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Ideas on helping someone with really bad credit?

SoCalGardener
Valued Contributor

Ideas on helping someone with really bad credit?

If you were trying to help someone improve their scores, but they have really bad credit and their attitude about finances is diametrically opposed to yours, where would you start?

 

She *knows* she's awful with credit. She'll get a sub-prime card, yes, like the dreaded Credit One, with a $300 limit, immediately run it all the way up, then get trapped in the high-interest, over-limit, penalty-fees-keep-adding-up conundrum and can't get out. Card gets closed, her score nosedives even more, then she tries again after a while.

 

She's asked me before if I'd be willing to help her, and of course I said yes. (Unbeknownst to her, I posted a thread about her last year--I was asking about adding her as an AU and what, if any, impact that could have on me.) She's aware that I've been to hell and back--more than once--financially, and she knows where I am today. I really would like to help her, but she's very resistant to just sitting down and facing facts.

 

I've asked her what her FICO scores are and she had no idea. I encouraged her to at least sign up for a CK account, which would give her an idea of her scores but, more importantly, list out everything pertaining to her credit, like old accounts, when they were opened/closed, charge-offs, and so on. But she refused. I have her SSN and if I asked her, she'd say yes to me creating an account (I won't do it behind her back), but I really think SHE needs to do this. Baby steps, you know?

 

She's not a child, nor is she stupid. She's in her 30s and very intelligent. But when it comes to facing facts and buckling down and doing the hard work to get her finances in order, it's like pulling teeth.

 

I realize it's not my problem. She's not my daughter or niece or anything like that. (She's my live-in helper.) I'm absolutely obsessed with keeping my credit in order--trust me, having been in the toilet (bankruptcy), keeping my stellar credit is a big, big deal to me. And I actively work on it every day, checking all of my accounts, staying on top of any purchases, never, ever paying only the minimum payment, usually paying in full (unless I'm on a 0% offer), watching my scores like a hawk, etc. She's the exact opposite. Sometimes, when I'm the one who brings in the mail, I can't help but notice the big, red letters on an envelope shouting something like "URGENT! Past due!!" I remember those very well...

 

Sorry for rambling. If you have any ideas on how to start, given that she is very reluctant to face the facts and start dealing with them, please let me know.

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Message 1 of 30
29 REPLIES 29
dragontears
Senior Contributor

Re: Ideas on helping someone with really bad credit?


@SoCalGardener wrote:

If you were trying to help someone improve their scores, but they have really bad credit and their attitude about finances is diametrically opposed to yours, where would you start?

 

She *knows* she's awful with credit. She'll get a sub-prime card, yes, like the dreaded Credit One, with a $300 limit, immediately run it all the way up, then get trapped in the high-interest, over-limit, penalty-fees-keep-adding-up conundrum and can't get out. Card gets closed, her score nosedives even more, then she tries again after a while.

 

She's asked me before if I'd be willing to help her, and of course I said yes. (Unbeknownst to her, I posted a thread about her last year--I was asking about adding her as an AU and what, if any, impact that could have on me.) She's aware that I've been to hell and back--more than once--financially, and she knows where I am today. I really would like to help her, but she's very resistant to just sitting down and facing facts.

 

I've asked her what her FICO scores are and she had no idea. I encouraged her to at least sign up for a CK account, which would give her an idea of her scores but, more importantly, list out everything pertaining to her credit, like old accounts, when they were opened/closed, charge-offs, and so on. But she refused. I have her SSN and if I asked her, she'd say yes to me creating an account (I won't do it behind her back), but I really think SHE needs to do this. Baby steps, you know?

 

She's not a child, nor is she stupid. She's in her 30s and very intelligent. But when it comes to facing facts and buckling down and doing the hard work to get her finances in order, it's like pulling teeth.

 

I realize it's not my problem. She's not my daughter or niece or anything like that. (She's my live-in helper.) I'm absolutely obsessed with keeping my credit in order--trust me, having been in the toilet (bankruptcy), keeping my stellar credit is a big, big deal to me. And I actively work on it every day, checking all of my accounts, staying on top of any purchases, never, ever paying only the minimum payment, usually paying in full (unless I'm on a 0% offer), watching my scores like a hawk, etc. She's the exact opposite. Sometimes, when I'm the one who brings in the mail, I can't help but notice the big, red letters on an envelope shouting something like "URGENT! Past due!!" I remember those very well...

 

Sorry for rambling. If you have any ideas on how to start, given that she is very reluctant to face the facts and start dealing with them, please let me know.


You can lead a horse to water but you can't make them drink. 

 

Very first thing that needs to happen is your friend has to care about their credit. Without that, you could do everything to build their profile but as soon as you are no longer watching they will let it all go.

Message 2 of 30
SoCalGardener
Valued Contributor

Re: Ideas on helping someone with really bad credit?


@dragontears wrote:

@SoCalGardener wrote:

If you were trying to help someone improve their scores, but they have really bad credit and their attitude about finances is diametrically opposed to yours, where would you start?

