1. How did you first become interested in studying and sharing information about credit?
I realized one day that I was a college graduate, going to work every day, but living my life from paycheck to paycheck. I was BROKE!
2. How long did it take you to write your book, Conspiracy of Credit? I imagine it took a lot of time to research as well as to write.
It took me a year and a half to write the book.
3. Is it possible for people to completely avoid credit, or is it more that people need to learn to use it more sparingly?
Yes, if they're RICH, but honestly no. No one can avoid escaping the credit trap, and this is not by accident. I always say, "Credit is for Poor People," because life is more expensive when you're poor. Credit is not a good thing for people who don't understand the value of borrowing money for the purpose of making more money. Most people get credit for the purpose of going into more debt.
4. Why do companies--from grocery stores to drugstore to pet stores--use loyalty cards?
People must recognize the loyalty/discount card trend. Every retailer from Walgreens to Kroger has discount/loyalty cards. The information consumers provide such as name, address, and phone number is a source of income for these companies. Consumers' privacy is exploited more when these companies sell their information, due to re-identification software. This software makes it easier for someone to be identified. For example, zip codes include many individuals, but they do not directly identify who they are, but when zip codes are cross-matched with information from other databases, such as driver vehicle information and warranty and grocery discount cards, the number of individuals becomes smaller. Further cross-matching with voter registration files will decrease the number even more, until a particular individual is identified.
5. What are some ideas you suggest to people who are looking to gain more control over their personal finances?
People must learn to leverage debt. What I mean by this is they must pick and choose the credit that will benefit them the most. Such as personal lines of credit, major credit cards that can be utilized anywhere for the purpose of starting a business or liquidating the credit card availability into cash. People should also look for investment groups that help them become entrepreneurs. They should stay away from department store and gas credit cards, because these types of cards serve no purpose and have no benefit.