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How NOT To Live

Some Current Starbucks Offerings: Real Vital Stuff

During her long exercise walks, Martine frequently finds strange things that have been thrown out, including credit and debit cards, requests to appear in court, and bank statements. She calls these her “tiny treasures.” This post is about one person’s American Express card statement she picked up that I find startling for (1) how much is owed and (2) what types of expenses are charged.

I have chopped off any data fields that would identify the person whose statement this is.

Account Summary

A few years ago, I owed upwards of $16,000 on all my credit cards combined—and I was appalled. Fortunately, I paid off every cent owing before I retired. The Amex user above, whom I will call X, owes $26,315.67 on a single credit card. For the period covered by this statement, X spent $547.08 on new products and services, and $404.45 on interest.

On the lower left of the summary above, note that X would pay off the whole amount in 28 years—assuming that he/she would not add any new expenditures and that the minimum payment is made. (But that is not likely to happen, is it?)

Now let’s look at the expenditures:

Amex Card Expenditures for the Period

Apparently X is a millennial, given the nature of the expenditures. Other than the AT&T Mobile and Chevron Service Station charges, almost all the expenses are for Uber, Starbucks, or Postmates (a food delivery service)—all lifestyle-related. Absent are groceries, rent, auto repair, healthcare, clothing, utilities—in a word necessary expenses.

And yet X is in hock for $26 grand and apparently making minimum payments, while running up the bill on mostly frou-frou charges. This is not a good situation in which to find oneself. If X has other credit cards with similar expenditures, I would consider getting counseling.

We have located X and passed the bill on to him/her.