Visa Takes Life

If you watch television, or if you’re a student of advertising (like me), then you’ve probably come across the slogan “Life Takes Visa.”

From an advertising perspective, this slogan is brilliant. In fact, I’ve analyzed it on my other blog to demonstrate the sensitivity of language.

But the reason I bring up Visa here on my debt blog is (why else?) to cause a change in how you think about credit cards.

If you’re in debt and trying to get out, the last thing you need is more debt. So it will behoove you to avoid using credit cards — since credit cards are by far the easiest way to rapidly accumulate debt.

In my effort to help you, I encourage you to switch up the words in Visa’s slogan so it says “Visa Takes Life.”

I don’t think my revised “slogan” is an overstatement.

If you are carrying debt on a Visa card (or any card), it’s taking your life in a very real way. By charging you (exorbitant) interest, it’s stealing your future earning power in order to pay for today.

And, as I pointed out in the “sister post” on my other blog, the ambiguity of the word “takes” gives the phrase a lot of different meanings.

So Visa Takes Life could be interpreted to mean:

  • Visa accepts life.

“Your life is an acceptable form of payment should you choose to have and use a Visa card.”

  • Visa demands life.

“You cannot use a Visa card without paying for it with your life: your time, your thoughts, your creative energy, your earning power, and your peace of mind. Did we miss anything?”

  • Visa steals life.

“Using a Visa card robs you of your life, your freedom, and your privacy. Instead of being free to earn money as you see fit, you are literally enslaved to debt, minimum monthly payments, and high interest rates! Not to mention, we track your purchasing habits and pretty much know everything about you.”

Taking a popular slogan like Visa’s and turning it around puts a whole new perspective on credit cards, doesn’t it?

Next time you’re tempted to use a credit card to purchase something you don’t have the money for, remember this twist: Visa Takes Life. It may be just enough to discourage you from making a bad spending decision.

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10 thoughts on “Visa Takes Life”

  1. Pingback: Ryan M. Healy
  2. Tony – Thanks for the comment.

    That’s a great point: “No one ever borrowed himself into prosperity.”

    Although I’m sure there are some “get rich quick” gurus who might argue that point. (OPM – Other People’s Money, etc.)

    A lot of those borrowing techniques did work to a degree during the boom years. Trying them now would be financial suicide.

    Ryan

  3. Yeah…most “get rich quick” gurus don’t have lasting riches which is true prosperity. They have to keep moving to the next scheme.

    And, of course, just between you and me…
    and don’t tell anyone else…

    We know what real lasting riches are.

    But that’s another story. ;-)

  4. I had a business flipping and remodeling homes and followed the concepts of using OPM. At my worst, I was $760,000 in debt. Today we are $390,000 in debt. By December 5th, we will be just under $200,000 in debt. (Selling the last of the houses at a loss.)

    I agree completely, but would expand it to interest in general. Over the last 15 years, I have paid enough in interest, that if I had invested it in a good ETF, I could retire today.

    I am an indentured servant and I hate it.

  5. Becky – Wow. That’s a crazy story, although I’m sure more common than we may think.

    I almost got into the “fix and flip” craze. I wasted $5,000 on H. Roger Neal’s Fast Flip Real Estate.

    I realized too late that I couldn’t apply his strategies because they went against my core values.

    That’s good news you’re selling your last house! I see the real estate market struggling for at least the next 6 months… so better now than later.

    Ryan

  6. I believe we all have to take a long, hard look at the fantasy we call reality. I am specifically speaking of the U.S. because I don’t know the particulars of the European or the British indebtedness. But I do know that absolutely everything I have seen on television over the past 60 years has portrayed the lifestyle of supposed “average” Americans in a very UN-AVERAGE way.

    We are in this current economic disaster because as a nation we have embraced a fantasy shaped by Hollywood’s propaganda machine, underwritten by the Federal Reserve, and proliferated by the credit card companies.

    During the 50’s it was Robert Young and Jane Wyatt in Father Knows Best. Father, Jim Anderson, was, supposedly, an insurance agent
    who always came home from the office but whom I never saw actually work. The white, two-story home where he kept his wife and three children was, in reality, untouchable by most REAL insurance agents.

    During the 60’s, Donna Reed and Carl Betts played house. Father, Alex, was a Pediatrician who worked out of an office attached to the garage of the family home on Elm Street. Mother, Donna, vacummed the house in shirtdresses, high heels, and PEARLS!

