How my Value was reduced by my Credit Score
Hey! What another crazy news week, did you use the "Royal Wedding" as a distraction? Well, hope you are ready for this topic because I am just going to jump right in and I can't wait to hear what you have to say about it.
Credit Scores: a number that represents the RISK a lender is willing to take on you when you BORROW money. That is it in a nutshell.
Knowing how obsessed people are with their Credit Score, why am I talking about this as if it isn't already the "norm"? Well because I just woke up from a dream I didn't even know I was in. You know the saying "When Life gives you lemons, you make lemonade? Well, I had to make plenty of lemonade over the past three weeks, let me explain.
How my value was reduced by my Credit Score, this is not an exaggeration I cried heavy tears over this and then I took a breath and let it go. You see I have always felt I have been an extremely responsible adult. I moved out at the age of eighteen, began to establish my credit with the help of someone who was willing to take a "risk" on me and add me to their card. Twenty-six years later I have done the rest on my own. I purchased my first car thirteen years ago and that was a used car. My objective was not having long commutes to and from work, the flexibility to pick up and drop off my daughter at school, easy grocery shopping, no having to wait to for the bus on a cold January morning with my daughter in hand and last but not least perhaps an occasional long weekend getaway or fun date nights.
Turns out my car gave me that and then some, Disney trips, Graduations, Births, Deaths, Breakups, New relationships, laughter, tears, numerous big repairs but so many commutes with Priceless conversations. Years I will forever be grateful for and I will never want to replace. I paid her off in five years while also paying off Credit Card debts and dealing with daily living expenses. During those years I found myself working to pay bills not working to Create my Best Life. On that final payment, I made a decision to begin to live debt free so by the time College rolled around I would not be stretched over my limit.
While my daughter was in High School I was now a single mother. I began to clean up my financial trail. I no longer valued putting my wants over needs. It was no longer ok to make a purchase for a blouse and be paying it off a year later. No longer was upgrading my microwave that important. I began to adopt a minimalist mindset. I paid off my Credit cards one by one. I stopped using store cards, I called and had my rates reduced then once paid off closed most of my accounts. As High School came to a close I had a credit score of about 759, I was feeling good, proud, accomplished, free.
So when two years ago "Betty" began to show signs of wanting to give up I had a nice drive with her and we/I had a "talk". I said "Betty, (I named her that the first time the Navigation System came on and it was a women's voice) I want to let you know how grateful I am for all your years with me and Lil Mama. I need you to please work with me for a little while longer. Lil mama is almost done with school but I can't invest in a new car. Hold me down till Graduation.
We are here...2018...College graduation is upon us and she did exactly what I asked her to do, well almost. This past year my car issues have been deeper and more frequent. When I went to my mechanic in January he said the work she required would cost about $2500. I knew she wasn't worth anywhere close to that, so we had another "talk". I basically said hold on till after I get my tax refund and I will retire you. In April I began to take the steps to get a new car. I saved most of my refund and enlisted a friend in my car research.
I find something reasonable and newer, I fill out all the paperwork, I am confident, proud and grateful to be sitting in front of this man and then he says words pretty much to the effect that either "you never existed or you just came out of jail". Yes! ME!!! Mari, the one who lives on the straight and narrow. The one who pays allllllll her bills on time, has had the same job for over twenty years, the same car for thirteen years, put a kid through college, lived in same apt for almost ten years, pays her taxes, never goes away on Vacation, doesn't live above her means Mari. I have heard many words connected to my name in forty plus years but CAME OUT OF JAIL never in my life.
He proceeds to make lite of his comments and say he would do all possible to make this happen, he would call me the next day with results. I grabbed all my belongings, shook his hand and my friend and I walked out in semi-silence. In the car, my Betty, as we drove off so much began to bubble up inside of me. So many flashbacks so so much. I just went off and began to cry, how dare this MF joke about jail and me in the same sentence. You don't know me, but you can see my history don't tell me you can't. He had access to my SS #, my employment history, my previous car note history, etc... but he chose to joke about none existence and jail.
How my Value was reduced by my Credit Score. Listen, I get it all things in life are a trap. Someone designed it so no one really gets ahead, at least not the hard working regular person. You can't get credit if you don't have credit but you don't have credit because you can't build it without credit. Did I just confuse you? I am confused myself. So because I pay my bills on time, I buy what I need and want as I go along. I don't owe anyone any money, I don't stress about making five payments to five different cards a month I don't exist, I don't have Value. After my meltdown, I cleaned myself up and took a deep breath. I chose to change my perspective, we got home, parked the car, I decided if this didn't pan out Betty would be retired none the less and I would go back to NYC MTA commute.
I get a call the next morning "Mari, great news!, I was able to find a lender that was willing to take you on at a great rate, a great low monthly price just like you wanted and we were able to do all this for you by adding a three year service agreement for $2500.00. Ok, so did you catch that? They were able to help me by adding more debt to my finance and since they knew I was not going to get a better offer anywhere else because of my "history" or lack thereof, he was smiling from ear to ear on the other side. I put him on hold and took a deep breath and chatted with myself for a moment then went back on the line said sounded good, thank you and see you tonight to make transition final.
Today, I have a newer car, back to making payments, reestablishing my credit history and have a Graduation to partake in next week. This experience is not going to change my mind about Credit. I still believe in living debt free but I live in a society that doesn't feel the same so I will tweak my style and use my car payments to rebuild my Credit Score and "Value" for others to see. I will continue to Create my Best life in my own way in spite of the rules placed to make that journey very bumpy.
-yes, you need a good Credit Score, you don't need more than one venue to achieve it. One substantial revolving payment history maker is all you need.
-using a Debit card with a Credit card logo is not building your credit, it is just giving a few perks if even that. Don't get trapped, I repeat... it is NOT building your credit score.
-don't allow ANYONE the power to take away your Value, see the experience no matter what it is as Tool to build you up even higher.
Share your thoughts, I know it was a bit long but great Conversation starters tend to be that way. Let me know your experience with establishing credit, getting credit, or keeping your credit score high.
Always stress-free xo,