I watched a great documentary this weekend called Maxed Out. It addressed the growing concern of the lack of financial awareness in the US and the growing debt industry.
It featured some of the tricks used by those in the credit card, collections and debt industry and how they are preying on people with little or no knowledge of financial awareness.
Some of the features included:
How credit card companies target college students and the low income earners.
How credit collectors harass and trick people into giving them money.
How credit bureaus are aware of inaccuracies on your credit report but refuse to fix them.
Which major banks and credit cards contribute to politicians in Washington to continue their cause.
I also found it amusing to see that so-called financial gurus like Suze Orman have marketing contracts with companies like FICO.
It also addressed why credit card companies do not want you to pay your debts because they project to earn $2 in interest and fees for every $1 you spend.
I also found it unnerving to see that some credit card companies purposely hold your checks so you go over your due date and then they can charge you a late fee.
The saddest parts of this movie are when they interview friends and family of people who have committed suicide because of their debts. They also talk with a 57 year old woman who survives by selling her possessions daily at a garage sale.
She breaks down and admits that "she is 57 and is about to lose everything. No one prepares for this."
She later admits, while sobbing, that she has often thought of suicide but could not put her children through that.
It's a huge eye opener and displays further evidence for the need to teach our children financial responsibility, as well as the rest of the nation.
Now it's true, no one makes these people accept these credit cards and it is a dilemma of their own making, but I still feel compassion for their lack of financial awareness.
You can check out a version of the movie on Google Here but I recommend buying a copy and them sharing it with those you love.