People would rather discuss sex with strangers than credit cards


A GfK Roper Public Affairs and Media for poll found that people would be rather talk about anything with complete strangers before they discuss credit card debt. Religious views, politics, age, weight and health problems are more popular topics.

Obviously it's difficult to find solutions to a problem when you can't even talk about it. But it may be even more damaging. The rise of consumer credit has made it nearly impossible to tell a person's financial situation without looking at their tax returns. Remember the LendingTree commercial with the guy who has a dream home and a nice car but is in debt up to his eyeballs? That's a very common situation. That guy you envy probably leases his car, is upside down on his house, and pays for his haute couture with a wallet full of credit cards.

But you have no way of knowing that, and so you end up feeling a need to keep up with the Joneses, even though the Joneses are broke. There's nothing you can do about people's unwillingness to talk about their debt, although you certainly should consider opening up about your issues with a few trusted friends. You might find out they have similar problems. But keep in mind that most people are probably in far worse financial shape than you'd think from meeting them. We live in an age of conspicuous consumption.