If you’ve been following my amazing progress the last couple of weeks, you’d think that I’m lying. It’s THAT good. But I’m not lying. I mean who’d admit to this much debt? Wait until you see what happened this week!
The 3 Most Profitable Things I Did This Week
Week Ending August 25, 2017
Dumped Another Two Dozen Tons of Debt
This week, I had a HUGE win with my charge-off debt. Actually, two wins. One an active win; the other passive. But before I get there, let me give you the math.
As of July 2016, I had $47,420 in charge-off debt. Some of it was charged-off credit cards (2 to be precise.) The other was a line of credit against a foreclosed property.
As of today, [drum roll] my charge-off debt is $5,334.
I dumped $42,086 charge-off debt in 12 months.
Holy shit, you say? I know right! How did I do it?
Let me tell you.
Passive: Wait It Out
As I mentioned above, some of my debt was from charged-off credit cards.
As you may know, charge-off debt can stay on your credit report for 7 years from the date of your first delinquency. So if you are lucky enough to have the bank not charge interest and if you are super patient, charge-off debt will roll off your credit report on its own.
That’s what happened with about $12,000 of my charge-off debt. One day I checked my credit report and POOF, it was gone!
Active: Settle and Pay
The bigger chunk, the foreclosure debt, was originally a $30,320 balance due to Wells Fargo.
After years and years of trying to pay and getting nowhere, and after I lost my job and was essentially homeless, I defaulted on the debt. Once I realized the impact of that much charge-off debt on my credit report (difficulty getting a lease and usurious interest rates for a car loan), I negotiated a settlement agreement.
I agreed to pay 60% of the total debt over 12 months. The monthly payments were a staggering $880. And while I had zero confidence I could make all 12 payments, I DID.
I FUCKING DID!
Of course, that probably put me behind on paying my federal and state taxes for the year–but that’s another story for a different day.
So, now I have $5,334 charge-off debt left.
I did recently contact them to inquire about settlement options but their offer isn’t great (80% in one lump sum.) For now, that debt will just have to sit there.
Maximized Some Investment Opportunities
One very cool perk of dumping debt is that it frees up motivation and cash to invest in the future (as opposed to paying off the past.)
As a newbie investor, I’m experimenting with two trading platforms. For recurring purchases of fractional share ETFs, I’m using STASH. That’s pretty straightforward. I also opened a TD Ameritrade account. After forcing myself to actually read their Welcome Guide, I discovered a couple of programs that required enrollment.
I found out they offer 100 commission-free ETFs. And since everyone is all abuzz about ETFs right now, I enrolled in the program. (Enrollment is required and was super simple.)
I also enrolled in their Dividend Reinvestment Program (DRIP). It’s a no-cost program that allows easy and automatic reinvestment of dividends. I briefly considered having dividends go into my brokerage account but, as with most of my money management systems, the more automatic the better.
Two little things that I hope serve as a foundation for bigger and better things.
Rewarded Myself…In Little Ways
I’m a firm believer in positive reinforcement.
The last two weeks, I’ve made MASSIVE improvements in my financial picture. MASSIVE. For a woman who professed to being terrible at personal finances, I think I’m doing pretty damn awesome.
I’ve treated myself with little things as a reward. I drank a bottle of wine. I worked from home and snuck to the pool during lunch break. I bought a scratcher (won $2). I transferred $100 to my brokerage account so I could invest a bit more money. I automated $50 monthly deposits into my emergency fund (sorely underfunded.) I wrote and posted this a full day early so I could go camping with my daughter. I took Friday off to do exactly that. I indulged in looking through my Cutco knife catalog. (It’s a weird thing that I’ll explain one day.) I ate donuts for breakfast and fried chicken for lunch. I bought new glasses (from my HSA) and wore cute clothes to work. I made my kid unload the dishwasher so I didn’t have to.
None of things are expensive but they all helped make me feel special this week. And quite honestly, I deserved it.
By rough calculations, I’ve dumped $64,000 worth of debt in under 2 years.
Yes, I still have got a way to go (probably about $45,000) but I am beginning to see a light at the end of the tunnel, small as that light may be.