I was irresponsible with my debt during college. I followed college graduation immediately with a messy and prolonged divorce. I followed that with years of acting like an ostrich with my head in the sand trying to just get through my life and ignoring the whole credit situation.
All of this adds up to a credit report so abominably bad that at 33, I cannot rent an apartment, buy a car, or get a charge card at my favorite clothing store, let alone buy a home of my own. I’ve struggled through somehow, but it’s getting ridiculous. Having bad credit puts up a lot of barriers to a good life. Every time I apply for a job, I get nervous when they make me sign the release allowing them to view my credit report.
Over the past few years, the state of my credit combined with my own ignorance about the proper way to handle the situation has led to some really ugly situations. Collection agencies calling me at work, making scary threats, calling me names, refusing to leave me alone, and ending with my job being in jeopardy because I was spending an hour in the bathroom crying everyday. If I’d only known then what I know now…if you’re in a situation like this, please learn your rights. Collection agencies are not allowed to harrass you endlessly, and if you send a letter to them asking them not to contact you by telephone, they are not allowed to call you any longer.
The situation is big and scary, but I know that I am far from being alone. I’m one of thousands of people with bad credit, who are being harrassed by collection agencies, who are being denied loans, jobs, and apartments. I’ve decided to share my experience, my mistakes, my successes and frustrations, in the hopes that it will help someone else too.
My best advice right now: stop being afraid. Take a few steps to learn the real boundaries of the problem. You’ll feel so much better when you see what it really is that you’re dealing with. No matter how bad it is, knowing exactly what the problem is will feel better than wondering and worrying.