Wednesday, May 25, 2011

More bad normative cues from the Idiot Media

Choosing a mortgage lender based on a free flight to Duluth is nothing short of idiotic.

The idiot media is at it again.  CNN has made great strides recently, cutting through the bullshit and renting a pair of balls to say that yes, Obama was born in the USA and there is no "controversy" here.  It only took them three years to do this.

But in a piece today that could have only been bought and paid for by the credit industry, their CNN "Money" section describes, in gushing tones, how you can get free airline miles when you refinance your house!!!!  Gosh, Golly, and Gee-Willikers, let's do that!

The piece at least acknowledges what I have said all along - that airline miles are pretty worthless.  A credit card that gives "free miles" isn't likely to give you a free trip to anywhere, unless you charge $50,000 a year on it.

But refinancing and home equity loans, as well as taking out new credit cards, are all things that should be avoided at all costs - these are the deadly traps that took down our economy, both on a personal scale and a national one.  During the go-go years, people refinanced their homes over and over again, congratulating themselves on their financial acumen by lowering their "monthly cash-flow" while neglecting to notice the huge drop in their net worth (disguised by inflated housing prices).

And airline miles are not free, of course.  So if you pick a credit card or home loan based on free airline miles, a free toaster, or free S&H Green Stamps, well, you are likely going to pay extra for those "free" items - free is never free.  And it may be hidden in something as innocuous as a $199 "document fee" - because free airline miles don't cost much to the lender, mostly because they aren't worth much.

In this era of low-cost travel, an airline ticket is not that big a deal.  And traveling by airplane is no big treat.  And complicating your finances by tossing in ancillary, unrelated transactions, is just another example of faux financial acumen.  You are kidding no one but yourself.

Get off the merry-go-round of chasing coupons, discounts, airline miles, and free toasters.  Look for the best prices and best basic deals, instead.  Because those deals are going to be far better in the long run, in most cases.

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