Let’s see, I was 27 years old, making $27,000 a year and I had racked up $13,000 of credit card debt. I think that’s a lot even by today’s standards. It got to a point where I couldn’t keep up with all the payments. Credit card companies were constantly calling me at home and work, even asking to speak to my boss. I felt like I was the world’s worst person and there was no way out. But I just couldn’t resist that dining room table for my new apartment or getting front row seats for Sting (Molly Ringwald was three rows behind me) or going out to dinner every night or that oh-so-cool black leather jacket. You get the idea. That was the fun part. The not-so-fun part was paying it all back and re-establishing my credit. After three years of working with Consumer Credit Counselors (and sending them a $250 money order each month – a small fortune when compared to my salary and other expenses), I paid off my credit card debt.
Word to the wise: Even though I learned an invaluable lesson, I wouldn’t want to go through that again. And you shouldn’t either. Today, the credit card companies trust me again and the offers keep rolling in. But now, I know better than to trust myself.
What do you think? Note: Your comments may be published anonymously in the upcoming book, “Wise Before 25, 50 Things Young Women Need to Know.”
That was bold of you to be so honest – thank you! Your debt was half of your annual income which is a HUGE chunk of change but thankfully there was a happy ending. Good for you. I wish we had this discussion a long time ago.
I went into debt in my 20’s (*sigh*) because it was okay to have things I wanted no matter what the cost (tomorrow was so far away). There was also the issue of my huge ego that wanted to keep up with everyone else or at least pretend that I could. I couldn’t have fun without it costing a fortune either. Then there’s the illusion that it won’t take a long time to pay the money back but forget that I had to stop spending to do that. Reality bites badly.
Hey you! Thanks so much for your thoughtful and insightful comment. I think a lot of us did that and felt that way. Hopefully if any 20-somethings pick on this, maybe it will be food for thought. I forgot to add to the post, that I remember years of going out with my girlfriends and only being able to order water while they were having Long Island Iced Teas and Margaritas because that’s all I could afford. It was a long 3-1/2 years of paying that debt back and then a long time to get credit again. And yes, reality not only bites, it sucks 🙂
Again, EXCELLENT advice! Fortunately, my father beat this one into me thoroughly enough – by making me figure out how much those sale items would REALLY cost if I made minimum payments to the CC company – that I didn’t have to learn this one the hard way. Thanks, dad.
Your dad was a wise man 🙂 So was mine – he didn’t help me get out of my mess. Which helped me not to get into one again.