Talk about living in a cave for years. I might as well have when it comes to CREDIT!. Coming from a remote island out of the middle of an Ocean, didn't help either. What the heck is credit I ask? Like so many people I talk to on the phone, I was an ignorant baboon when it come to credit. Didn't know what it was, what it means and how it can have a significant effect in one's life.
"When you don't have money, you need good credit!" My son stated firmly. He blames us for not teaching him about credit. Oh yeah, how can we teach something we never knew anything about. We've dealt with cash on everything we do. Never had a credit card under my name. I never believed in bank accounts. Even though my husband every now and then went out and got one and had to close it because he couldn't manage it. Now I have a prepaid card that I had to get because my work doesn't give out paper checks! What? What is the world coming to? I like picking up my checks and running to Walmart to cash it. Yes I'm a simple woman but simple doesn't seem to cut it with everything requiring good credit now-a-days.
Let's zip back in time for a minute. Growing up, it was kind of strange looking back at it, but we never lacked for anything with both my parents working. Most women in Tonga stayed home. But my mother and a few others had career with Liahona High School just across the street from us. She had gained her education by coming to Hawaii. So she was the executive secretary for all the LDS church schools in Tonga. My father was the head mechanic. He can fix anything. By that, I mean ANYTHING!
We had the cars, trucks, motorcycles, bicycles, boat and to top it off a store. My dad would make trips out here to America and he'd come back with all these things. Or people would give it to him because they couldn't afford to fix it or don't have the parts for their vehicles. We were the first to have a TV, video game in our village. Kids would climb our Touhuni tree outside our windows so they can take a peek at what a TV looks like. It made me giggle when I'd see them hanging outside the tree trying to peek in. We had a huge two story house with eight bedrooms, that one day in the unforeseen future, I'd like to go back and fix up because everyone says that it's falling apart under my little brother's care with his wife.
Anyway, back to credit. My aunt Peta was the storekeeper and whenever I need something, or am hungry, I always go to the store and get it. But I noticed she had this big red book that she keeps people's name in and what they bought but didn't pay for. Then they'll come back on their pay day and pay with money. Or they would bring something from their plantation in exchange for what they took. It didn't click on my tiny brain back then, that this is how credit works. If they don't pay up, my aunt would send one of my cousins to run to their house and tell them they owe her money.
Fast forward, it's a long way from a tiny island to a big continent. It feels like we've been clearing our way through a jungle with a machetes rather then a nice plow to clear the way for us. With bankruptcy back in the mid-nineties, charge offs, repos (we got a brand new aerostar back in the days and my father-in-law rammed into us on our way to the airport and there was no insurance so we ended up not paying for it) late payments and foreclosures we are finally beginning to make sense of it all. And we're almost half a century old did I mention. Not that I knew any of the meanings of those words until it was too late. So yes, I have been living in a cave. When it comes to managing finances, I suck at it and living from pay check to pay check, it really didn't seem all that matter anyways because there was really no money to manage.
Now in my older and wiser days, I wish I'd known back then what I know now. My admiration for my parents knows no bounds because I simply don't know how they did in an island that had no money. Here in America, we have everything in our fingertips. After being here for what seems like centuries, I'm finally understanding something about money, credit and finances.
We are going through credit repair. Luckily my work offers free credit repair for employees. I talk to people everyday who are on the same boat. Trying to fix their credit. Credit is vital, especially with the way the economy is. I went from knowing nothing about credit, to knowing everything about credit now. I went from being a stay-home-mom, to work-from-home mom, to a full time working mom now. My husband, due to his poor health which have been going on for almost 25 years now, is staying home. We have braved being broke for me to stay home with our children. Now they are all grown and don't need me at home, I'm contend to go back to work full time.
Most of the people I talk to, are people who are in the 500s low or 600s to 640s high in their Fico scores. They are being denied from getting anything because they're are told that they need a higher score in order for them to qualify for a loan, vehicle, mortgage etc. Before, the 600s were good to go. Now, your score have to be in the 700s or better in order to qualify for low interest anything and low monthly payments. So it makes a huge difference when you have good credit.
Now and then, we have some who are in the high 700s or 800s, they are still looking to repair their credit because having "good" credit is just not good enough. They want "excellent" credit. Unless you're a millionaire and have tons on money, then you might not need excellent credit. But if you're broke like me, then we need to work on getting good credit through credit repair or debt consolidation. We've settled some of our debts with certain companies that settles. Making payments on time though is the best way to avoid having negative items on your credit report.
I've come a long way from my cave days with credit. Life is all about progressing and moving forward. We may be moving in SNAIL pace but we're moving nonetheless. There are so many aspects in living this life. If it's not one things it's another. However, one thing I'm sure of, nothing will ever be more important to me then people themselves. Starting with those whom are dear and precious to my heart. My children. My families. Then it ripples outward to all human beings. They are the ones with souls. So our bonds doesn't end here in this life. They go on forever and ever.
We will always have something to work towards. Some goals to reach. Some perhaps just one or two things. Others, perhaps five or six things. It varies but THINGS will always be THINGS. They will never be compared to people, family, friends and loved ones.