Your scores are great...I hope to have scores like that in a year or two. I did BK chapter 7 and my scores are very good but not as great as your. TU=684, EQ=666, EX=692 I know I have to decrease my debt to income ratio. My goal this year is to pay off my credit card balances and SAVE!!!! So I can use these rewards cards to pay my bills and when the statements come payoff the balance. That will increase my credit scores.
Mommy-dearest was an accountant, so I learned the basics fairly early, particularly the 11th Commandment: Thou shalt not EVER pay late!
I was actually doing pretty well- low, easily paid off CC debt, a good car that was paid off, bought a house in 2002 (I thank God for that timing), perfect payment history- when I made the huge mistake of joining the evil scheme called Quixtar (Amway online). It doesn't take too many months of spending $700-1000+ more than you make to rack up huge debt. As in almost 70k. I moved a big chunk of it to a HELOC, and ran the cards up again. I was going to be a multi-millionaire soon, right? It wouldn't matter! At least I had the sense (and ability) to keep making more than the minimum payments, on time, every time. My best friend racked up more than me and destroyed her credit with lates- I think the only reason she hasn't filed bankruptcy is that her parents are helping her out.
I've been out for about a year, and am married now (my husband didn't bring any debt with him), so between the reduction in our expenses (i.e., drinking water or milk instead of $2.50 energy drinks) and his additional income, we should have the CC's paid off in 12-18 months. The HELOC should be paid off in the next 4-5 years.
What I've learned here is those little tips & tricks that can help or mess up your score- utilization being the biggest one. I figured that if I was always paying more than I charged that month, and near but not at the limit, I was fine, right? Hardly...
I'm 35. Divorced about five years ago, was clueless before then how to even deal with finances. I had no idea how credit worked, my paycheck was spent the day I got it while ex's got socked away. I kept track of every penny we spent because I had to report to him. I got in trouble once for missing $.17 in my accounting. Decided after almost ten years of marriage that was no way to live.
Sometime in 2003 I pulled my credit reports (not the scores, just the reports) and didn't understand them at all. Got my head out of my rear regarding my student loans, which I never had money to pay for, (so was ignoring them hoping they'd go away) and got them consolidated at a good rate in a nice program. In the last couple of years have done the annual free report, still not really knowing what to do with them or how to accurately decipher what was on them.
Still struggling with saving, have pretty good control over my cc's, am beginning to understand how to play the game. I don't worry about my SL interest, I can write that off. I don't make much money at all right now, am hoping that after taking 17 years to finish my degree (don't ask, long story) that I can get something in my field, which is difficult because of where I live. I've learned how to stretch what I have and make it work.
Bought a new car, an '05 in Jan. '06 for a great price because the dealer wanted it off the lot, had some savings then and took the minimum loan needed to get the financing and paid it off in April the same year. Now I know that might not have been so smart, but I was really starting over and needed a decent vehicle. I would have spread the payments out had I known then what I know now. (I do a lot of driving for my kids to get them back and forth to/from their dad's.)
I feel very lucky for having found this forum. I pulled my first FICOs this month. I had gotten my annual free report in Nov. '07, tossed it by Dec., then found this in Jan., and pulled my reports and FICOs. I feel powerful knowing that I am indeed (somewhat) in control of what is on my reports and that even though it can take time, it's well worth my time and money to know what my financial health looks like.
It's hard for me to not want to pull scores every few days. I don't have the money to do it, and I'm now obsessive about them, so self-restraint has become my mantra.
I wish I had known fifteen years ago what I know now. I would have kept accounts open, been far more proactive in knowing what was happening to my scores, and definitely be in rehab by now for myFICO Forums addiction.
Kudos to all here for work well done and for the awesome support system that works! I am a smarter, better person for "knowing" all of you!
