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Pretty sure I royally screwed myself for at least a couple of years?

AirTroop
Regular Contributor

Pretty sure I royally screwed myself for at least a couple of years?

 WOW, what a frigging journey it has been!!!  I was divorced ~5 years ago and like many, my once-good credit was D-E-S-T-R-O-Y-E-D(!!!), like down to ~500 sort of destroyed.  First, I'll blame it on the EX.  Her "job", since I worked twice as many hours than she, was to pay the bills, mortgage, etc., etc.  MY FAULT because I trusted her to take care of all of this stuff.

 

So, after plotting for a couple of years behind my back, she signed up for CC's under my name I didn't know existed, she didn't pay the taxes, or even FILE for 2 years, she ran up my Military Star Card to the limit ($7800) and didnt make any payments at some point and I later (meaning after she dumped me for her HS sweetheart somewhere near Phoenix, AZ) received a letter from TSI saying my Star Card was turned over to TOPS and my newly-acquired disability payments were garnished for $177 per month...FOR like YEARS!  This was my first indication my Star Card was A) Maxed out, B) turned over to "The Man" with my SS# locked by the government.  WOW.  Obviously, there's always more to the story but that's enough I guess.

 

So anyway, about 3-ish years ago I began my journey to repair my credit from where it was before - in the upper 700's.  I don't think I'm anywhere close to that right now but I was making progress.  I had a single CC from C1 in good standing, 4 baddies (all hers - medical), so I decided it was time to pay for good credit again (I'd been there before), so I started paying anywhere from 1-3 hundred bucks up front for $300 to $500 SCL cards in the low-to-mid 30's in interest (Credit 1, Merrick, 1st Premier, Total, blah-blah).  I ended up with a bunch of those crappy cards and within a year or so, I had some of them up to $2k and most of them between $800-$1000'ish.  I used them to pay off the 4 baddies and other things, such as an extra payment to my Star Card and other stuff, almost ALL of it going toward paying for more and better credit, so I sought out a consolidation loan from Greenleaf(?) - now OneMain and paid every one of them to ZERO but now I had a huge OneMain payment on my new 35% personal loan.  I did auto-pay on that and continued to utilize my now, 12'ish crappy starter credit cards each month but paid them off in full.  I got some auto CLI's and also paid like, say, $150 for a $300 CLI on some of the worst of them...all just in the interest of graduating to better cards with better interest.

 

So, hey, with all of these crappy cards in great standing, and a 700 FICO on all of the Big 3, I started applying like crazy for prime cards like Chase ($1500 CL), NFCU ($5000 CL), Amazon Store Card ($2500 CL), Amazon Prime AmEx ($3000), an Amex Plenti ($2500) and PenFed Double Rewards Visa ($6000 CL).  I transferred all of my balances to PenFed for a 2% X-Fer fee and 0% for 12 months ($4600 worth), which I fully intend to PIF in months.  I settled my Star Card through TSI and eliminated my monthly garnisments, freeing up $180 per month from my disability.  Navigator CU took over my OneMain consolidation loan at 11.9% (hey, better than 35% ANYDAY, right?  Then, PenFed took over my car note (9.9%) from Navigator CU and gave me 3.9%.  All of this contained in this particular paragraph has happened over the last ~1.5 years or so.  OH, and also, everytime I opened a new account, I closed the old crappy ones while they were kicking and screaming to me to keep them open.  I've closed like 12 accounts in the last year(ish).  Therein lies the rub and my cry for help and advice with me being in this new situation...

 

My credit score is back in the low-600's again and once again, I cannot finance a pencil due to my 34 recent hard pulls and average age of accounts now sitting at 1.7 years, even though I have over $600 more per month in my pocket from all of these calculated moves I've been making.

 

QUESTIONS: Yeah, I'm figuring out it's time to tend the garden for awhile, but for how long?  I was hoping to buy a home and a motorcycle next year.  Also, what, if anything else should I do at this point that I haven't already done?

 

Thanks to you all and thanks for this forum!

Message 1 of 11
10 REPLIES 10
K-in-Boston
Moderator

Re: Pretty sure I royally screwed myself for at least a couple of years?

Thank you for your service and I commend you on a great job getting your finances back in order in such a relatively short time!  I'll assume you're planning to go for a VA mortgage, so the good news is that I think the middle score needed for the best rate is only a 620.  I would hold off on applying for anything new, and try to get/keep your overall revolving utilization under 30%.  Write goodwill letters or otherwise try to get any negative info on your credit reports removed and I am sure in no time you'll see your scores really begin to climb.  PenFed should give you quite a decent rate on a motorcycle loan, too.

Message 2 of 11
medicgrrl
Valued Contributor

Re: Pretty sure I royally screwed myself for at least a couple of years?

You should be good next year. You'll see your scores improve as you pay down Pen Fed. Your utilization on that card is affecting your score but that's temporary until it's paid down. You'll also see your AAoA increase over the next year which may increase your score too.


EQ 778 EXP 782 TU 729
Message 3 of 11
AirTroop
Regular Contributor

Re: Pretty sure I royally screwed myself for at least a couple of years?

Thanks for all of the great advice y'all.  As a former cocaine user (like, 35 years ago!) it's funny how similar the high is when I've gone from where I was to where I am in such a quick time...I feel like I've just won a sprint competition and now I just want to keep on sprinting but I'm fully aware of the fact it's time to stop and take a deep breath (aka, "garden") for awhile.  My only "baddies" at this time are the incredible number of hard pulls (almost every single denial letter lists those at the top now).  I'm hoping when PenFed sees my transferred balance is paid down to an under 30% utilization later this year or early next year, they'll reward me with a nice CLI.

