• Debt, Debt and more Debt!

      Debt , Debt and more Debt!

      by Piper Holiday

      I am not a huge fan of ostentation. As I do not specifically oppose it however, deductively, I assert my stance to be that of indifference. I once believed that people who sank themselves into an Ocean of debt lay cast-away by their own design. A creation of which was their own fault. However, I no longer believe that nonsense, and accordingly, I have completely abandoned my prejudicial notions of the past. Hence, I now plod through a Sea of amazement upon hearing the horror stories as to how some people, despite their efforts, or good intentions, landed in a Billabong of Debt!

      Most people are familiar with the expression ďDonít live beyond your means.Ē Contrarily however, here are a few reasons (not excuses) as to how some people wound up catching a bus from 700 Score Avenue, transferring at Bad Credit Lane and then ferrying on over to Mounting Debt Mountain! With that, now they are stuck on the mountain because the Credit Bureau will not allow them to beg, steal or borrow their way back to their original starting point.

      1. James- a government employee of 17 years was terminated when the agency decided to downsize his unit. They referred to it as a Reduction in Force (RIF). While actively seeking employment, James managed to exhaust his lifeís saving within a 7 month period. As his finances were rapidly dwindling, he began to rob Petyr to pay Paul while putting Pious on the back burner. During Jamesí attempt to stave off poverty, Petyr, Paul and Pios reported him to the Credit Bureau. Today, James is still seeking employment; however, he cannot manage to pass the background check as his credit is in the toilet. He is quite depressed; however, he has no health insurance and thus cannot seek medical treatment!

      2. Tristan- a highly skill auto engineer that had his sights set on opening his own business, willingly performed his filial duty when he agreed to co-sign on a business loan for his Dad. What Tristan did not know however, was that his father was a degenerate gambler. Tristan, who had such high hopes for his own future, cannot get a line of credit anywhere.

      3. Bethany- When Bethany turned 21; her grandmother explained to her that, by applying for various low limit Department Store Credit Cards, that action would assist in helping her build a solid credit dossier for the future. What was not explained was that, unlike her grandmotherís generation of Woodward and Lothrop, Garfinckelís, and the Hecht Company manually, and deficiently, keeping track of their debtors, overall recordkeeping has evolved. Unfortunately for Bethany, not only was she not bringing in enough income to cover her debt, her Grandmother, whom provided her with such bad financial advice, was unable to assist in helping her pay off that debt!

      4. Kenneth- Kenneth graduated college with a Masters of Social Work. However, his student loan debt is so out of control that Kenneth may soon be a recipient of social services himself!

      5. Michael and Rebecca- Michael and Rebecca, who are both employed and live in a nice quiet neighborhood (fully equipped with Home Owner Association Fees), decided that they wanted to start a family. After experiencing difficulty in becoming pregnant, the couple sought the help of IVF. That of which their medical insurance did not cover. Further down the line, after 8 cycles of IVF, fully accompanied by heavy debt, the couple became pregnant. Though a blessed event this may be, 5 months into the pregnancy, Rebecca was put on bed rest. Thus, the couple is now down one salary in addition to Rebecca not having long term disability insurance nor her job offering extended sick options or Paid Family Leave. Ok, no worries. Michael strategized that he would work as much overtime as possible to make up the difference. Great plan! Everything was progressing accordingly; that is, until Michael was involved in a 4 car accident that was determined to be his fault.

      Unfortunately, as luck would have it,
      based upon their existing circumstances, during the process of the couple trying to manage their finances, as a temporary fix, they dropped their full coverage, and opted for liability only insurance. Needless to say, although their bundle of joy is comfy cozy in his own little world, the parents no longer have a car, fell behind on their bills, and are now currently being sued as it relates to the car accident. The things that parents do for their children!

      6. Paul- Big brother Paul came to the rescue when his brother-in-law abandoned his sister and their children. Paul sacrificed his savings, and paycheck, to ensure that his sister was okay and that his nieces and nephews wanted for naught. Unfortunately the credit bureau did not share his loyalty! A few years down the road, Paulís sister managed to get on her feet. Paul on the other hand, cannot get a line of credit from a loan shark!

      7. Carolyn- Very early in her working career, Carolyn decided that she wanted to have a house built. Nothing fancy. To the contrary actually. Something small and quaint. While working with an independent contracting company, things were progressing accordingly and as planned. That is, until the contractor unexpectedly died. Because this was a small company, there was no backup plan. Unfortunately, Carolyn had to take out financial loans, withdraw money against credit cards, pawn family heirloomsÖthe works. Carolyn managed to hustle just enough to get her house built; but itís unfurnished because she canít afford to purchase furniture and no one is going to give Carolyn credit.

      8. Cybil- During an ugly breakup, and upon realizing that her ex had allowed their home to go into foreclosure, Cybil went on a mad dash to find a small home for her, the children and their dogs. As bad luck would have it, she found a home and had no problem closing the deal. Everything was fine until 6 months down the line when she began receiving $900 electric bills and $1600 water bills. The long short is that the mortgage company sold her a house that, though aesthetically pleasant, was not insulated, had no working air (which caused her to have to use portable units) had no energy efficient appliances, had inconspicuous gaps between every door, floor and window seal, and had a super major water leak beneath its structure! Cybil has a great job, but as it stands, the bulk of her money is applied toward utility bills. When children and dogs are a factor, there is absolutely no qualm over who is going to be paid between JC Pennyís and the utility company!

      9. William- After 32 years of marriage, Williamsís wife Elizabeth passed away after an extended illness. Prior to her death, during the course of her medical treatment, William exhausted EVERYTHING of value to keep up with the medical bill. Upon her passing, he had to scrape up what he could for funeral and burial expenses. William, who has always been independent, self sufficient and the provider, is sleeping on a friendís couch because, in addition to being older and depressed due to the loss of his soul mate, his credit is so tanked that he cannot even get approval for an efficiency apartment!

      10. Dennis- As reported by Dennis, his ex-wife, to whom he had been married for 9 years, and of whom was cheating on him for 6 of those years, took him for everything that he had! But prior to the actual divorce, Williamsí ex charged their credit cards to the absolute limit, almost emptied their joint accounts and defaulted on her portion of a loan that they co-signed on for her sister!

      There are millions of stories such as these where people have very plausible explanations as to how they arrived in such predicaments. Sure, some of us probably would have made different decisions in some of the above instances. Even still, who is to say that life, and circumstance would not have derailed our plans as well? Sometimes we make bad choices, but that is generally predicated on lack of experience or understanding. It is unfortunate for us that as a society, we are not as forgiving as we should be. The same way that we dictate a
      hearing be held to determine someoneís guilt or innocence, is the same way we should handle a personís credit woes.

      Upon assessing each individual debt, and the circumstance surrounding it, if it is found that a given situation was beyond a personís control, and that they were not in default due to being remiss in their responsibilities to pay their debt, I believe that the specific matter should be dismissed without further consideration. I am not suggesting that we dismiss all debt at the expense of the creditor; I am merely citing that we need to get to being a compassionate and empathetic society that is willing to actually help people instead of always offering a band aid solution such as filing Bankruptcy.