Settling debts yourself

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-31-2010
Settling debts yourself
16
Mon, 03-19-2012 - 10:33am

I am going to relate a true story, not to give advice, but to show you alternative ways to think about debt if you are really in a bind.

I know we always say to take care of your four walls first - food, health, shelter, clothing/transportation (within reason) first, then pay debts as you have money available.

#Marie

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iVillage Member
Registered: 12-31-2010
Wed, 03-28-2012 - 10:22am
Serenity,
Reason enough is that I really want to learn about finances, so I want to see how different things affect my score so I can talk from experience. I pay car insurance and have not had an accident, ever, so this is another kind of insurance, financial insurance.
The first year I pulled the score - in 2008 - there was another woman on my report from Georgia with my same name, she had defaulted on electric bills, apartment rent and credit cards, all showing on my credit report. She was not me, I found out she was black, had 5 kids, I knew where she lived, different social security number (that an apartment actually gave me, along with birthdates of her kids - talk about lack of privacy!)
I fought for 3 months to get that cleared off my report.
SO now I pay $15 a month to monitor my report every day if I choose to. Yes, I have 20 open credit cards, have paid off 4 home loans, and 3 cars, so I have a lot of positive credit notes. I also have a couple late pays, but those seem to fall off in about two years.
We pay for a lot of really weird things, why not pay for something that impacts us financially and can actually make a difference?
#Marie
Community Leader
Registered: 08-25-2006
Tue, 03-27-2012 - 11:22pm
I got a free year one time (breach at one the banks, so we got a free year). But have always debated whether it worth paying for. If I remember right, it wasn't real cheap.

I am curious what you feel is reason enough to pay for a score.

Serenity
iVillage Member
Registered: 12-31-2010
Tue, 03-27-2012 - 8:03pm
I get my actual scores from all three agencies at Transunion.com. I have to pay a monthly fee, but every month I can pull all three reports and they are right on with what anyone can pull on me.
Yep, I pay for the reports, but it is worth it for me to know what is going on.
#Marie
Community Leader
Registered: 08-25-2006
Tue, 03-27-2012 - 5:49pm

Gotcha!

Serenity
iVillage Member
Registered: 12-31-2010
Wed, 03-21-2012 - 6:51pm
The FICO system is about as insane as it gets. It is not about having little debt, in fact, just the contrary, if you have handled a LOT of debt and have credit limits open, that helps the most.
I had a short sale on a house, a couple late payments before it closed and lots of credit card debt, but my score is over 800. The key is that I have about 20 cards available, I never closed any of them, and only have a car loan and student loan left.
Having a lot of open credit cards you use once a year and pay off immediately, really helps. Making sure you use no more than 1/3 of the balance available and settle any issues outstanding with the CC companies.
#Marie
iVillage Member
Registered: 04-16-2008
Wed, 03-21-2012 - 11:12am

I agree, that's crazy.

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-09-2002
Tue, 03-20-2012 - 6:44pm

So agree with both of you.

Community Leader
Registered: 07-26-1999
Tue, 03-20-2012 - 3:56pm
I have to agree Serenity, people complain and complain about the state this country is in, but they get punished for actually living within their means, not taking on debt, etc. It doesn't make any sense at all.
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Community Leader
Registered: 08-25-2006
Tue, 03-20-2012 - 3:40pm
Don't get me going on the FICO system, either. Remember my son who couldn't rent an apartment because he had no score? And couldn't get any credit because he had no score. And this is with a work history of a two or three years with one employer. About as long as possible with someone that young. Made no difference that all of his bills were paid on time, etc. and no debt.

God forbid someone pays cash for everything.
Serenity
iVillage Member
Registered: 05-09-2002
Tue, 03-20-2012 - 2:54pm
I'm sorry to hear you have some of the same odd things on yours. I think my friend thought I was just bad about paying things until one day, her credit dropped exponentially . She always pays things on time. Odd things do come up. It is a crazy system if those who settle have way better credit than those who pay 100%. After all, the FICO is used to see how risky it is to lend to you...

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