In short, no.
I am a Registered Investment Advisor, Licensed Mortgage Loan Originator, Licensed Property Casualty Insurance Agent, Licensed Life Health & Accidental Death Insurance Agent, and Responsible Individual for a Mortgage Brokerage. I have more financial licenses than most, and I have worked in finances since I was 15. I don’t share this to boast, but to give you context to this fact: I have had the opportunity to help countless people with their finances. Some of those people are extremely affluent. They have a lot of money and live very comfortably. And all of them have one thing in common: None of them got rich from credit card rewards.
One of the goals connected with managing your personal finances is to build wealth. Credit card rewards are not designed to do this. They were created with one goal in mind – to make you spend more.
You see, credit card rewards are not a source of income. They cannot be deposited into your investment accounts. If they could, you would get a 1099 from your credit card company at the end of each year forcing you to claim the rewards as income on your tax filing. Most often credit card rewards are in the form of some sort of credit to spend more. Quite literally you must purchase things to use the rewards. Typically you can’t spend the rewards on needs like food, rent, or utilities. And you cannot use the points to build wealth or increase your income.
“But Grant, I am really smart and I do my research. I know how to work the system. The credit card companies are not fooling me. I am taking advantage of them!”
These credit cards and their rewards are designed by some of the smartest people on the planet. They know a lot about money and invest billions into studying your behaviors. They make you feel like you’re winning with these points. Statistics, studies, and the size of their massive buildings prove that they are earning a lot more interest off of us than we are getting in rewards from them.
The purpose of this blog is related to your motivation for using credit cards. Rewards are not bad. If you get them, use them! However, credit card company “rewards” should NEVER be a motivating factor to take on bad debt. According to creditcards.com, the national average credit card interest rate is 17.41%. Agreeing to pay back a loan at that rate in exchange for airline miles, gift cards, or cash back bonuses is not wise.
The badge value, emotional games, and other sense of false security we feel related to credit card points is troublesome. We need to be on guard against that and focus our time, energy and effort on the more important parts of our financial plan – our income and building wealth. We should try to dominate our budget instead of trying to dominate credit companies through receipt of rewards.
Are you in over your head with credit cards? Has the game of “rewards” caught up with you?
Meeting with a Financial Coach can help you gain financial freedom through budgeting, reducing debt, gaining accountability, and restoring power over your finances. Schedule an appointment below!