Credit Cards Are Not An Emergency Fund

Lynn and her husband have paid-off credit cards, and her husband doesn't want to close them and cut them up. He still sees them as an emergency fund.

QUESTION: Lynn in Los Angeles and her husband have paid-off credit cards, and her husband doesn’t want to close them and cut them up. He still sees them as an emergency fund. Dave suggests talking to him and asking him directly why he won’t get rid of them.

ANSWER: I think rather than you mothering him, it’s a good idea to find out why. Sometimes, if you just talk through and ask questions, people will generally say they want to build their credit by keeping the credit cards, which means you want to get into debt. I can’t help you if you want to get into debt. That’s not what I do. I don’t help people get into debt. If that’s what you want to do, then you need to keep your credit cards, but that’s not why he’s keeping them. If you ask him why he’s keeping his credit cards, he could say he needs them as an emergency fund. They’re his security blanket. I understand that. But if you had $10,000 in your checking account and you had a debit card, you wouldn’t be worried about your car breaking down on the road. We can replace the credit cards with money, and we can replace what they do in our emotions with a debit card. Just begin talking through it because you said he grew up with poverty, and what he’s saying is these cards represent some kind of a security blanket for him. Let’s find out what that is and replace it with some kind of number and say that when you hit that number, it’s time to pull them out of the drawer and cut them up.

Have an agreement. You can’t relate to where he came from. He came from a different place than you came from. Find out what the why is behind wanting to keep the cards, and then you can pretty much defeat the card.