 

She *knows* she's awful with credit. She'll get a sub-prime card, yes, like the dreaded Credit One, with a $300 limit, immediately run it all the way up, then get trapped in the high-interest, over-limit, penalty-fees-keep-adding-up conundrum and can't get out. Card gets closed, her score nosedives even more, then she tries again after a while.

 

She's asked me before if I'd be willing to help her, and of course I said yes. (Unbeknownst to her, I posted a thread about her last year--I was asking about adding her as an AU and what, if any, impact that could have on me.) She's aware that I've been to hell and back--more than once--financially, and she knows where I am today. I really would like to help her, but she's very resistant to just sitting down and facing facts.

 

I've asked her what her FICO scores are and she had no idea. I encouraged her to at least sign up for a CK account, which would give her an idea of her scores but, more importantly, list out everything pertaining to her credit, like old accounts, when they were opened/closed, charge-offs, and so on. But she refused. I have her SSN and if I asked her, she'd say yes to me creating an account (I won't do it behind her back), but I really think SHE needs to do this. Baby steps, you know?

 

She's not a child, nor is she stupid. She's in her 30s and very intelligent. But when it comes to facing facts and buckling down and doing the hard work to get her finances in order, it's like pulling teeth.

 

I realize it's not my problem. She's not my daughter or niece or anything like that. (She's my live-in helper.) I'm absolutely obsessed with keeping my credit in order--trust me, having been in the toilet (bankruptcy), keeping my stellar credit is a big, big deal to me. And I actively work on it every day, checking all of my accounts, staying on top of any purchases, never, ever paying only the minimum payment, usually paying in full (unless I'm on a 0% offer), watching my scores like a hawk, etc. She's the exact opposite. Sometimes, when I'm the one who brings in the mail, I can't help but notice the big, red letters on an envelope shouting something like "URGENT! Past due!!" I remember those very well...

 

Sorry for rambling. If you have any ideas on how to start, given that she is very reluctant to face the facts and start dealing with them, please let me know.


You can lead a horse to water but you can't make them drink. 

 

Very first thing that needs to happen is your friend has to care about their credit. Without that, you could do everything to build their profile but as soon as you are no longer watching they will let it all go.


I know you're right. Absolutely. But I still want to help her.

 

She wants to be able to buy a house one day; she wants to get married and have kids; she wants the stability of her own place. But the way she's going--and considering where we live!--buying a house will NEVER happen.

 

I think I feel about her the way I did my ex-husband, i.e., that I can change her. It certainly didn't work out with him...

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Message 3 of 30
mppaul271
Frequent Contributor

Re: Ideas on helping someone with really bad credit?


@SoCalGardener wrote:

If you were trying to help someone improve their scores, but they have really bad credit and their attitude about finances is diametrically opposed to yours, where would you start?

 

She *knows* she's awful with credit. She'll get a sub-prime card, yes, like the dreaded Credit One, with a $300 limit, immediately run it all the way up, then get trapped in the high-interest, over-limit, penalty-fees-keep-adding-up conundrum and can't get out. Card gets closed, her score nosedives even more, then she tries again after a while.

 

She's asked me before if I'd be willing to help her, and of course I said yes. (Unbeknownst to her, I posted a thread about her last year--I was asking about adding her as an AU and what, if any, impact that could have on me.) She's aware that I've been to hell and back--more than once--financially, and she knows where I am today. I really would like to help her, but she's very resistant to just sitting down and facing facts.

 

I've asked her what her FICO scores are and she had no idea. I encouraged her to at least sign up for a CK account, which would give her an idea of her scores but, more importantly, list out everything pertaining to her credit, like old accounts, when they were opened/closed, charge-offs, and so on. But she refused. I have her SSN and if I asked her, she'd say yes to me creating an account (I won't do it behind her back), but I really think SHE needs to do this. Baby steps, you know?

 

She's not a child, nor is she stupid. She's in her 30s and very intelligent. But when it comes to facing facts and buckling down and doing the hard work to get her finances in order, it's like pulling teeth.

 

I realize it's not my problem. She's not my daughter or niece or anything like that. (She's my live-in helper.) I'm absolutely obsessed with keeping my credit in order--trust me, having been in the toilet (bankruptcy), keeping my stellar credit is a big, big deal to me. And I actively work on it every day, checking all of my accounts, staying on top of any purchases, never, ever paying only the minimum payment, usually paying in full (unless I'm on a 0% offer), watching my scores like a hawk, etc. She's the exact opposite. Sometimes, when I'm the one who brings in the mail, I can't help but notice the big, red letters on an envelope shouting something like "URGENT! Past due!!" I remember those very well...

 

Sorry for rambling. If you have any ideas on how to start, given that she is very reluctant to face the facts and start dealing with them, please let me know.


I stopped reading at statement in bold. Not sure how far you get with this being your starting point 🤔

Message 4 of 30
lovebackwards
New Contributor

Re: Ideas on helping someone with really bad credit?

You can't help anyone that doesn't want to help themselves.

 

Once she realizes the gravity of her situation maybe she will be willing to listen.

 

Otherwise you would be wasting both of your time. Best of luck to you and your friend!

