Three weeks ago I had an epiphany, and I’m totally embarrassed by it.

At 46 years old, I’ve always heard that credit cards are bad, bad, bad. Because of that, I’ve avoided them like the plague. I’ve had one or two over the years, but didn’t manage them well, and they damaged my credit. So I’ve always avoided them, and probably for the right reasons – they can be a great way to get into more debt, and never get out.

And until a mere three weeks ago, that’s what I’ve always thought. The finance gurus tell you to pay them off and cut them up, so I just figured they were best avoided altogether.

About a month ago, though, I decided to take a more proactive approach to my finances.  I’ve always been really bad at finance. I can program computers, rank websites high on Google using really technical algorithms and techniques, but when it came to finances my brain shut down. I told myself I just couldn’t (and wouldn’t ever) understand it.

But enough of the excuses. Like it or not, you have to know what your money is doing.

And for me, it was really doing very little. You could even say it was unemployed.

Luckily I started watching videos on financial freedom and education. In particular, I’ve learned a lot about debt weapons from Matt Pillmore at VIP Financial Education, and a few others. It seems like most of these gurus like real estate, but I’m no where near thinking about that.

I just want to pay my bills on time and have money at the end of the month.

Ok, back to credit cards.

The ‘trick’ I learned a few weeks ago is to use your credit cards as a way to pay your bills AND increase your credit at the same time. It’s so simple, I can’t believe I never knew it.

I literally sat in my front room, mouth open, as I watched Laura Pitko explain the how I can pay my mortgage off in 5-7 years, and difference between revolving and static accounts.

Moving money, debt weapons, etc. It blew my mind.

How can a guy, at 46 years old, not know this? That was the most embarrassing part. All these years and I’ve never heard of this. It’s so simple. Can finances really be that simple? (well, no, but since it was dumbed down I finally got it)

And how do people that know this not share it? Or did I just not hear it until I decided to? My friend told me last week that he’s known this since his 20’s. He’s never paid a cent in interest on a credit card and has a great credit score, I’m sure.

As an aside, he told me that the banks call people that pay their credit cards each month deadbeats. Interesting how they use mind games to make you feel bad for doing what’s right (and bad for them).

The other thing about being this age and just learning it is that I may have missed my opportunity to teach it to my kids. They’re in their 20s, have established credit, and are playing the same game we did all those years. It’s my hope that I can continue to learn the real game and teach them, so if nothing else they don’t have to struggle for as many years as we have.

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