I applied for my first credit card during my junior year of college. The application required an annual salary, which I didn’t have. But not having an annual salary wasn’t an option, so I checked the box indicating $100,000-$120,000. I justified the lie with the internal argument that my father’s income at the time must have been about that—or so I then suspected. I must have been wrong, though, since my father declared bankruptcy two years later. But this is about me and my money mess, not his.
Well this is very uncool, via the NYT: "Student Loans Can Suddenly Come Due When Co-Signers Die, a Report Finds."
When I clicked the "sure, I'll pay back this $55K" button on the student loan site, I had $10K in credit card debt. I also had no idea that I had racked up $10K on my credit cards.
I should have never gotten a credit card, and I knew it. Nobody without a job, savings, or assets of any kind should, especially if their income is less than their rent. It’s basic math.
On her blog Girl's Gone Child, Rebecca Woolf talks about trying to maintain a good credit score so that she and her husband can refinance their mortgage, and how they battled her credit card debt only to get screwed by a forgotten annual fee. Nooooo
Many of us have thought, "What would happen if I just pretended this credit card bill didn't exist? Hmmm..."
Via our pal Matt Levine, Bloomberg has an interview with Thomas Anderson, the author of a new book out called The Value of Debt. During the financial crisis, many households were overleveraged, which later resulted in a focus on de-leveraging and becoming debt-adverse (we got better at paying down our credit cards, for example, though that kind revolving debt is beginning to rise again). As you can see from his response above, Anderson argues that being too debt-averse is a mistake. He argues that it's all about balance—pay off that high-interest, non tax-deductible debt first, but also hold onto some of your money in case you need it. Do what you need to do to remain secure, essentially.