– Debt-Free Living is Possible

How to achieve financial freedom fast – Debt-Free Living is Possible
I was staying out of the fray this time

OK, I was staying out of the fray this time until that last comment. Based on Pup Art’s ideology, a recovering alcoholic cannot tell someone it is dumb to drink. A former drug addict cannot be an example to people and tell about the dangers of drug and a parent who had a child out of wedlock cannot espouse the virtue of waiting until marriage.

Please, let’s be real. There is a reason why bankruptcy is in the list of most significant life stressors. It ranks up with the death of a loved one and divorce.

I once heard a wise saying that smart men learn from their mistakes and smarter men learn from other people’s mistakes.

BK should be the absolute last resort, when all else has failed. That includes delivering pizzas, selling everything but the kids. When we realize that, with the exception of medical bills, we chose to buy on credit. We owe the money.

Today, CNN said that Congress is trying to make the CC Companies straighten up their act as far as rates, fees, etc. Of course, it can all be a bunch of hogwash, but we can hope for better things to come.

My roommate who lives with us had a full time job, not a speck of credit card debt, and was driving an old van, living in his means.

Lymphoma struck last year, he is kind of OK, getting maintenance Chemo now and is still unable to work other than a few hours a week. Had a problem with embolisms during the heavy-duty chemo over the last summer, was hospitalized 2 times and almost lost it. They put a ‘screen’ or net in his leg to stop the blood clots from coming up to his lungs.

Medical bills in the hundred of thousands come here daily and he has no money.

Dine and Fandy for ‘responsibility’… He doesn’t nor ever has smoked, is not a drinker or abusive to his system. HELLO??? What might HE have done so wonderfully different???

I am happy to see the message below. I get tired of people telling me “If you lost more weight and exercised, you wouldn’t need to take insulin. HUH? as a type ONE diabetic, who was an athlete at the time of diagnosis and still am pretty dang fit at 51, that simply is not the way it always works! All the generalized attitudes of some folks would scare me… I guess if their kid gets sick, it is the kid’s fault…?

Ah well, we for the most part are not trying to escape responsibility, but dangit, we should be allowed to have a say: “I’d love to pay you, but I can’t afford that much since you raised the APR so much. Won’t you reconsider and let me make payments I can afford?” when these requests are met with robotic indifference, and no effort from them to just work with you, what then would those pious folks among us do?

December 3, 2016, bankruptcy credit card debt
I am glad there is someone who agrees with me

I won’t argue with the others. I and many others can only hope someday the US Congress and other leaders in this country will get out of the pockets of the big corporations , take responsibility, and do what is right for the middle class who are suffering the most from the predators who take advantage of people every chance they get. For anyone who wants to know about big corporations who have filed bankruptcy it’s only a Google search away.

That doesn’t make BK acceptable, just because these people ran away from responsibility and irresponsible spending. BTW, you left off Toni Braxton who, rumor has it, filed BK because she was trying to get out of a contract she signed.

The list of corporations will be even less impressive because I am sure the CEOs of those companies are siting pretty in their big houses and lavish lifestyles.

I filed BK in my early twenties (17 years ago) because I didn’t think I had it in me to pay my debts down. And, yes, I also ran away from responsibility and blamed it all on a boyfriend I had at the time who helped me rack up my CC debt. Now, in hindsight, I see that I only had myself to blame and that I could have made it work. I could have gotten another job, delivering pizzas at night or something and paid my CCs off. I will never again file BK. I would rather go through CCCS and work out a payment plan and tackle my responsibilities and not just throw my hands up in the air and say “I give up”

All I can say is that I am glad the BK laws got tougher. Hopefully, it will reduce the number of frivolous BK filings.

I forgot one on my list who is well known and filed bankruptcy: DAVE RAMSEY! The guy who tells most of his fiollowing to eat beans and rice!

