I've given it a lot of thought and have decided that I need to make some drastic lifestyle changes.

I need to stop going to the gym five days a week and become a bona-fide couch potato. I probably don't have enough money to last me for the rest of my life, so what's the use of working to get a Baywatch-like body and taking life-extending supplements if your midday and evening meals consist of a la carte helpings of Alpo?

I'm also going to routinely ignore my monthly statements -particularly those from the mortgage and credit-card companies.

To think, I punctually paid my bills for more than two decades and foolishly built up a credit score of nearly 800, when all I had to do was purchase a home that I knew I could not nearly afford and run up my charge cards to such mind-numbing figures that would take two lifetimes to pay down, let alone one.

Sound crazy?

Not really.

Much like that iPhone commercial, the current administration has an app for that. Or more specifically, one for the residents of deadbeat nation, a swelling population if there ever was one.

Earlier this year I railed about the mortgage plan that would create a fund - paid for by people like me - that seeks to slash the monthly payments of between 4 million and 5 million "responsible" homeowners, which would cost in the neighborhood of $275 billion.

Of course the definition of "responsible" is somewhat nebulous.

More recently, lawmakers passed major credit card reform in the form of the Credit Card Bill of Rights.

To be fair, the bill does provide some relief for consumers, but let's for a moment examine what is basically being left unsaid. This bill, like the one for homeowners, slices the revenue of the issuers so it has to be made up in other ways.

Without going into tedious details, the bill places

restrictions on interest rate increases, gives greater notification about changes in a holder's credit card agreement, requires payments to be applied to balances with higher interest rates, among others.

So what can the folks who pay on time - as opposed to the deadbeats who purposely charge up more than my annual salary with no intent of paying it down - expect prior to the bill's projected February 2010 debut?

For one, you can safely expect a spike in credit card interest rates, prior to when the bill takes effect. Since the legislation restricts issuers from raising rates on new customers, I'm not so naïve as to think the banks won't boost rates before then.

Also, you're likely to see a major pullback on rewards and bonus programs - a vital strategy with regard to vacation planning, or determining if there will be a vacation at all at Chez Carlino.

Also, expect to see more cards that carry annual fees, something that about 20 percent do now according to reports. Also count on a spike in fees for balance transfers, cash advances or late payments.

I've already checked out the school systems in Deadbeat Nation and the kids are excited that I now can spend more money on them instead of diligently taking care of my monthly obligations and best of all, with no repercussions.

Now if I can just find that change of address card...

Register or login for access to this item and much more

All Accounting Today content is archived after seven days.

Community members receive:
  • All recent and archived articles
  • Conference offers and updates
  • A full menu of enewsletter options
  • Web seminars, white papers, ebooks

Don't have an account? Register for Free Unlimited Access