I posted this update on my Facebook page yesterday and received a slew of likes and messages, more than I could have imagined. You see, we all have experience with this. And you know what? This probably won’t be the last time I have debt (maybe one day I’ll buy a house? Another car? God forbid medical bills?) It’s easy when you’re a young person to feel like a failure by accumulating debt. It doesn’t help that the creditors then pressure you, or in some cases, make you feel crappy, about your debt. I came from a responsible family and a mother who still pays off her credit card bill every month. It doesn’t matter if you came from a financially smart family or not, you can have debt. And if you have debt, the best thing you can do is stay strong, take responsibility and work towards an end goal. Quit ignoring the phone calls from the creditors; buck it up and tell them what’s up. If you can only pay them half this month, tell them. They may not like it and it might hurt your APR, but it’s better than letting this compound into months of stress (or a lawsuit). If you can’t make the minimum payment, then call a debt counseling service. They’re there to help you. And if you do, make sure you find an accredited, not-for-profit service. Here is a good place to start.
On a side note: I’m also in the process of dumping my Bank of America account and already opened a savings and checking account at my local credit union (note: I was a member of a credit union years ago, but when I moved to LA, I opened a BOA account because I was traveling a lot). I’m done with big banks who will stop at nothing to take advantage of you. I’ve had horrible experiences with Bank of America, who continues to charge me monthly fees just because they can and I let them. If you want to get an even better handle on your finances, I recommend switching to a credit union. Here is a helpful infographic as to why credit unions are better than big banks, but in short: they’re non-profit and owned by the members, they typically offer more competitive rates and have less hidden fees.
Ok. That was my PSA for the day.
I’m not a financial consultant and I find history way more interesting than math, but if you want to chat with me some more about this topic, please feel free to leave a comment below (or shoot me a message through the Hire Me section).