SOOO right!! If the Creditors would work within what people actually have to pay them, most people wouldn’t ever consider bankruptcy. Most creditors are unwilling to work with you. The payments they want are HUGE, and they don’t care that they are not the only ones you have to pay.

People have all types of unexpected circumstances that happen to them. One minute you are picking out carpet and going to the grocery store, and the next minute your name is being called through out the grocery store because your husband has fallen 18ft. into a concrete basement.

Not everyone just ran credit up to take bankruptcy. It happens, there are people out there that have done that. The VAST majority have had something happen that drastically changed their way of living, job loss, medical expenses etc… Most people are not “dead beats” that decide one day, “I just don’t think I like living frugally, I think I’ll take bankruptcy now”. Sometimes though YOUR world just “freaks out” around you and there is no other way to move forward. Court Summons and Judgements don’t help you pay if it’s not there to pay with.

November 1, 2016, bankruptcy
Question about CC interest rates?

I think I am asking this question for a lot of people when I ask, what do you do when you interest rates on your cards are so high but you don’t qualify to get another low interest rate card or a loan??

It is just plain stupid to continue to pay those crazy rates…there has to be other options. CCCS comes to mind but is there anything else??

BANKRUPTCY IS NOT THE ANSWER. Taking responsibility for your actions is. Work harder. Spend less. Simple steps to live by to avoid this problem altogether. Plus, bankruptcy just passes your debt on to other innocent people.

Sometimes when one has his or her back against the wall, bankruptcy IS the only way out as time is not on your side. Creditors refuse to work with you, they want their money NOW & on their terms! Whether or not you have money is not their concern.

I am a gay man. This list reminds me of one that gays use to explain to people that it’s okay if you’re gay because the following famous people were gay. (Actually a few are in this list.) But I don’t see the connection of why, if it was okay for these people to file for bankruptcy, it’s okay for the average person to do so. I prefer the answer someone gave that bankruptcy is not the answer, but taking responsibility is the answer.

It’s the same with other aspects of your life. Are you going to overeat, so that you subject your body to obesity and the ensuing exposure to diabetes, cardiovascular disease, glaucoma, arthritis? Or are you going to learn to moderate your eating habits and exercise, so that you can enjoy better health? It’s the same with personal finances. Are you going to make an effort to budget, keep track of your finances, and live modestly? Most successful people in this list are achieving this and helping the rest of us by sharing their experiences.

One would wander what excesses drove the people in the list you post to overspend, then need to file for bankruptcy. Why not avoid excesses in the first place? People are not corporations, so please spare us the list of companies that have filed for bankruptcy. Those corporations may have been led by people prone to financial excesses in their personal lives. The current drive to clean out the boardrooms of public companies and disclose the secret golden parachute arrangements they have with top executives is a good trend. It seems that executives who depart make more money when doing so because of secretive lucrative agreements they arranged when hired.

What to do?

In the last year we have paid off close to 30,000 in debt. YAHOO!! We did this by using Dave Ramsey’s Plan from his book. We have just paid off our last credit card. We have our van (6000.00) and a 1st (115000.00) and 2nd (23000.00) mortgage left. My husband is going to be deployed to Iraq and will be gone a minimum of 4 months. We are considering a couple of options.

One is sale our home (profit about 35000.00-40000.00) and I could move in with my parents while he is gone and save the money that would have been going to our home and utilities. We would also sale my husbands truck and trailer (profit about 6500.00) Plus the money that he would make while he is deployed. We would have close to 60,000.00-70,000.00 saved when he gets home and we could then put that towards another home and not have the hefty second mortgage.

Another option is to stay in this home and sell the truck and trailer and use some of the money he makes while gone to pay off most of the second mortgage and stay here with just the first mortgage left to pay off.

We would need to do some fixing up inside and outside if we stay. We are not in love with the neighborhood or the layout of the house. The big bonus to this house is the 1/3 acre back yard. So we are not sure which route to take. Would love to have input as to what you guys think!!

If you like the house and think fixing it up would help, stay in the house and do the second path.

