Selling Gold Jewelry – A Good Idea?

Selling gold jewelry has become quite a big business recently. I’m sure you’ve seen the TV ads encouraging you to call and pawn off your gold jewelry for some cash.

It’s tempting, for sure. After all, gold has been sitting at more than $1,000 an ounce for a long time now.

Most of the sales pitches rest on a couple key points. The first key point is that you might need cash fast. Selling your gold jewelry could quickly raise funds.

The second key point is a suggestion that gold prices might fall. This creates some urgency for the potential seller: “How long will gold prices stay above $1,000 an ounce? I better sell now while I still can.”

Where Is Gold Headed?

The reason gold seems to be increasing in value is because the dollar is declining in value. So gold is a hedge against the dollar. It is a way to preserve your wealth.

By getting out of gold and getting into dollars, you’re moving out of an asset that is appreciating and getting into an “asset” (the dollar) that is depreciating.

My opinion is that gold is headed higher. I would not be surprised if we see it surpass $5,000 an ounce by 2012.

Of course, I have no magic ball, so I have no idea what the future holds. But generally speaking, I expect the price of gold to continue to go up — not go down.

Selling Gold Jewelry – Timing the Market

You can never know for sure when the price of something has peaked. So your decision to sell your gold jewelry has to be based on your own in-depth research and the urgency of your need for cash.

For the time being (early 2010), I would personally wait to pawn off my gold jewelry. I would attempt to sell other things first: furniture, electronics, appliances, cars, etc.

Again, my logic is based on the simple fact that I believe gold will continue to appreciate. Other possessions like cars, gadgets, and so forth will continue to depreciate.

It’s almost always better to sell something that is losing value instead of something that is gaining value. With that in mind, my personal belief is that selling gold jewelry may be a bit premature at this point.

Retail Credit Card – When Credit Bites Back

You might think a retail credit card would be harmless. And you may be right. But my good friend told me a story about his wife that left me speechless. (Well, not really, because here I am now writing about it.)

In this particular case, the retail credit card actually got his wife fired from her job. Here’s the scoop:

My friend’s wife (we’ll call her Liz) has been working at Lane Bryant for a couple years now. She’s had glowing reviews. The customers love her. But there’s one little problem.

Liz does not like to push the Lane Bryant retail credit card as hard as the company would like. Sure, she asks each customer if they would like to open an account. Most either already have an account… or decline because they don’t want a retail credit card.

No matter how the customer responds, Liz never gets pushy and usually accepts the customer’s response at face value. Under normal circumstances, Liz’s behavior would be perfectly acceptable. Except there’s a little detail called a quota

Minimum Number of New Retail Credit Accounts

Apparently, when you work at Lane Bryant, you’re actually not in the business of selling clothes. You’re in the business of getting people to open Lane Bryant retail credit cards… and then getting them to buy clothes. Kinda.

Because you don’t actually want customers to buy clothes with cash or anything other than a Lane Bryant credit card.

This is why each employee is required to open 6 new retail credit card accounts every 2 weeks. That’s 3 new accounts per week.

If any employee fails to hit this quota, they can be let go immediately. Fired. On the spot.

Unfortunately, this is what happened to Liz. Not even her glowing reviews or positive customer feedback could make up for her unwillingness to shove credit cards down the throats of Lane Bryant customers.

Lesson: If you don’t feed the beast, the beast will devour you instead.

Mixed-Up Priorities

During the last few years, strange things have happened to the business landscape.

Cash is no longer good enough. Credit is king because stores can make so much more through exorbitant interest, late fees, and fees assessed when you try to pay your bill by phone or the Internet.

Let’s be honest. These are no longer retail stores. They’re credit card companies disguised as retail stores.

This can’t be good. It’s not good in the short term, and it’s definitely not good in the long term.

One retail credit card I recently canceled charged $10 to make a payment over the Internet.

Worse, they put the fee on my NEXT statement in the hopes I’d forget about it. That way they could charge me a late fee on top of a fee that shouldn’t even have been assessed in the first place!

But, hey, this is American business. Anything to keep the shareholders happy, right?

American Credit Card Debt – Symptom of a Debt-Based Currency

American credit card debt ballooned rapidly in the 90s and early to mid-2000s leaving many families with total combined balances in excess of $10,000. Some used the easy credit irresponsibly, racking up $50,000+ in consumer debt (not even counting car debts).

Then, in the fall of 2007, signs of weakness in the housing market — and the economy in general — began to appear. By the fall of 2008, the entire economy seemed to be falling apart.

All of a sudden, Americans were struggling to repay their credit card debt. They were even struggling to pay their mortgages.

One commenter on Digg suggested that credit card debt wasn’t the problem, but rather that irresponsible Americans were the problem.

