Inside the Newsroom @ A2 Journal

Welcome to Inside the Newsroom @ A2 Journal, a blog written by the newspaper's staff at A2 Journal, a new, weekly, community newspaper covering Ann Arbor. This blog is a place for members of the newspaper's staff to write their thoughts, observations, opinions and other informative pieces they put together while covering the rich history, interesting people, institutions and traditions that make Ann Arbor such a unique community.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

March 4 - Lisa's Musings From Every Day Life

Have you taken a close look at any of your credit card statements lately?

If you're carrying a large balance on any of them, you might REALLY want to study it thanks to the new credit card regulations.

There's all kinds of new information on bills these days -- stuff like how long it will take to pay off your balance -- if you only pay the minimum amount each time, but the really scary information is the amount of interest you'll pay if you do that.

It's the stuff nightmares of made of -- the kind that will keep you up ALL night, afraid to close your eyes for fear you'll see those numbers again and again and again.

If you have a high credit balance, these companies also give you an amount and tell you if you pay this number every month in three years you'll have the card paid off -- provided you don't charge anything else, of course. And, although the interest amount isn't as much, it's still a lot of moolah.

Take my Exxon/Mobil bill that came in the mail today.

My balance is $71.27 and thanks to this new legislation, the interest rate has skyrocketed to 24.99 percent. Since I pay it off every month I could care less what the interest rate is, although I won't say that about a couple other cards I owe balances on ...

But anyway ... if I paid the $10 minimum, it would take me eight months to pay off that balance and I'd wind up paying $78 in interest charges ...

OK, math's not one of my strong suits but, $71.27 for two tanks of gas and in paying the minimum, it will cost me $78 in interest?


I wonder what last month's bill of $180.91 would have cost me if I only paid the minimum?

Personally, I think it's a great idea to have this information on credit card bills. It's a real eye-opener.

And, since it took an act of Congress to force companies to provide consumers with this kind of information, I wonder if Congress could also do something about it's own checkbook.

I'd like to see the amount of time it will take this country to pay off it's trillion-something (and growing)debt?

Just as consumers need to get a better handle on our debt, it's even more important for the Federal Government to follow suit.

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