If you would prefer to sell off everything (house, truck, trailer) and will save the money he makes while deployed, go for it and move in with your parents. You would have to give up living on your own and you will be moving to a different home once he returns.

What does your gut say? I would just put 20% down and put the rest in an index fund.

If you aren’t in love with the house, the layout, it needs work etc….and you aren’t in love with the neighborhood. I’d sell the house. Not so much for the debt, but because life is too short to be in a place as special as your home should be, and you aren’t loving it EVERYDAY. Getting out of a huge mortgage, knowing there is a possibility of finding a place you love, and having such a large down-payment to make a smaller morgage for you are all plus’!!

Staying with your parents, for me, would be a whole ‘nother subject!! LOL LOL However, if you can deal with that, then go for it. Getting out of debt the way you have is such a wonderful relief for anyone. Congratulations!!

Thank you for your advice. That is kind of how we are feeling. My parents have a house that is a great layout, there room is on one side and there are 2 rooms and the bathroom on the other, so we would not be cramped. They have a big home, so I think I could do it temporarily. The weight on our shoulders is getting lighter and lighter as we get out of debt. I love it!!!

September 1, 2016, mortgage payment plan
The Credit Card Game

They have no shame ! Bad enough that they show up at universities all over the place. Now there is a CC game Get those kids hooked early! Convince them they need stuff, stuff and more stuff. If you want it, you can have it . Today! Just whip out the plastic and it’s yours! Let them know they can’t live without a credit card! Ha! I wonder if this new game gives away all the dirty tricks these co’s play! That’s how I got into my troubles. Silly me at the time thought it was “free money” and that I will pay for it later when I get a good job. Later came, but I was already way in over my head.

Maybe you are one of these people that shouldn’t have a credit card.

Harvard Professor Elizabeth Warren talks about this in her book, All Your Worth.

I haven’t used a credit card for several years. I was careless with them. My first husband was an alcoholic and I attended some AA meetings with him. They have all sorts of sayings in 12 step groups. One I remember was One drink is too many… twenty not enough. I think that can be turned around with someone who can’t control spending with a credit card to read One trip to the mall is too many.. twenty is not enough. It’s easy to get in over ones head when that compound interest starts adding up. Best wishes.. I hope you get out from under.

Thanks for the positive thoughts and well wishes. Yes, I am now officially out of the hole I dug myself in. I have a few credit cards now with small (no greater than $1500) credit limits, and all my charge offs are out of SOL. My credit scores/reports are still kinda crappy, but slowly climbing up.

August 3, 2016, credit card debt
Can anyone answer question on credit scores and how to raise them?

Hi I was just looking into our bank about getting out of paying rent and buying a home. In Florida there is a great website for cash advance loans as well as a program for people like us that have filed for complete bankruptcy that was less than 4 years ago we just have to have a credit score of 620 or higher. Mine is at 570 right now and my husbands is hover around the same. He is the only one working which is normal and we just payed off our vans loan early and our tv through the rent center so now we only have our rent bill and utilities. But our problem is for sure not only the bankruptcy but additional little things on our credit when we moved 2 years ago and now some medical bills that went to collection 2 years ago.

So my question besides getting our credit report and working out a payment arrangement to show we are serious in clearing our credit what else should we do and how long does it take to show our score to raise higher (how does that work exactly). Where does credit scores hover at the numbers? What is good and such? Plus we have to only have 2% of the closing costs of the loan to save we have to have no down payment which is great to us. How long should we work on this until we try to do this loan before our credit score should change? And is there a quicker way to invest money to pay these bills off?

When my husband and I are were raising our scores, we paid off debts a little early. I think in less than a year, we raised our scores from the 680 range to a little over the 710 range. That was about 4 years ago. I don’t know exactly the time frame or the exact rise in numbers, but we were diligent on reducing our debts.

I went to and ran my reports along with fico scores. At the end of the report gives you a series of “what if” scenarios. I would plug in, if I paid an extra XXX amount of dollars to debt, what will me credit score be? It was a little off because our scores were actually higher than what the formula told us.

