Credit cards , the best thing since sliced bread!

I received my first credit card more than 25 years ago while a premed student and I can honestly say that having multiple credits cards has been an asset for me. When it was difficult at times to have money for even basic needs like food the credit cards ensured that I would never go hungry. As I acquired more cards I was able to preferentially use the ones that provided me with added benefits such as airline travel (a favorite of mine) or cash back bonuses. If I had exhausted the spending on one card, which was more common in the earlier days, I could always rely on another. Also I vividly remember one occasion while in medical school when I left my wallet behind in a food court. While miraculously I was able to recover my wallet with all the cards still in place, having other cards available in safe keeping at home allowed me to cancel all the compromised cards while still having credit available for my day to day living while I awaited my new cards. However by far the best benefit for me of having multiple cards were the balance transfer offers. This allowed me to easily shift my balances from a high percentage to a lower one and when low interest cash offers were available it alleviated many short-term financial woes. It allowed me to take vacations on a tight budget, which was the case during my four years of residency (perhaps some of the most stressful years of my career when I most needed to escape). They allowed me to fly home for family emergencies regardless of the fact that my bank account would not allow the trip. Later in life when my finances improved I was able to pay them off while still having them at my disposal.

However I know that the ability to juggle multiple credit cards is not for everyone. I came from a background where my father, an accountant, taught me the importance of managing my finances. He and my mother were able to provide us with a beautiful home and allowed all three children access to graduate level college education despite the fact that he was raised in a poor rural setting by his widowed mother who had to raise nine children on her own.

As I was getting accustomed to using credit cards they were months when I missed payments and had to pay late payment fees. There were other occasions that I came uncomfortably close to my limit. One of my roommates in college who introduced me to the benefits of credit cards has had to file for bankruptcy and other friends have told me that they have had to limit their credit cards due to overspending.

However, for those like me who are able to monitor the credit card spending, having multiple credit cards available has been, for me, one of the best things since sliced bread.

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