Monday, April 11, 2005

The doomed credit score

Just so that all are clear, I have a very bad credit score. I have a horrible credit report that when received by fax some poor office gopher has to stand by the fax machine continually adding paper until it is finished.

I take absolute responsibility for my credit report. I have made a LOT of poor choices, starting when I was 18 years old. I had no concept of how to get and use credit wisely, and really didn't appreciate the importance of paying bills on time.

There have been some traumatic events in my life which were much more important then controlling my finances. It is not an excuse - only an explanation. I found myself in a downward spiral, never being able to get out of the bad credit storm. I am now, pardon the pun, paying for it.

It was only a year ago that I finally qualified for a major credit card. And yes, I got a high-interest rate Mastercard with over $250 in "finance charges" to start up ( if anyone is interested). And I have been faithfully paid that card every month, when due, keeping it in good status. I have since qualified for two other major credit cards under the same conditions as the first. And yes, I have been doing very good about keeping those in acceptable standings.

My car is financed at almost 20% interest. I cannot qualify for a home loan, and I think the people at Dell are still laughing at my credit application.

The income isn't the problem. The repeated history of charge offs, late payments, and other collections however seem to bother some lenders. I have tried to start paying off as much as possible. But even paid off collections, while better then charge offs, are still collections.

At about 25 it dawned on me that this could have all been avoided if I had not been extended credit until I was deemed "responsible". Maybe if I had just walked by the little table on the courtyard at the University, perhaps if I had just saved up enough money to buy my car in cash. I have made it a personal mission to start educating those around me about the importance of saving money and living within your means. It is horrible to realize you are 5 years or more away from debt free. It is nauseating to worry about being offered a position with a company because of your credit score. And it is especially troublesome to think about the limitations you have, and may have for a long time, because of some stupid choices you made as a teenager.

Is there a point? I don't think so. More just verbalizing the emotional turmoil that brews inside of me on a daily basis. I am not a victim here, and do not want to be portrayed as one. I am in this mess because of my own irresponsibilities and my refusal to get my self out of it when I could. I just wish there was something more we could to keep other people from screwing up the same way.


At 8:52 PM, Blogger Sheri said...

I followed a link from Jen's blog. I SO agree with you, and the problem is credit is a vicious cycle. It's very tough to "get out" and stay out. (It makes me actually understand addiction, because I love the instant gratification a credit card offers).


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