Whatever you do, don’t go through debt settlement, I have heard they will absolutely obliterate your credit. What I meant to say was don’t go through the credit counseling companies where they reduce interest rates and work out payment arrangements. Better to do it yourself.

I don’t know why I always say debt settlement when I mean the Credit counseling services. I guess my 38 year old brain is getting the better of me.

June 30, 2016, credit score
You may also try your local Bar Association

It sounds like a scam of some sort just to get you to pay more money sooner. I live in NYC where you can contact the Bar Association who will refer you to an attorney. You can get legal advice there for a minimal fee. It’s been a few years when I did this; I only paid about $10 for the visit. The lawyer may agree to advocate on your behalf. Explain the “bait and switch”.

I would also check the collection laws where you live and see if perhaps this collection agency is bullying you into paying a lump sum. If you were to go to court, I would think they would have to get a judgment against you to do this and being that you are sending a payment each month, I would think it would be harder for them to get a judgment against you unless payments have been sporadic. Hope this may help.

I’m checking into it. I’m almost done two other debts and hopefully have it complete by 6 months… its just this darn credit card. Bad choices, and going to school for a year, no income and living on a card… bad bad idea. On the plus side I got a job, with potential to do really good. Wish me luck… stressed to the max… but keeping my chin up.

June 2, 2016, debt collection laws
Almost OUT from the debt

So, with extra hours at work, I have paid down to the collection agency and owe only $300.00 which they will take automatically on the fifth of April!


Now, I am a bit lost here, When they send the letter of completion of the payoff, DO I approach Equifax, Espirion and others? What shall I do to report the payoff? Should I take action on my own bat, or keep the letter to use later? I would keep it anyway, but am just making sure of how to report this…

Please advise?

If you want a bill payment or pay-off to be reported sooner rather than later to the credit bureaus, do it yourself. The creditor is not interested in reporting your “good” deeds, but will hurry up and report you as late.

Yeah, I planned on that SOOOOO…. again, my question:

Should I phone the credit bureaus, and then mail copies to them? Should I just take the addies from their websites and mail the copies with my info on it all….? What department or such handles this sort of report (Private person, not a business…)

I’d like to not chew through cell phone minutes with them or have to go off to find a payphone around here that works well…..

I don’t think that the credit bureau will update your file on just a phone call. They need written documentation. Just mail it to them. Make sure you include your file number (if you have a copy of your credit report, send a copy of the front page with your personal info) or your social security number, so that your file is the one that gets updated.

No need to call them. Without having it in writing, I don’t think they will update your payments being made.

May 16, 2016, successful stories
Figure out credit scores here

Hi all, I was reading a book by Jean Chatzky and in one she told how the fico credit scores are figured out.

  1. 35% is based on how well you pay your bills so be on time
  2. 30% is balance and burden, a measure of how much credit you have and how much is being used. So use only 20 to 30% of what you have available. To figure this out use divide money used (credit debt) by the total available to you and this gives you the percentage. Or maybe this will help: 5000 / 1000 = 0.50 or 50%.
  3. 10% is based on search for new credit- how recently you’ve opened or inquired about new accounts. things like credit cards count as one search per each application. Things like car loans and mortgages checked on in a 2 week period count as one each no matter how many times it’s done.
  4. 10% is financial composition of your file: what percentage is bank-card debt and what percentage is installment debt.
  5. 15% is a measure of the length of your credit relationships. For this keep one card that is more than 2 years old.

hope this helps. I found it to be helpful understanding what makes up the final score.

April 16, 2016, credit score
Question about CC interest rates?

So, what is your best bet once the credit company does a write off on your debt? Do you arrange to make payments with the collection agency or do nothing for the next 7 years or what?

