(This is part two of a five part series outlining “The Plan.” I know you’re probably tired of hearing me talk about me. Frankly, I am too. And, I’m sorry, I can’t tell you when that’ll stop. But rest assured if you stick around for a little while longer, this will get a little less preachy/existential and get down to the nuts and bolts of how a middle-aged guy implements a new course in life.)

Debt

debtAt the risk of being judged harshly, I’m going to admit something. I’ve enrolled in a debt relief program that will essentially wipe out half of my credit card debt. In and of itself that’s not so scandalous. But truth be told, I really don’t need a bailout. I’m taking advantage of this program because it’s available, because it will save me a boatload of money, and because it’s WAY easier than trying to figure out how to earn enough money to repay the entirety of my debt.

That last point, about earning money, will be covered in a future post on “The Plan.” For now, I’ll just say this: At my age (50), with my skills, and in this new economy, figuring out how to repay $40,000 of debt is daunting. Factor in the obvious reality of having to make enough money to survive the here-and-now, and it goes beyond daunting to the near impossible.

Frankly, I’d rather concentrate on the goals I’ve set moving forward rather than pounding my head against the wall trying to figure out how to pay for the “sins” of my past. And if I can cut my debt in half, and the only downside is a wrecked credit score for a couple years (at most), then why wouldn’t I? Why wouldn’t everybody?

During the real estate bust the term “strategic foreclosure” came into vogue. It was the practice of not making mortgage payments, even if you could, because the value of your home had dropped so much there was no conceivable way to recoup the loss in many, many years, if ever.

So let me coin a new phrase: “strategic debt relief.” Because that’s really what I’m doing. I’m taking advantage of a system when it’s not the ONLY way out of my problem, but it’s by far the EASIEST way out. (That makes me feel so American!)

This is the first time I’ve taken advantage of the numerous financial safety nets available to consumers in this country. I’ve never filed for bankruptcy, I’ve never lost a home to foreclosure, I’ve never faced a short sale, and I’ve never had anything repossessed. So, it could be said this “strategic debt relief” is my get-out-of-(debt)-jail card. Hopefully I won’t need to use it again.

There’s also a sinister pleasure to all of this. I have a thing about the big banks. I kinda hate ‘em. Not sure who all is responsible for the Great Recession, but I’m comfortable in blaming about 90 percent of it on the big banks. And Alan Greenspan. So making the big banks eat half my debt is my comeuppance. I’m sorry, what I meant to say is it’s my one and only way of telling the banks to go fuck themselves!

And if that makes me a bad person, I’m sorry. I’m bad. Spank me. And yes I know the banks pass on their bad debt to their customers. So I’d like to ask you, bank customer, for your forgiveness. And also to say thank you and give you a big fat kiss on the lips. Because it feels so nice to be half as in debt today as I was yesterday.

(To be continued…)
JMcT

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