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Message 5 of 30
KangiCosmos
New Contributor

Re: Ideas on helping someone with really bad credit?

OK, I know most say if if she's not willing then there is no hope. Especially her not even wanting to LOOK and register with Credit Karma to see what is on there. I'm sure it's self protective mechanism.

Here's what I sugeest. Go ahead and set up Credit Karma for her AND Experian (Experian lets you see whats on there for FREE, but the free is only Experian Fico 8).

Once you do this print what is on her credit report. Look for one thing that can be taken care of the easiest, knowing just that will increase her score by even 1pt. Maybe a smaller pay for delete collection, something like that. Have her sit with you while you sit buy her to take care of one thing. Then once it reports and a point is added. Show her. Maybe she needs to see the reward of increased points and that it is possible to make it better. "The proof is in the pudding" so to speak. That reward could enduce endorphines, and each point increase will create more "good feelings" in her. And hopefully cause a domino effect that she will want that feeling more and want to continue the positive increase journey.

 

Best of Luck,

Kangi'


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Current Score: 603
Goal Score: 700


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Message 6 of 30
SoCalGardener
Valued Contributor

Re: Ideas on helping someone with really bad credit?


@KangiCosmos wrote:

OK, I know most say if if she's not willing then there is no hope. Especially her not even wanting to LOOK and register with Credit Karma to see what is on there. I'm sure it's self protective mechanism.

Here's what I sugeest. Go ahead and set up Credit Karma for her AND Experian (Experian lets you see whats on there for FREE, but the free is only Experian Fico 8).

Once you do this print what is on her credit report. Look for one thing that can be taken care of the easiest, knowing just that will increase her score by even 1pt. Maybe a smaller pay for delete collection, something like that. Have her sit with you while you sit buy her to take care of one thing. Then once it reports and a point is added. Show her. Maybe she needs to see the reward of increased points and that it is possible to make it better. "The proof is in the pudding" so to speak. That reward could enduce endorphines, and each point increase will create more "good feelings" in her. And hopefully cause a domino effect that she will want that feeling more and want to continue the positive increase journey.

 

Best of Luck,

Kangi'


Thanks--I love this! It's like you really GET her! My only issue is that I don't want to open any accounts without her permission. But, overall, I think this is a brilliant plan--because I know from experience how good it feels when you can *see* the results of your hard work. And being able to quantify it, i.e., with scores that go up as each new action is completed, makes it very attractive and may actually get through to her.

 

You know, it's really tough when you're dealing with someone who is neither young nor stupid, and who KNOWS that they're really awful with financial matters...but I guess she just feels so downtrodden, like what's the point?, that she can't work up the energy or enthusiasm to finally tackle it. My ex-husband, whom I wrote an entire thread about, was very similar; his thing was 'magical thinking'--he thought the universe would just magically provide...whatever. And there I was, the realist, saying WE NEED MONEY IN THE BANK! When I was sick many years ago, he literally did not open a single piece of mail that came while I was laid up (I was the one who handled all our finances). Months later, I found boxes/bags filled with *unopened* bills....late notices....warnings....threats....shut-off notices....card closures....and so on. And he was oblivious because his 'solution' was "out of sight, out of mind!" Stick them in the den closet, shut the door, and that's that. My helper is very similar. She starts out with good intentions. And then it just implodes somehow.

 

Thanks for the great post. It's appreciated. Smiley Happy

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Message 7 of 30
KangiCosmos
New Contributor

Re: Ideas on helping someone with really bad credit?

I was under the impression she already ok's you looking at CK. I missread your original post.


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Current Score: 603
Goal Score: 700


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Message 8 of 30
lns1976
Regular Contributor

Re: Ideas on helping someone with really bad credit?

@SoCalGardener She needs to want to improve or your never going to be able to help her.  You need to figure out something to give her incentive to start and I would start her with savings, not credit.   

 

Something like a Self-loan might not be a bad option.  If she can keep on the payments then the reward will be the cash back at the end of the term along with the payments being posted improving credit.


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Message 9 of 30
SoCalGardener
Valued Contributor

Re: Ideas on helping someone with really bad credit?


@KangiCosmos wrote:

I was under the impression she already ok's you looking at CK. I missread your original post.


Ha ha! With the wordiness of my OP, I'm not surprised it caused confusion! Smiley Very Happy

 

No, I've encouraged her to get a CK account, but she refused. *IF* I asked her for permission to open it, I know she'd say yes, but I really feel strongly that SHE needs to be the one doing this. It's her credit. It's her life. I want her to take responsibility. I'm happy to HELP her all she wants, hold her hand while she's on her journey, but I won't do the work FOR her. As has been noted in this thread, that wouldn't help anyway!

 

I have to say, when I was young (and I mean a lot younger than she is) and credit-ignorant, I would've given my eye tooth to have someone hand-hold me through the process of improving my finances. I don't know why she doesn't jump on it, except, as noted, she doesn't want to face facts AND she feels like 'why bother?' since it's so bad anyway.

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Message 10 of 30
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