incredible rise in foreclosures due to variable rate loans and borrowers inability to educate themselves and guard against predatory lenders is indicative of a much larger problem of people who do not, cannot and will not live within their means.
Again, I say this as someone who has screwed up their financial life once through such irresponsibility. A friend of mine who makes less than $50k a year working one job has two kids with a stay-at-home wife lives in a nice town about forty miles from DC with a 2 bedroom house w/ finished basement. He also has two running cars and a third that he's restoring. He paid for his house in cash, has no credit card, and puts about 15% of his earnings away into savings and a retirement account. He's utterly flabbergasted at his peers who have no savings and are enslaved to creditors when he makes so much less a year than he does and do not have the responsibility to provide for a wife and two children.
He's one of my heros and a major impetus (along with my wife's grandfather) for getting my life back in order and being responsible. It's not easy, but it is