    I could go on-and-on, but I will refrain. In the world of T.V. all fathers were professionals; all mothers stayed at home until the 1980’s.

    As children we baby-boomers were brainwashed to believe that we had only to graduate college to live such easy lives of abundant luxury where everyone was polite and on their best behavior.

    For my generation, many of us having dutifully graduated state colleges only to find ourselves underemployed and underpayed, the American Dream was already gone. We would spend the lion’s share of our lives raising children in an illusion of security. After all, if you live in a beautiful house, drive around in mom’s or dad’s kewl ride, and wear $120.00 sneakers, you MUST be rich! RIGHT?

    From what I saw while raising generation X, things on the tube never got any closer to reality.

    I believe it was during the 1960’s that Master Card really became a household word. Tract homes were on the increase in size as well as price, and the U.S. was printing greenbacks to support the Vietnam fiasco.

    Inflation had begun but most Americans were content because they were managing, with the help of credit, to live some permutation of the “American Dream”.

    Most Americans were clueless about economics and finance, partially because nobody wanted to leave the “party”. We were all too comfortable, having too much fun in our fantasy lands; THAT is what happened.

    The Federal Reserve and the credit mongers worked hand-in-hand to enslave us. Like Aldous Huxley’s SOMA, new automobiles for dad, a beautiful home for mom, and at least two television sets pacified the American work force and their families.

    And as the American Dream became increasingly unrealistic, as well as unattainable, the money lenders lured the nation into the trap of habitual indebtedness. With ever-spiraling inflation, there was no other way to hold onto that which we thought we had an inalienable right to posess!

    Our’s is a culture of veneers. Nothing is what it seems to be. Apparent wealth is not true wealth if we are “skating fast over thin ice” to stay on top.

    The thing is, many of us have seen this crisis coming for the past 20 years but were at a loss to know how to get off the merry-go-round. Short of living in a single-wide trailer at the end of a dirt road 100 miles from nowhere, what were we to do? The insanity of our “economy” had taken on a life of its own and became a case of the tail wagging the dog.

    But now, finally, with the proliferation of internet business and a global marketplace, those of us who are so inclined have an opportunity to make more than enough money to live, on our own terms, and without credit; once we pay our debts in full.

    I hope all the generations have learned our lessons. Not only about the evils of interest compounding indebtedness, but also about the miracle of interest compounding the right kind of investment.

    I saw people get into the flipping game and as far as I was concerned, flipping houses was their last ditch effort to “grab their piece of the pie”; the motivation surrounding it seemed to be strictly fear-based. Flipping seemed, for so many, to represent the last chance to catch the boat before it sailed away forever.

    When I was touring the highlands of Scotland in 1980, I marvelled at how generations of families lived in old stone houses, many (perhaps all) mortgage-free. Families had one car, ate fresh vegetables and grass-fed meat, had the entire month of August off for R&R, and life was good.

    However, in contrast to civilizations across the “pond”, ours was a young nation having neither the history nor the traditions, (nor the Oats :-) ) of the Scots to keep us real and down to Earth.

    We were, and are, the highly charged, energetic leaders, the mavericks, the innovators of the western world. We were rough-and-ready, always on the move with no time to entertain such concepts as patience, humility, and a family sharing 1 bathroom.

    And then, seemingly overnight, but actually over the months of this Presidential campaign WE THE PEOPLE experienced a paradigm shift and as a nation we matured; NOT because we elected a truly African American President, but because we finally saw past color to issues.

    The vote for Obama represented America’s disgust with our system and ourselves for allowing our country to be dragged so far down. This vote was the way the American people chose to take responsibility.

    Our young people are largely responsible for having voted for change this week. I applaud them. I believe they are the first to clearly see the handwriting on the wall; I know for sure they cannot be bribed with money and comfort as we were. And that gives me cause to feel safe entrusting my future to them as I become an entrepreneurial-baby-boomer-old-fart, myself.

    And yup Ryan, I absolutely agree with you; VISA TAKES LIFE.

  7. Arieljoy – Great comment! Thanks for sharing your perspective on the so-called American Dream.

    You said: “Many of us have seen this crisis coming for the past 20 years but were at a loss to know how to get off the merry-go-round.”

    I completely agree. To turn things around, the majority of Americans have to be on board — and currently, they’re not.

    The best solution would be to declare a Jubilee and start all over from scratch.

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