Yes, I laughed. On the surface, it’s easy to agree with. Irresponsible people get what they deserve, right?

But the issue is actually much more complicated because the dollar is a debt-based currency. It is not real money. Every dollar in circulation is actually owed to the Federal Reserve — with interest!

In other words, our entire economy is based on debt.

Credit Card Debt Is Inevitable

The way the American economic system works, credit card debt — and, indeed, all forms of debt — is inevitable. Because the only way the economy stays healthy is if the money supply is expanding.

And the ONLY way new money is created is through debt.

This may be hard to believe. And since I don’t have space in this article to explain how this works, I will simply point you to G. Edward Griffin’s masterpiece, The Creature from Jekyll Island.

In America, every dollar magically turns into 10 dollars, maybe more, all through the dubious practice of fractional banking.

American Blindness

Most Americans don’t really understand how our money system works. They are blind. As a result, they hack at the branches instead of striking the root.

The branches are things like credit cards, irresponsible behavior, etc. These are not the real issue. The root is our debt-based money system. This is what is hurting us.

Right now, Americans are paying off debt faster than they ever have before. They’re tightening their belts, cutting back, using extra money to reduce debts. They are borrowing less.

This is all good. All things being equal, having no debt is better than being in debt. So I commend any person or family that is fighting the good fight (so to speak).

But until our money system gets a complete overhaul (including real money), then Americans will continue to bear the burden of oppressive credit card debt.

Credit Card Law – What the New Rules Mean

In May of 2009, Congress passed a new credit card law called the “Credit Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure Act of 2009.”

It is called the “Credit CARD Act” for short. (Politicians just love acronyms, don’t they?)

While some of the provisions of the law went into affect last summer, most of them go into effect February 22, 2010.

If you want to learn about the new credit card law in some detail, you can read this write-up by the FDIC.

But I found the infographic below to be much more fun and enlightening. It is the most beautifully executed explanation of the Credit CARD Act I’ve seen. It shows:

  • The severity of the credit card and debt problem in America.
  • A few of the good things the new credit card law does.
  • Plus, the sneaky practices the new law does NOT prohibit. (The credit card companies can still get away with a few shenanigans.)

I encourage you to click the infographic below. This will take you to the original blog post where you will want to click the same infographic and scroll through it. Takes about 2 minutes.

Credit Card Law - Debt Is Crushing Americans

Not what you’re looking for? Search Google:

Become Debt Free – The Secret Nobody Talks About

Here’s how to become debt free in four simple steps:

First, you need to assess your current financial situation. It’s kind of like going to the doctor for a physical exam, except this time you’re examining your outstanding loan balances, your monthly income, your monthly expenses, etc.

You need to have a clear picture of how much you owe, how much you make, and how much you spend. This will tell you how bad (or how good) your financial situation is.

Second, you need to look for ways to trim expenses. Some of the best expenses to cut are those that are a) frivolous and b) recurring. Frivolous expenses that get auto-charged to you every month need to be eliminated if you truly want to become debt free.

Look also for ways to save money: on your cars, your house, your food, your health, your entertainment, etc. For many families, it is actually quite easy to cut $100 or even $200 in monthly expenses without much trouble.

Third, you need to put together a plan for credit card debt reduction. Depending on your circumstances, you may want to put together a debt snowball plan. Or you may want to seek Christian debt reduction help.

Every situation is unique and there are no one-size-fits-all solutions. So consider carefully what the best course of action is for you and your family.

Fourth, you will want to increase your income. This is the step that is sometimes hardest. But it is the one step that can really accelerate how fast you become debt free.

You might consider starting a side-business. Your options are endless. There are dozens of opportunities for service-based businesses, as well as online businesses. You may also consider taking a second part-time job.

Okay. These four steps cover the basics. Now here’s the secret…

The Secret to Become Debt Free

So far, I’ve given you the four simple steps to become debt free. But I’ve left out the biggest secret of them all.

The secret is consistency.

It’s always easy to get excited about doing something and pursue it with a passion for a couple weeks or even a couple months. The true challenge is what you do when the excitement wears off and you’re tempted to buy some shiny new toy.

Here’s the truth: You can spend 6 months, a year, or even 2 years following your plan to become debt free. But all it takes is one weak moment to erase all that progress.

Similar to the person who loses 10 pounds and gains back 15, it’s easy take 2 steps forward and 3 steps back — and actually find yourself in a worse financial position than when you started!

So consistency is key. But so is the ability to pick yourself up when you’ve made a mistake. Because, honestly, it’s almost inevitable that you’ll make mistakes along the way to become debt free.

The question is: Will you have the resiliency to forgive yourself, get back on track, and keep moving forward? Only you can answer that question.