May 16th, 2012
Sound Advice from Unlikely Sources: The Avengers and Credit Card Debt
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Last Saturday, I went to see my first superhero movie ever. Yes, you read that right. I have never seen “Superman,” “Spiderman” or any other superhero film. But when my friend invited me to go see “The Avengers,” I figured that there would not be a better superhero movie to start with; it’s chock- full of superheroes, like the Hulk, Iron Man and Captain America. The movie did not disappoint!
But not only is “The Avengers” full of jaw-dropping special effects and hilarious one-liners, it’s also a great source of financial advice. (That’s what we do here, after all; seek financial advice from unlikely sources.) Here are a few ways to wage war on credit card debt, Avengers’ style.
(Note: Contains spoilers!)
Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
The context: As soon as bad-guy Loki steals the Tesseract, a cube of pure energy with the power to destroy the Earth, S.H.I.E.L.D leader Nick Fury doesn’t hesitate to ask for help from the Avengers. He immediately realizes that the situation is over his head.
The lesson: You don’t have to battle debt alone. Don’t be too proud to ask for help.
How to do it: Some credit card issuers will be willing to lower your interest rate to help you pay off debt sooner. But you’ll never know if you don’t ask.
You can also ask your friends to keep you accountable. Love posting every life detail on Facebook? Skip Instagramming what you’re eating for lunch one day and instead update your status to something like “I’m going to save $50 this month. Keep me accountable!”
If you don’t want to broadcast your financial goals to your friends, reach out to the Credit Karma community. Credit Karma’s Advice and Learning Center is an amazing way to ask and answer questions. You aren’t alone on your financial journey.
The context: Bruce Banner has an unfortunate problem: He turns into the mean, green, uncontrollable Hulk when he gets angry. But over time he’s learned to control his transformation and use his hulkish alter-ego to fight evil.
The lesson: Just as Bruce Banner learned to control his rage, one of the best ways to battle debt is to practice self-control in dealing with credit cards.
How to do it: If you know that credit cards tempt you to spend money that you don’t have, why not leave them at home and only carry a fixed amount of cash? Simple solutions like this are easy ways to control your spending.
Don’t wait until it’s almost too late.
The context: For most of the movie, the Avengers argue and deliberate over how to defeat Loki. It’s not until a close friend is killed that they began to work together as a team.
The lesson: Learn from the Avengers and do not wait until something devastating happens. Waiting until debt collectors start calling you about old credit card debt means it’s too late for your credit score.
How to do it: Use a tool like ReadyForZero to help you start hacking away at your credit card debt. They’ll give you a tailored plan to prioritize your debt. And help you plan your payments.
The context: Iron Man ultimately comes to save the day for the Avengers and all of Manhattan, but he comes very close to sacrificing his own life to do so.
The lesson: Sometimes you’ll have to sacrifice in order to eliminate debt. It may not be pleasant, but battles, whether they be against evil super villains like Loki or credit card debt, are never pleasant.
How to do it: If you have accumulated a huge amount of debt, get rid of things you don’t absolutely need- like your cable TV subscription or that daily trip to Starbucks.
There are many obvious lessons we can learn from the Avengers, like how to be brave and selfless. However, if we look closer we can find financial lessons that can help us win our own war against debt. Now assemble and fight!
Jenna, Credit Karma Contributor
Jenna Lee helps manage the social media channels and blog at Credit Karma. Although her specialty lies in creating witty post-it notes, she also enjoys sharing all the financial information she’s learned since joining Credit Karma in February 2012. When she’s not working, you can probably find her trying out a new dessert recipe or learning/perfecting any musical instrument she can get her hands on. She may or may not have created a Twitter specifically to put in this byline. Say “hi” @leejennaa!