The Minimum Payment Trap: A Guest Post from Larry Hehn

Larry Hehn is a talented writer from the great state country of Canada. He writes daily at, but today he wrote something for my site.  That’s called a guest post, and here it is.

The Minimum Payment Trap

Have you ever stopped to check some of the fine print at the bottom of your credit card statement? I looked at mine last week and was floored to find the following note:

minimum payment

Yep, as long as I don’t make any more purchases, and I continue to make the minimum monthly payments, I can have my credit card paid off in time to celebrate my 144th birthday.


Thankfully my wife and I attended Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University last year. We plan to have this nasty credit card bill paid off by the end of 2011. But we could just as easily carry a balance on that credit card for another hundred years or more!

I don’t think that was the kind of inheritance my kids were hoping for.

My wife is an insurance broker. She cringes whenever she hears about those insurance plans that let you name your own price, because you get what you pay for. She also cringes during movies when I call her out for thinking about how much a pretend car accident on screen will affect the driver’s rates.

Me: “Ooh, that guy’s payments are definitely going up…”

Her: “Shut up.”

Have you ever been caught in the “minimum payment” trap? Do any of these sound familiar?

  • “What’s the minimum mark I need to pass?”
  • “What’s the lowest possible monthly payment?”
  • “What’s the smallest donation I can make and still get a tax break?”

What if instead you asked:

  • “What’s the best mark I am capable of earning?”
  • “How quickly can we pay it off?”
  • “How much money do they need, and how much can I give?”

When my wife and I changed our focus from “What’s the minimum payment?” to “How fast can we pay this off?” we literally saved ourselves a century of debt.

On a related note, I’d like to thank Bryan for starting up BlogRocket this year. His coaching has shifted my blogging focus from, “What’s the minimum I need to do?” to “What’s the best I can do?” And that has made a world of difference. (Bryan, as a token of my appreciation, you are welcome any time to guest post at my blog…it’s the least I could do.)

Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a dream fulfilled is a tree of life. – Proverbs 13:12

What about you?

Is there an area of your life where you keep falling into the Minimum Payment Trap?

If you don’t mind sharing, we’d love to hear about it.

Larry Hehn writes daily at his blog, Christian in the Rough. Check it out!