Little Red Riding Hood and the Big Bad Debt

shutterstock_74372464_Red Riding Hood

A FamilyMint Fairytale

Once upon a time there lived a little girl who was loved so dearly, and it could be seen very clearly.  Her name was Little Red Riding Hood, a girl so sweet and so good.  Her parents gave her all the best, but did they truly prepare her for her first big test?  She was popular and had many a friend, but unfortunately did not learn how to wisely save and spend.

Red, as she was affectionately known, was now all grown and heading off to college to gain more knowledge. Red's parents felt quite confident and clear that she was ready to face her future without any fear. “Now study hard, be sure to write, and most of all don't stay out late at night,” were her parents farewell words.  After a farewell hug and kiss, Red set out filled with confidence and bliss.

Unbeknownst to Red, laying in wait just ahead, was a conniving wolf needing to be fed.  Neither cookies nor treats were this wolf’s delight, but financial ignorance he fed on all day and all night.

Red spots the wolf who looks harmless enough and he sees a prey that he could easily bluff. “Where are you off to little girl in red?” asked the wolf with dollars dancing in his head.

Now since Red was never taught about credit or debt, the wolf didn't seem to be much of a threat.  “I'm off to college," said Red, "to make new friends and to grow in knowledge.”

“I have something here to start off your college career,” said the wolf slyly. “And I'm sure you'll agree it will make your life easy and oh, so carefree. When you are out and about, using cash can be hard, so be sure to keep with you this handy credit card. There are so many things you will need and surely want," said the wolf all nonchalant.

“Are you sure it is okay, are you sure it is safe?” asked Red with an inquisitive face.

“For sure, for sure, it's better than cash and you don't have to pay it back in a flash.  If that doesn't entice you maybe this will, sign up today and I'll throw in a grill - not a penny is due until your next bill.”

“What's the big deal, I've seen my parents use theirs to buy everything from a TV to a fast food meal,” Red thought to herself.  By signing on the line, the card and grill were hers to enjoy, and the promise of freedom was now hers to employ.

Now off to college she went with the card in her hand, how she would use it, she didn't yet have a plan.  But after the first swipe, the easier it got, and soon everything was charged with very little thought.

“My, that's a fine looking dress.  Of course I shouldn't expect to wear anything less.”

“A few dozen pizzas for the dorm, not to worry, I've got it covered, just make sure to hurry.”

“A new TV and stereo would be so much fun after our homework is finished and done.”

“A trip to Mexico with some friends…oh what could be nicer than starting new trends?”

All of a sudden and to her surprise, the bill came due, and oh what a debt Red grew.  “I charged a little here and I charged a little there, but I never saw the signs that said buyer beware.”  With little cash on hand and such a great sum the best she could do was pay the bare minimum.  But there was something else Red did not know: by paying the minimum, the debt would continue to grow.  "How could this happen, how could this be, interest is accruing and what is this late fee?"

“I was foolish and unwise to buy into those Wolf’s lies.  Spending money I did not have to buy things I did not need only dug me a hole of which I paid no heed.  Now instead of life that is easy and carefree, I am buried in debt because of my shopping spree.”

The moral of the story is simple you see.  Debt is a burden and a place you don't want to be.  Be money-smart, learn to wisely spend and save, and when you grow up you won't become money's slave.

Copyright Little Red Riding Hood and the Big Bad Debt © 2012.  All rights reserved