Bambi…and anyone else really serious about staying straight financially,
If you read back over what Oregon Jewel just shared, you’ll have some solid kernels of financial advice you can count on. I’ve been both a commercial loan officer AND a business reporter and ignoring bills will haunt you far longer than you imagine. Like OregonJewel said, “normal” bill delinquencies can stay on your credit report for seven years. But, wiley creditors have figured out how to get around that too…they change collection companies and resubmit your delinquent bill. That way, it it “re-ups” the seven year time frame. Believe me, there will come a time when you want to buy a house…or another house…or a car…or even send your kid to college and have to co-sign for a loan…and it all comes boiling out. You can deal with it now…or you can deal with it later. My suggestion is now. Firstly, EVERYONE should look at their credit report at least once a year. Strange stuff is happening more and more, and someone else could be loading your credit history with rank ratings by charging in your name. Unless you look at it, you won’t know. It also will give you a “real world” view of what you’ve done to your own credit history…good or bad.
In terms of credit reports, I would also suggest taking a quick (usually free or low cost) course on “Getting your credit straight” which is usually offered through credit counseling services. They will explain 1) how to get a copy of your credit report; 2) how to read it; 3) how to challenge inaccuracies on it; and 4) how to set a course to “mend” it.
A couple years ago I wrote a six-part financial series for the Medford Mail Tribune called “Minding Your Own Business.” I can’t seem to find the links in the archives. I’ll keep looking. It really has all the information you need to actually work through some of this stuff. The first installment was just around Christmas when I wrote on the psychological strings that get us deep in debt each holiday season. Guilt is a horrid, horrid thing.
Bambi, listen….if your SO reads…get a copy of “The Richest Man in Babylon” and stick it in his fire pack. He’ll find it and most likely read it when he has plenty of time to focus on the message. Read it yourself. There’s a reason its a classic.