Southaven mayor restricts mayoral credit card debt

Like many, Mississippians likely believe that their finances are a personal matter, and, if they experience financial challenges, like credit card debt, these challenges will also be private. That is not always the case, however. Sometimes financial difficulties can permeate your more public life, even your career.

The Southaven mayor has recently had a public spotlight placed on his financial matters. In his case, this scrutiny is primarily the result of his own decision to be public about his credit card use.

The newly-elected mayor, Darren Musselwhite, has decided to restrict credit card use for himself and future mayors of Southaven. At a city board meeting, he announced that the mayor's position will no longer have a credit card. If the mayor plans to expense a cost, the mayor will have to seek reimbursement by providing the proper documentation.

The decision to monitor the mayor's expenses and potential credit card debt arises from Mississippi's garnishment of the wages of the ex-mayor, who was accused of charging uncovered expenses in his professional capacity -- a topic discussed in a blog about a year ago. New mayor Musselwhite wants to avoid any appearance of impropriety.

Learning from the new mayor's example, Mississippians can take similar precautions in their own life to improve their financial situations. Being forthcoming with themselves and family members, like the mayor, is one tool to begin combating financial problems, like credit card debt. Establishing a budget and avoiding delinquent payments are other tactics.

Making credit card and other bill payments on time is specifically important in avoiding delinquency. The law defines delinquency as the situation in which an individual defaults on a payment that has come due. When a Mississippians fails to make a payment, this failure triggers the debt collection process.

Financial challenges are never easy. Being aware and forthcoming about your financial situation, however, may be a way to actually tackle your difficulties. Sometimes it may actually be more beneficial to be more public instead of private about your finances, just like the new mayor.

Source: Desoto Times Tribune, "No credit card for new mayor," Robert Lee Long, Aug. 22, 2013.

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