Hello everyone. Have lurked here for a while, and decided to register & post. :-)
A little bit about 'my situation'. I'm almost 27 years old, and have ended up in a pickle.
In 2004 I started college > 2005 I left and started working for Company XYZ. (ficticious name, of course)
Ended up with a Bank of America Worldpoints Visa (still have to this day), and 2 American Express Cards - Platinum and Blue. Platinum was for "work" since I travelled a lot, company reimbursed me (you'll read soon, why this was important). They didn't give a corporate card to us (unfortunately).
In 2006 - bought a new car, so - auto loan.
In 2007 - I left company XYZ, and due to the circumstances of my departure, they wouldn't reimburse for the last 30 some odd days of charges, so I defaulted on a near $32,000 Amex Platinum bill.. I paid off my Blue, but Amex suspended it when the check didn't come for the Plat. Legal recourse to the company for reimbursement was unsuccessful.
Later that year, I voluntarily repo'ed my car. And stopped paying my student loans. I was unemployed until circa 2011.
In 2008 (I believe) Amex had me served and placed a judgement (or lein, I forget ; I don't own anything, so it's just sitting on my credit). And the student loan companies have sent me to collections numerous times.
All told, my credit score lives in the 427-527 range for the most part.
I have somewhere between 65-70k in student loan debt, 32k to amex, and 15k-ish to the auto loan company.
I work, full time and have managed to keep some cards - Sam's Club Credit (not the discover one; private label), a Best Buy Card (also private label), my BofA visa (best interest rate card I have), 2 CapOne cards and a HSBC card. With exeception to the Sams card, limits are 300 to 750$ (perfectly acceptable for me)
I pay each month, not in full, but not minimums, and do well with them.
Sorry for the long post and the excesive line breaks, I get nervous on forums with long paragraphs. I suppose I'm curious, beyond what I'm doing now, is there anything I can do to help that score come up? I probably couldn't get an apartment if I tried, definitely not a mortgage or auto loan. Amex refuses to deal w/ any payment arrangements now since a judgement has been served. The student loan companies (after numerous negotiations) refuse to work out payments I can actually afford (which is fair, in a way)... they want $600+ a month. And the auto company wants payment in full.
Any advice is appreciated. At 26, it's stressful, but since it's been going on so long - I've become accustomed to it.
First of all, welcome! I'm new here too...with that being said, all i can tell you is the info I've learned in the short amount of time that I've been reading the forum.
I can totally relate. I'm the same age and have a similar history. First order of business is to make sure your current cards are paid down to under 9%. That's supposed to be the quickest "bang for your buck" as far as your score/report are concerned. I'd recommend putting as much money as you can towards those to get to that point. What kind of student loans do you have. If they're federal, you should be able to get them rehabbed or consolidated. I just recently put some of my loans in rehab and they were very understanding with how much I felt I could comfortably afford each month. Rehab is the best option for student loans for long term credit repair. I also consolidated 2 of my loans and felt that I had more control over the amount of my monthly payments. That could just have more to do with the actual agencies I'm working with rather than the rehab vs consolidation differences.
Well...You really are in a pickle.
Because of the size of those debts, they won't go away easily.
These are my suggestions:
1. Treat your credit cards like gold! It will be a long time before you are able to get any new ones. Make sure you use these cards gently at least every 3 months so the lenders don't close them for lack of use. Your credit cards are a bright spot in your otherwise bad credit situation. They will report good credit behavior every month and will help to nudge your scores up over time.
2. Get all your student loans into rehab and make sure to pay them on time or early from here on out.
3. The AMEX judgement and car repo. I don't know what to say except you might want to talk to an attorney about this. These are very serious and won't go away easily. Perhaps somebody else on this forum has better advice on this matter than I do.
Thanks for the info everyone...
My student loans are mostly private, some are federal tho. They've been accruing in the "pot of debt" for some odd years now, and well, I'm not keen on trying to work with them anymore. We've been thru the consolidation with the loan companies, re-fi, and payment arrangements and it's just not feasible to pay them. I honestly don't make enough money... Which is to say, even if I had no monthly bills (mobile phone, credit card, etc), I couldn't afford to pay them what they will take.
For the judgement, the repo is just a collection's thing. They haven't served me and are attempting to settle (this month) for about $12,500 (roughly).... 2 months ago it was $14k. No, I'm not waiting for it to go to 500 bucks or something, hah, that's unrealistic. I just don't have 12,000 dollars to give them.
I've thought about BK. But the primary reason I've not done it, even after talking to an attorney is the student loans. They are next to impossible to discharge, and tho it can be done, it's incredibly difficult and rare. Why file for BK when the loans will continue to ruin things for as long as they aren't paid? It's a bit of a catch 22. A BK will devastate my credit, beyond what has already been done, but you can come out of it. Student loans don't go away.
Federal loans "can" be discharged, but it's very rare that it's done. The BK code does provide for this, but you must prove that paying them would cause undue stress and hardship on your living conditions.
In the end, BK isn't going to help, with the judgement and student loans in the picture. Sure, I can Chapter 7 everythign away, such as the car loan that's not been paid, credit cards, but all told, when the BK is done, the student loans will continu to ruin things. Making it just as difficult to come out of as it is now... and the judgement doesn't go away.
That is the unfortunate reality of my situation.
Federal student loans can be included in a Ch 7 if you can prove making the payments would put you in a financial hardship.
A judgment can also be included in a Ch 7. You list all debts including those.