Get the exact amount to pay it off in writing from the company or collection agency. Get a cashier’s check from your bank or a postal money order (both are traceable). Send a copy of the letter and your check to each of the credit bureaus so the debt can be marked as PAID on your credit report. Mail everything PRIORITY MAIL with a SIGNATURE REQUIRED. Documentation is the key.

what if you can’t afford to make the full payment? Should you set up payments with the collection agency? Isn’t a personal check “traceable” as well once it is cashed? With all the other precautions (and others have mentioned sending it registered mail), a personal check is cheaper as there is an additional charge for money orders and cashier checks.

Yes it is. However, you don’t have to wait for a cashier’s check to “clear” like you do with a personal check before you get credit for it from the creditor. It is just like “cash”. No waiting for it to clear. A personal check can bounce (if the check writer buggers up their checkbook), while a cashier’s check or a money order cannot, unless – I guess – the bank goes under while the check is in transit.

My bank will give me some small number of cashier’s checks per month for free, and charges a little bit after that. I think I’ve gotten one in the last decade.

March 15, 2016, credit card interest rates
New to the blog with a few questions

Hi…my name is Alex and I currently live in Tanzania, E Africa. We’ve been here for about 18 months now.

I have a few questions regarding credit card debt. First, when we came here we had quite a bit of credit card debt. Over the past 18 months we have managed to reduce that to about $9000.00 and we hope to pay at least half of that off in the next 6 months. We have one problem. Our interest rate on the card is crazy…around 23%. We’ve had this card since the beginning of our marriage (when we weren’t as careful with our payment dates). I CAN’T get them to lower the interest rate…and no other card will give me a limit high enough to transfer the entire balance.

So it seems as though I am stuck with that rate. So my question is…could I take out a personal loan with a lower interst rate to pay it off…It would just be a loan to pay off the debt on the higer interest rate and basically transfer it to a lower rate. Second…would this negatively affect my credit score? My score is actually good at the moment (713) and I don’t want it to go down. And last…if the personal loan isn’t a good idea…any suggestions?

My calculations say that you hope to pay about $900 a month then, yes? I got that by figuring out what you’d have to pay to get from $9000 to $4500 in six months at 23% APR.

If you could get someone to lend you the dough, then yes. With the assumptions above, I calculate you could save about $1000 in interest over the life of the loan if you could get something at 0% (good luck there); you’d end up paying off about one payment early: 10 months instead of 11.

Naturally, as the APR of the new loan climbs, the savings drops. I calculate that a 11.5% APR (half of current) refinance would save about $600 over the 10/11 months of the loan, or about $60/month. Not a heck of a lot of difference over the life of the loan.

I don’t know the answer to this one, but don’t see why it would. You’d get dinged if you got behind, and also — eventually — if you stopped borrowing at all. If you just shift it around, I dunno…

February 12, 2016, credit card debt
How to deal with banks when you can’t make payments?


I’ll try to be brief. I am a German citizen and have been in the US for the past seven years on a student visa. I received BS and MS degrees here. My visa is about to expire and I am about to leave the States since my visa is about to expire. I am about $30,000 in debt (credit cards, bank loan, car loan, and motorcycle loan). There is a good chance I’ll be back in the States this August to start a PhD program on a full fellowship. If this is the case, then I’ll be able to pay off the debt, albeit very slowly. However, I won’t able able to make any payments until I start the program, i.e. for the next four months.

How do I go about dealing with that? Should I send a letter to the banks/credit card companies and explain the situation? What will be their response? There’s not much that they can do since all the loans except for the car are unsecured (the motorcycle is not worth much, having been in a crash) but I still wonder what is the right way to approach this situation, and what is the way banks deal with such situations. My credit so far is perfect in the sense that I have never had a late payment, over the limit, repossession, bankruptcy, etc.

Any advice or links to helpful websites is appreciated.

I would explain it in writing to the individual companies, just as you explained it here. Send the letters certified, so they have to sign for them and must acknowledge receipt. Keep copies of everything, including the receipts for mailing. That way, they know that you know that they were notified of the situation.