How to avoid for the debt

What would you rather have? No debt or a better credit score?

If you’re the folks at TD Bank, apparently you take the score.

Their PR department just shot me a pretty lame press release, and after asking if I was going to share it with my audience twice within 24 hours (impatient, much?) , I decided to give them what they want.

Though it probably won’t be what they were hoping for 😉

Here’s what they sent below, along with my gut reactions… Am I alone here??

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Millennials, the largest generation, show a significant aversion to credit, perhaps because they’ve lived through the financial crisis and battled student loan debt. In fact, a recent study from TD Bank found that almost half (44%) of Millennials aren’t using credit at all. Those who don’t use credit are missing out on the opportunity to reap rewards and establish the credit scores they’ll need for big purchases down the road – like a house or a car.

Soo… risk debt for better credit?? So you can – wait for it – take on more debt??

TD Bank’s recent survey set out to find out why Millennials are credit averse, and uncovered the following:

  • Millennials Are Missing Out on Easy Cash:

Only one-fifth (19%) of Millennials say the biggest benefit of using credit is it allows them to earn rewards, meaning the other 81% may not realize how valuable earning cash back rewards for the purchases they make most often can be.

Or meaning they actually hate debt! Which your study clearly shows!

Only 17% of respondents make big ticket purchases with a credit card, missing out on the opportunity to earn even more cash back rewards when making large purchases like airline tickets, hotel reservations and electronics or large appliances, to name a few.

You know what else this shows?? That millennials are paying *cash* for big ticket purchases instead of credit. And what would you rather have – a few dollars cash back or 0% chance of going into debt? Good for them for having the funds to pick up this stuff!

  • Millennials Aren’t Establishing the Credit They Need for the Future:

Only 28% of Millennials say building credit is important so they appear trustworthy to mortgage lenders, meaning almost three-quarters aren’t considering the importance of establishing credit now.

This part I’ll agree on. While credit isn’t the end-all be-all, it’s definitely an important factor. And something that took me way too many years to catch onto, sadly.

Fewer (just 18%) say building credit is important so they can make large purchases in the future.

Awesome if they’re still planning on using cash (imagine buying a house or car in full??), but yeah – not so much if they are eventually looking to finance something.

  • Millennials Are Worried About Incurring Debt:

When asked what is the biggest benefit of using cash, most Millennials said using cash ensures they spend within their means and one-fifth say they worry using a credit card will make them incur debt. However, strategically using credit for regular purchases can help Millennials keep track of their overall budget.

COME ON!!!! If people are worried about going into debt AND spending within their means, then leave them alone already! They’re being smarter than most other adults out there! Who cares about the rewards if you’re just going to dig yourself into a hole in the end and pay more for the privilege of it.

The “better for budgeting” play only works for those who already trust themselves around plastic too, btw – not those who don’t. This is pretty much the worst pitch I’ve seen trying to get someone to sign up to their products, ugh…

Only 8% of Millennials say a high initial credit limit is important to them when applying for a credit card, indicating they are cautious about spending within their means.

YES! And this is bad, because?? We should all be cautious about our spending as financial security trumps credit all day, every day. And none of this, btw, means that you can’t have decent credit just because you don’t use credit cards. There are plenty of other ways to build up credit history, even if they take a little more effort.

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Maybe I’m reading too much into this, but damn… This fires me up! And I’m a lover of credit cards too! I use them for all the great reasons most of you do too – convenience, cash-back, miles, and yes – even budgeting. No one’s going to deny the benefits they bring.

But you can’t discount the enormity of what debt can do to a person either – especially those who have clearly stated how nervous they make ’em (and rightfully so!). Pitch your cards to those of us already comfortable and looking for better cards, and not to those doing their best to stay out of trouble.

Good for every last one of you who have rejected the idea that you “need” a card to make it in this world. If anything good came out of all this, it was to see just how many of you are bucking the trend and doing  your own thing! 44% is freakin’ fantastic – stay strong!