A couple of months ago, Occupy Wall Street quietly published its own version of a personal finance manifesto.
In a nutshell, "The Debt Resistor's Operations Manual" is 122 pages of some of the dodgiest financial advice we've ever seen.
Though there are a few decent pieces of information, it's all lost as soon as they start encouraging cash-strapped consumers to lie, cheat, and steal their way to a debt-free lifestyle.
In one particular passage, Occupy hashes out several steps to living credit-free. We ran them by credit expert John Ulzheimer, President of Consumer Education at SmartCredit.com and blogger for Mint.com.
And he found it all quite amusing.
Below, we list a few parts of Occupy's strategy, along with Ulzheimer's reaction.
Occupy Wall Street: For housing utilities, if you have a roommate, you can ask them to put the accounts in their name. If you live alone, ask a relative or friend.
John Ulzheimer: And as far as turning your family into lenders, family members don't want to lose money any more than lenders want to lose money. They'll know after the first "default" that you're not worthy of borrowing money. So technically, you're still being assessed, just by family members. Further, nothing tears a family apart faster than lending money to other family members. Suggesting that people borrow money from family members is step one toward family disharmony.
OWS: Opt for services that don’t require credit checks. If a company requires a check, try to talk them out of it. Build up an old-fashioned trusting relationship by spending time talking with the person. They may choose to bypass the credit check.
JU: The problem is that most lenders and service providers pre-determine their underwriting standards so talking to someone or building the trust of one person in a large bank is meaningless because the decision to let you have the service has already been made by someone else you'll never meet in a city you'll never visit.
OWS: Create your own credit report: put together a portfolio showing you are a trustworthy person (reference letters, job history, life narrative).
JU: That's as worthless as the paper it's written on. Lenders and service providers don't consider self made credit reports because of the chances that they're not honest... The only way to reject the system, other than ceremonially, is to never, ever borrow money for any reason from any company. Otherwise, you're in the system. You may not like it, but you're in the system.
OWS: Build networks of mutual support in your community so you rely less on outside services.
JU: I'm sorry but I'm laughing reading this. There are over 100,000,000 people in this country (part of the 99%) that have great credit and don't have any issues getting loans or services at great rates and terms. Again, like their letter to the CFPB, it appears that whomever is in charge of OWS's "credit strategy" doesn't understand credit. And you can quote me on that one.
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