We’ve both worked as consultants, and we’ve done a lot of work with companies in the financial-services industry, including some of the major credit-card companies. Their game then, as it is now, was to push cards into the hands of as many people as possible who have a tendency and propensity to carry debt from month to month at high interest rates. Their direct-marketing campaigns are quite effective.
Ditto for the auto manufacturers who successfully entice many people who can’t really afford to spend $20,000, $30,000, $40,000, or more on a brand-new car to buy new autos financed with an auto loan or lease. And just as alcoholic beverage companies and tobacco companies target young people with their advertising, credit-card companies are recruiting and grooming the next generation of over-spenders on university and college campuses.
Unbelievably, our institutions of higher learning receive substantial fees from credit-card companies for allowing them to promote their cards on campuses! As widely available as credit is today, so, too, are suggestions for how to spend it. We’re bombarded with ads 24/7 on radio, TV, websites, blogs, cellphones, the sides of buses and trains and the tops of taxicabs, people’s clothing, and cars. You couldn’t go a day without being exposed to advertising if you wanted to — you’re surrounded!