1969: Credit and Banking

It’s hard to explain how much banking and credit have changed in 40 years. Banking has improved significantly, in my view; and credit has become a little too available.

Funding for college: Kathee and I don’t recollect that there were any student loans available then. I can’t think of one friend who financed his education. Education funding was simple: earn and save. Parents paid for the education of some of our friends (not K and me!). And of course scholarships were available.

Kathee was in college from 1969-1973. For two years she went to St Petersburg Junior College and lived at home with her parents. Her final two years were at Florida State. She paid her way through college as was debt free upon graduation. I was in college from 1967-1971. I lived at home and commuted daily to campus. I was able to earn enough in the Summer time (working at Monsanto Chemical) to basically pay for all of my college expenses and the did miscellaneous jobs (selling shoes, dock work at the Cincinnati paper, etc) to pay for my day to day expenses. My parents paid for my clothing in my first year of college, but after that I was on my own. Dad directed me to buy own car when I was 19 and I was on my own for those expenses as well.

Banking: If you wanted a checking account, you opened one at the Bank. If you needed a savings account, you opened one at the Savings and Loan. There was no branch or inter-state banking then. Then one had to reconcile one’s bank statement (canceled checks were returned with the statement). Today I just log onto Wells Fargo banking and know my balance.

Credit Card: I had a gas station card from Gulf Oil. I think the limit was either $ 100 or $ 200. Gas was only about 35 cents a gallon back then so that was plenty of credit. I remember using my Gulf card for muffler repairs on my VW a couple of times.

I double majored in Economics and Finance at the University of Cincinnati. For one class, I wrote a paper on the emergence of the new MasterCharge and Bank of America cards.

After Kathee and I were married, our very first credit card was Sears Card. As I recollect we used this to buy a washer and dryer.

Because credit was not readily available, people did not easily fall into credit card debt. When Kathee and I married we had zero debt! Different days indeed!

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