 

Does anybody happen to know if switching automatic deposit to Navy Federal (I just did that) might help sway them my way a bit in credit increases, approvals, etc.?  I know it hasn't done a **bleep** thing for me with USAA - they'd only approved me for a $500 & $39 AF crap card and I've done almost ALL banking with them for the 14 years I've been with them and now prior to learning about better options for military/former military members (NFCU, PenFed).

Message 4 of 11
River123
Established Contributor

Re: Pretty sure I royally screwed myself for at least a couple of years?

I don't have a lot of advice. What you have done and are doing seems to be working.  The hardest part of my journey has been fighting the urge to apply for new cards.  I have had excellent credit and then I tanked it.  I am back in the high 700's and 800's now so I can see where you have been.  I also see where you are going and I think you are on the right track to get where you need to be.  

 

Some of the best advice I have seen on this forum is that rebuilding and getting where you want to go is a slow process not a race.  I admire you.  I believe you will get where you are going pretty soon.

 

Congratulations on your efforts.  You are an inspiration.

Message 5 of 11
Canadian-In-Seattle
Established Contributor

Re: Pretty sure I royally screwed myself for at least a couple of years?

 

You're actually doing great and it's actually not a bad thing at all that you applied for all those cards up front. Yes, the inquiries and new accounts and AAoA hit are killing your score NOW, but time will fix that. And you should probably stop applying new cards and just enjoy the ones you have. Hopefully you got some good ones now, that will serve you well? 

 

Then just focus on paying your balances down to zero and let time do the rest. No more derogatoreis. 

 

In a year your AAoA will be >2yrs and all those HP's will drop off your file. At that point you should be looking pretty good.

 

Then another couple of years after that all those derogatories from the bad days should start dropping off your file, and at that point, you should be fully back!

 

 

Amex BCE $40k || BoA Travel $5k || FirstTech MC $5k || BECU PLoC $10k || Discover Miles $27.7k || CITI DC $27.5k || CHASE Amazon $12.5k || BoA Premium Rewards $31k || BoA Cash Rewards 26k || Mortgage 07-2020 // AU on DW's Costco Visa $12k

FICO8 805
Last Inq 06/2020
Message 6 of 11
AverageJoesCredit
Mega Contributor

Re: Pretty sure I royally screwed myself for at least a couple of years?

Thank you for your service ! I think you're doing great snd like already stated, with another year in the rearview, all those inqs wont be holding you backSmiley Wink. Dont worry about Navy and shoeing them the money, lol, theyll take care of you so long as you take care of your payments. Their ccs can grow big time so there is that to look forward to . Thanks for sharing your story, wish you the best on your journeySmiley Happy
Message 7 of 11
JoeLuvsHisCredit
Valued Contributor

Re: Pretty sure I royally screwed myself for at least a couple of years?


@Canadian-In-Seattle wrote:

 

You're actually doing great and it's actually not a bad thing at all that you applied for all those cards up front. Yes, the inquiries and new accounts and AAoA hit are killing your score NOW, but time will fix that. And you should probably stop applying new cards and just enjoy the ones you have. Hopefully you got some good ones now, that will serve you well? 

 

Then just focus on paying your balances down to zero and let time do the rest. No more derogatoreis. 

 

In a year your AAoA will be >2yrs and all those HP's will drop off your file. At that point you should be looking pretty good.

 

Then another couple of years after that all those derogatories from the bad days should start dropping off your file, and at that point, you should be fully back!

 

 


++++++++++++++++++++++++++++==111111111111111111111111111

Keep up the good work Smiley Happy

Message 8 of 11
AirTroop
Regular Contributor

Re: Pretty sure I royally screwed myself for at least a couple of years?

Hi, yes, thank you - all I have are premium cards now, ranging anywhere from $1500 - $6000 CL's at this time.  I've closed most of my once-many store cards with the exception of Target and Wal-Mart (both at pathetic, but expected $800 CL's on both) because of the promos they offer as well as 5% off of anything on the Target Red Card.  The only other one ($800 CL too, imagine!) is my Shell Rewards card that gives me 5 cents per gallon discount on gas.  I've closed all other store type cards with the exception of my BP Visa Rewards card ($1500 CL), my Amazon Store Card ($3000 CL) and my Amazon American Express Prime ($2000 CL). 

 

As far as my collection accounts go, all four are now gone.  I called each collection agency up and said, "These are my ex-wife's debts and I'm ready to get them off of my reports for good but I refuse to pay even the full original debts on these.  Make me a deal I cannot refuse right this second and I'll whip out my credit card in exchange for a PIF letter and your promise to remove them from my report forever."  All four offered me a higher payoff of course but I settled each one for 50% and they are gone and I have all four PIF letters in my records.

 

Thank you ALL again.  I'm just hoping some of these facts help somebody else.  I've done this all on a fixed income (100% VA disabiity and SSDI) too, by the way. 

Message 9 of 11
AirTroop
Regular Contributor

Re: Pretty sure I royally screwed myself for at least a couple of years?

OK, just wanted to add - I had applied for a CLI on my NFCU Visa Sig Rewards card a few days ago, didn't hear a thing, so I called NFCU and they said I was denied.  The GOOD news however, thanks to the good reading available on this forum, I asked for and received a $10,000 Checking Line of Credit (CLOC) - INSTANT APPROVAL, TOO!!!  I'm still in a state of shock!  Okay, okay... NOW I'll try and kick this "coke-ish" high and plant a few veggies in my backyard.  At least, I'll try to.

Message 10 of 11
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