Self-made billionaire Mark Cuban has advice for those looking to build wealth: Don't use credit cards.
"Cut up your credit cards. If you use a credit card, you don't want to be rich," the "Shark Tank" star wrote on his blog in 2008. "The first step to getting rich requires discipline."
It's advice he wishes he had heard in his 20s, he told Business Insider in 2014, "that credit cards are the worst investment that you can make. That the money I save on interest by not having debt is better than any return I could possibly get by investing that money in the stock market.
"I thought I would be a stock market genius. Until I wasn't. I should have paid off my cards every 30 days."
Credit card companies make it incredibly easy to spend money you don't have: Most cards only require you to pay 1 percent to 3 percent of your balance each month, a tempting option if your budget is tight, but a costly one, thanks to interest. Perhaps that's why U.S. households now collectively hold over a trillion dollars in credit card debt.
Cuban's solution is to ditch the plastic. Most Americans, 71 percent, have at least one credit card, though, CreditCards.com reports. And more and more Americans are opening accounts: The American Banking Association found that as of the end of 2017, there were 364 million open credit card accounts in the U.S., a 4.1 percent increase since the end of 2016.
The billionaire's view is rather extreme, and assumes that those who use a credit card will carry a balance that accrues interest, but if used responsibly, credits cards can help you build credit and even net rewards.
When you're getting started as an independent adult, it's important to establish good credit, since that allows you to make larger purchases in the future, such as a car or home. That's why money experts like David Bach recommend opening a credit card in college.
"Get the credit card because it's great to help you build your credit score early," the bestselling author and self-made millionaire tells CNBC Make It. But use it responsibly: "You don't have to use a credit card a lot to build your credit score — you just have to pay your credit card bills on time and pay those cards off in full every month."
As Bach notes, if you stick to a few basic guidelines, you can easily use a credit card without going into debt.
But if you find yourself not making payments in full, or if you have already racked up credit card debt, Cuban's cash-only solution may be the answer for you.
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