You already know that my family's financial situation has been super transparent.
Why do I do that?
Because to be totally selfish here, it makes me feel better to dish it out. For years growing up in the financial situation that existed was anything but awesome. It was really crappy. And us kids were left in the dark about it. I mean, we knew that we lived off of welfare and food stamps and government cheese (many at times I remember visiting a food pantry), but as a kid, you don't quite understand it.
When I grew out of that situation I worked really hard to be okay. I may not have achieved much in the career department, but I worked and worked and worked before I had kids. And oddly enough, I kind of liked immersing myself into making an income that eventually, paid decently. Once Rick and I got together, we doubled our income and we were set.
But there was zero safety net. There was no savings. There was nothing set aside "in case of". We lived paycheck to paycheck and we were horrible with our money.
And it's not until you are absolutely without something then you realize "oh shit.. something is not right here.. hmm..maybe I should fix this". And we didn't. We still had no safety net when we had children and as they toddled around.. and with being a stay at home mom, we lived off of one full time income for 4 people, instead of a double income for only 2 people. Even the part time work I did barely paid for groceries for a few days. Once the layoffs began in 2007, we lived off of credit cards, a line of home equity, and if we were lucky, some random unemployment checks would come in. And if we were doubly lucky, Rick would get some hours to work here and there.
Shit got real.
Let's fast-forward to now.
I'm mostly a stay at home mom again, working some shifts here and there.. really scattered. Rick has a full time job that pays just enough for us to survive THANKFULLY. We have a 4 and a 6 year old and piles of debt lugged onto our shoulders as far as the eye could see, and all of it (I mean ALL of it) from 2007 through 2009. Let me also take a quick step back- we take full responsibility for our debt. We OWN this debt. I don't blame the banks.. I don't trust them.. but it's not their faults that we made the conscience decisions, on multiple occasions, to use THEM to bail US out of our shitty situation. Some people would even say, "but it really wasn't your fault" and shit you guys, I used that quote too a few times. But in essence, it really is our debt and if we don't take full responsibility for it, then me even writing this post means nothing.
Back to being totally transparent..
I just said to the husband last week, and I've been saying it, literally, every day since..that it's shocking that we haven't heard anything lately about our debts. We have a foreclosure, about 4 credit cards that piled up into major debt, and a line of equity all sitting there. I warned him (and myself because let's be fair here) that there is going to be a day soon where the banks will start garnishing his paychecks. He nodded and said that we both agreed to use our savings to get the bankruptcy stuff begun. It was getting scary. Just like children, if things are quiet..too quiet.. that can't be good.
Keep in mind, we haven't received any letters lately.. gosh, it's been a really long time and usually it was a letter saying "hey, let's settle this debt for this amount" which still always ended up being a number that I couldn't even wrap my head around.
But today I was proven that banks can pretty much take whatever they want whenever they want because they completely cleared our savings account. Oh no no WAIT! they left us a penny! So, technically they didn't take it all.
After letting out some really bad obscenities for a solid 10 minutes, I realized that that wouldn't help too much and so I sat down with the husband to think of a solution. To just rant.. and to think of a solution out of this shitty mess. Ok, I also had a major freak out moment on Facebook.. but that really did help me out. Free therapy from some wonderful people. Anyone who can deal with my drama on there is A+ in my book. Oy the drama.
So, we are at the garnishment stage of our financial pile of crap. And here I thought that they could only touch your paycheck..well that joke was on us. Happy February Capitol One! You can seriously suck my ass. (Sorry to those who uhm.. are like family and stuff that read this.. I am doing my therapy here hope you understand..major therapy in progress! just move along!).
(Also, don't show the kids this post).
We have to keep our checking account or else we'd have a super hard time getting Natalie's SSI payments. Ah yes! I'm sure the banks would love to take that too! And they can! So, now I have to figure out a crafty way to avoid this. And we also get our paycheck direct-deposited which I'm sure the banks are just drooling over that! So as you can see, I have to keep the checking account but somehow I have to be faster than the hunger-driven banks. This is the thing, yes asshole rich bank, I DO owe you money, but didn't you take a fucking quick glance at my accounts to see that our family of 4 does not have much? You took at least 55% of everything we had in our accounts. And I'm sure that whoever was in charge of doing that laughed at us. At least it feels like they would.
I have to make this known- I'm not denying our debts, I just can't believe that they took every penny.
But at least now we know the garnishment process has started and we have to find a way to protect our assets, what little we have to survive. And I know for a fact that Capital One was drooling over our account hoping to god that our savings had our tax returns piling up in there.
There are a million things we've already learned and have taken to heart during this financial shit storm, but one of the big ones is to completely avoid all credit cards, lines of credit, whatever it'll be called.. in the future, at all costs. I don't care if Suze Orman would disagree with me or not. I would rather live off of our own income, dollar for dollar, for the rest of our lives than to ever fill out any application for credit again. We are better than that, now. We know better than that. We've been credit card-less for 3 years now and we actually only know that way now and we won't change something that's working.
We live within our means now. Yeah, we were forced to, but goddammit if it wasn't the most brutal and eye-opening lesson we've ever received. I'm very thankful for that.
And I'm pretty sure more lessons are coming.....