Message Edited by wiwend on 01-24-200811:54 AM
1/13/08: TU:727 EQ:730 EX:710 Why does Experian hate me? And Discover? I never did anything to either of them... 4/23/08: Officially addicted to myFICO. TU:726 EQ: 741 EX: 721
I got in bad credit trouble after a divorce in 1995. It took a long time to work myself out of it. I was helped a lot by a radio talk show -- the Dave Ramsay Show -- who has a philosophy of no credit and no debt, although I don't follow the whole gospel according to Dave, the idea of having a budget and a cash allowance for most things really worked for me. I'm down to one card (an AmEx that I pay in full every month) and a mortgage. I rarely use the AmEx except when I travel, so most of the time I am without debt except for the mortgage, and I have quite a bit in the bank. I work hard, earn a good income, and live well below my means. The last time I checked, my credit score was 783, but unless I want another mortgage, I don't really even need credit anymore. Except I need the card to buy online and to rent a car when I travel.
I also got some good advice from my great uncle (Grandma's brother) a mild, modest, and unassuming boots and bib overalls farmer/rancher who is probably worth several million. He said to NEVER buy ANYTHING on credit if it depreciates. I call it the no ABCD plan. No Automobiles, Bling, Clothing, or Dining on credit.
Last summer, at age 41, I went shopping cause I had to have a new car. Settled on a new Maxima at a little under $27k. They wrote it all up, with taxes and fees right at $30k. Guess what? I couldn't do it! Even though I had the money and more I couldn't make myself give them thirty thousand dollars of my money all in one chunk. I kept thinking of what else I could do with that money that was sitting in my emergency/opportunity fund. So, I'm still driving my ten year old SAAB. And that is OK. There is nothing wrong with it except that I've gotten tired of it.
When I could say NO to spending that money, that is when I had it together.
Let me start by saying this is a great thread! I've enjoyed learning about everyone's experiences and from their stories.
I would say I got it all together six months ago, at 21. Growing up I remember over hearing hushed calls at night, my parents arguing, and my mom crying...much of this was about credit debt and other bills. My mom ways always someone who loved to live beyond her means charging everything and always buying the best, simply stating, "We work hard, we deserve it."
For a long time, I lived by that mentality. Throughout college, I kept taking student loans out to pay for unnecessary stuff, like a big TV, a fridge for my dorm, a new car, etc. "I worked hard and I deserved it" (So I thought). Eventually, I started charging. In three years I established over 10k in student loan debt and 12k in credit card debt. Mind you I had a full scholarship at the time. Soon as I graduated and started working two years ago it got worst. I spent thousands on furniture for my first apartment and I just kept charging. I had a good job, so "I worked hard and deserved it." During this whole time I never paid attention to bills and always paid the minimums, in fact, I never looked at what I owed, even for my student loans...I was too afraid.
However, a year ago i took the plunge after watching a Suze Orman show, reviewed all my bills and totaled up my debt, which was almost $19K in credit card debt and almost $14K in student loans. I was terrified. However, I began to assess my habits, research, talk to my dad (who always gave me good financial advice), and I made a plan. For six months I went on a stringent budget and played the BT game. I also began to sell useless stuff on Ebay (game boys, ipod, etc) and applied for grad school as well as grad school scholarships and loans. After six months of organizing it all, getting a few scholarships, and using a new student loan or two, I organized my finances. Eventually, I eliminated my CC debt and got my student loan debt to 15K. Trust me it was not easy...I sold tons on ebay, spent no money on anything other than rent, insurance, gas, and groceries, and I also used my tax refund.
Six months ago I had 1-2K left in credit card debt and tons in student loan debt. At this time I also signed up for this forum and I learned the FICO game. I called all my CCCs and got lower APRs and higher CLs. I also applied for a mastercard to increase diversity and in over six months my score went from a 611 to a 781. Three months ago, I paid off my CCs and got by student loan debt down to 10K...I transferred it to 0% APR credit card and I also learned how to play the FICO game. Now my score hovers around 731 due to the high utilization form the loan-credit card transfer. However, I plan to pay it off by oct 08...and I should be good again...or better.
However, in the end, in part to this board, my dad, and other research, I think I've figured the "game out" and I also respect money much more than I did. I also make much smarter decisions. I'm not going to buy a new car or gadget until I have my 10K paid off and a few more Ks in the bank.
