Every week, we have someone tell us their story about money. This week, comedian Andy Kindler explains how he learned to stop worrying and embrace his credit card debt.
“I have had problems with money my entire life,” says Kindler.
They all started when he arrived in Los Angeles after a cross-country road-trip.
“There were problems with the car. I needed new tires, first of all. That’s how they get you in,” he says.
He went to an auto shop.
“They would often show you a piece of your car … ‘See that?’ ‘Is that good?’ ‘No, that’s bad.’ How was I supposed to know?” says Kindler.
“I had no money, nothing, zip, so I had to go for credit,” he says. And he didn’t have any credit history to speak of. “[The auto shop was] happy to extend me credit and they said … you won’t have to pay anything to get out of here.”
Kindler thought his troubles were over. But, things got worse.
“I, all of a sudden, developed many problems with my car. ‘You know what, maybe there’s something wrong with my transmission’ — THEY SAID.”
“Quickly, I had run up $5,000 on my [auto shop] card which made the other credit card companies very excited … and that’s how I started to get other credit cards and that’s when the foolish purchases began,” says Kindler. “Eventually I’d probably run up my cards to $30,000 dollars … $80,000 it was up to once.”
“What I suggest to people, if you’re in debt, is to have a brother who is an investment banker, and that is what I ended up doing,” says Kindler.
While his solution might not be a universal one, Kindler says the situation got him to stop worrying so much, and made him comfortable with the ups and downs of a life in show business.
“Sure, we’d all like to have a ROTH IRA … or even a non-Jewish form of IRA … I still feel like you have to deficit-finance your career. What company doesn’t invest at tremendously high-interest rates?”
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