5 Debt Lessons From World Dictators

A Google search for “get out of debt” returns 284 million results — more than triple the number of Americans with debt in collections.

So there’s plenty of advice out there, but not enough people reading it. If this were The People’s Socialist Republic of Debtopia, we could just force you to read our step-by-step guide to getting out of debt. But since it’s not, we’ll do the next best thing: Teach you how to be a debt dictator.

We figure being offensive is a good way to get people’s attention. And really, comrade, it’s for your own good. So check out the infographic below, read on for more advice right after, and start cracking down on your debt…


How To Be A Debt Dictator

Sure, this might be tasteless. But anything to teach good money sense: Rule over your credit card bills by doing the opposite of the world’s most autocratic leaders. Here are the 5 edicts for getting out of debt…

1. Don’t ignore what you owe.

Vladimir Putin is in the midst of a financial crisis because he cannot control what he owes. As the rouble’s value plummets, Russia’s banks are literally running out of dollars because Putin directed the Kremlin to distribute money for political favors instead of spending money on diversifying the economy.

If you have steep balances on multiple credit cards, pay off the one with the highest interest rate first. What you save in interest charges, use to pay down the next-highest card.

2.  Don’t wait to negotiate.

Fidel Castro and his brother Raul taunted the United States for more than 50 years before negotiating a deal with President Obama. If you’ve run up big bills on your credit cards, call your issuer now and ask for a break. Many times, they’ll extend favorable terms. But don’t wait until it’s too late for these breaks to help.

3.  Don’t delay making a transfer.

Syria’s Bashar al-Assad started a brutal civil war because he refused to transfer power. You can use a balance transfer to move what you owe on a credit card to one with a less dangerous interest rate — and with a decent credit score, you can get a zero-percent rate for up to two years.

4. Don’t go it alone.

North Korea’s isolationist policy and lousy economy have made the country, and leader Kim Jong-il, the butt of many jokes. While you could threaten your credit card company with hacks and nuclear bombs, it probably won’t work out. Consider seeking credit counseling instead — you can get a professional’s free advice and they may even negotiate debt on your behalf.

5. Don’t be afraid to start over.

Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe has held power for more than 30 years, and has nothing to show for it. Except 85 percent unemployment, billions in debt, and baby elephants he’s shipping off to China. Bankruptcy is a last resort, but it is an option you should use when there’s no other choice.

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