» Credit Cards: "Come On Gorilla... We In Manila"
Ladies, gentleman, and credit cards… This is the moment we’ve all been waiting for... 10 to 12 years of credit card debt drama to decide the middleweight consumer credit championship of the world. In this corner weighing in at let’s say 160 pounds stands you. In the other corner weighing in at .20 ounces stands your credit card. Will you go the distance? The whole world is watching. Well, maybe just your creditors are watching but still this may be one of the greatest fights in your life.
Boxing fans may remember the year was 1975. In what was billed the “Thrilla in Manila” two legends, Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier were set to do battle in the ring. In the build-up to the fight Ali did a side-splitting interview with the sports press. During the interview Ali recited a short poem and made the hilarious claim that a small rubber toy gorilla he had brought with him to the press conference was Joe Frazier’s conscience. He stated that he keeps the toy gorilla in his shirt pocket everywhere he goes to keep him on guard. When Ali finished the poem he took the toy gorilla out of his pocket and held him before the press in his left hand and referring to Joe Frazier stating, “See, here’s the way he looks when you hit him” as he begins to repeatedly punch the toy gorilla with his right fist. With the wobbly rubber gorilla flexing and bouncing back after each hit Ali exclaimed, “Come on gorilla, we in manila! Come on gorilla, this is a thrilla!” By this time the press core had burst in to laughter with Ali himself trying to keep a straight face during the proceedings. Well, Ali was victorious and the fight turned out to be one of the greatest fights in the history of heavyweight boxing. Who knows, maybe it was the little conscience he carried around in his shirt pocket in preparation for that fight. Nevertheless, Muhammad Ali was the champ and ended up being one of the most recognized figures in the entire world.
Given the current financial situation, we would do well to take a page out of the champ’s book when it comes to credit cards. With the knock out power of an 800 lb gorilla, these little quarter ounce contenders should be the little conscience we carry around with us; a constant reminder for us to stay on guard against financial ruin.
Americans are carrying more and more credit card debt these days. Some continually make the average minimum payment of two percent of the balance. If you paid just two percent of the balance each month it would take 22 years to pay off a balance of just $5,000 with an APR of 14%. You would also pay nearly $6,000. in interest. At these rates we end up paying 2 to 6 times more for an item than it actually cost. Under pressure from the government, some banks are now raising the minimum payment to four percent. This move would allow customers who pay the minimum each month to pay of the debt in 10 to 12 years. Like the champ, we must still stay on guard against giving away our wealth and our potential for wealth.
Although credit cards may be the new 800 pound gorillas in our lives, history and Mr. Muhammad Ali have shown us that we can persevere with good choices, training, judgment, and a relentless tenacity for victory.