__________________________________________________ Time to clean house and get rid of CCs from bad CCCs. Opt'd Out and Paying off the Balance: BofA. Closed: Chase Freedom. Keeping: Amex Blue, Amex Costco Cash back, Citi Forward, USAA MC, USAA Amex, and PenFed Platinum Cash Back. Next up for review: Chase Sapphire...
My low point was about 12 years ago when I had to file a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy. I am not sure if it helped or not that I chose to do a full repay of all crditers and not a partial one. 2 accounts I did not have to pay because they did not file with the BK court in time. The rest of them though I chose to pay in full rather than a partial amount. I got down to business knowing that the BK was going to kill my credit for several years. So decided to try to get it paid off as quickly as possible and actually got it all paid off about 16 months earlier than the original plan called for. I then actually waited a few years before I even attempted to try to get any credit as I figured at the time no one would give me any with a BK on my record.
Then in 2000 I finally tried and bought a used car on credit thru one of those companies that will loan questionable credit people money. Yes I got a terrible rate on the loan but figured I had to start somewhere rebuilding my credit. Over the years since I have made sure that all loans I got were paid on time and some of them have been paid off early.
At 52 I can now say it has paid off rather well for me. Not sure why there is such a discrepancy in my 3 scores as they all show the exact same information in the reports. But....
Nice post pjriverap....A very encouraging post!! Thank you all for sharing your stories .I started really tackling my credit about a yr ago (age 28) I just thought I will have bad credit forever. Made some dumb mistakes in college had collections accounts, creditors calling and learned all the tricks to avoid them ( ie caller ID,don't look in the envelopes,etc). I don't if I would call them tricks but whatever I could to ignore them...I did>a very bad idea.
Anyways fast forward a few yrs I was also ignoring my student loans...deferred and just plain forgot about them. Then I go to file my taxes and find out my refund was seized for non-payment of student loans...gasp!! I was counting on that money, so now I call who I need to call and find out that my loans went into default and with fees and intrest I'm looking at $40K Uggh!! And lets not forget that now its in the hands of a Collection Agency and they just want all of it. I was able tio convince them to rehab my loans and 2yrs later they are all in good standing. Still have ways to go to pay that down but glad I addressed the issue.
So last year I decided to tackle my credit and for the 1st time ordered my credit reports was shocked and pleasantly surprised to see that my scores were horrible but not as bad as I thought...scores ranged from 540-585...I thought it would be in the 400's. Suze Orman and these boards helped me get back on track with credit. A year later I now have 2(store cards 500 & 750 limits) and 2 mastercards (500 limits) Paid them all on time but need to get the utilization ratio down. My next goal is to have hundreds saved in the bank and soon I hope to have k's in my savings account too.
Good luck to all....don't ignore the issues....trust me ignorance is not bliss its heartache....oh by the way my scores now 615-650....a very happy camper
About 6 months ago. GF of 4 yrs left me for reasons out of my control and also my financial problems. I owed 40k in CC and I was still in college. My score was 550 last year and I built the courage up to tell my parents and thankfully they were able to loan me 20k. I used that to pay off CCs but my score was still low. Around 610. I then sent GWs to have late payments removed and now my score is even better. I still owe CC but now I'm paying it all off and I should be free in clear in about 3 years. A long time, but now I can enjoy myself and not worry about credit dragging me down later on.
in 2002 at age 25 is when i really woke up from my credit coma. i ruined my credit in college at age 18 + ignored it until i met my DH who was 21 at the time + had no credit history to speak off. i decided we would take the journey together. it was a chance to start him off with a flawless history + maintain it that way. + a second chance for me. we have no lates to speak of + i have a $99 paid collection due to drop off early 2009. we purchased our first home in 2005 + are managing credit well. i am really proud of myself for taking responsibility for my past mistakes, learning from them + helping my DH never to fall into that behavior. this forum helps me a lot + am grateful for it.
hey, careful man! there's a beverage here! My FICO: TU - 725 EX - 736 EQ - 747