A few days ago I got something in the mail that said it was "INFORMATION ON YOUR NEW EMPLOYEE BENEFITS!!" It even featured the logo of my employer, Cumulus Broadcasting on the outside. I was a bit worried because having just completed our annual enrollment, I knew that I had not signed up for any "new benefits"--and this mailer certainly didn't appear to have anything to do with my 401(k), my High Deductible-Health Savings Account insurance plan, dental insurance or Long Term Disability insurance.
It turned out that the mailer wanted me to know that I was now enrolled in a "great program" that will "allow me to purchase great brand name merchandise" for "affordable monthly payments". The best part? My job at Cumulus Broadcasting "is my credit". I may have missed it somewhere in there--but this will likely "help me rebuild my credit!" as well--having "damaged" it by paying off my credit cards, student loans, vehicle loans and even my mortgage.
Now as someone who is on the Dave Ramsey Plan--and who has not had consumer debt in seven years--and who has been completely debt-free for two years--I find it a bit insulting that my employer would "enroll" us in a rent-to-own type of scheme. I'm sure some of my co-workers will be drawn in by the temptation of suddenly being able to "afford" a 60-inch Hi-Def TV for a "mere" $50 a month--for five years--never once considering the exorbitant interest rate that they are being charged. It actually reminds me of the old "Company Store" concept that miners dealt with back in the early 1900's--where their paycheck was already spent on provisions sold to them by their employer by the time they got it--trapping them in their job. Perhaps that is Cumulus' strategy here--keep the sword of debt hanging over us to keep us in line.
Now if my bosses really wanted to offer a "benefit", I could just give them a list of items I would like to buy and then they could give me the extra money every month to put into savings--until I have enough to buy those items! Not only would that be interest-free--but I could also buy them when they are on sale--making it an even better value! Now that would be a real "benefit".