In our “Money Mic” series, we hand over the podium to people with controversial views about money. These are their views, not ours, but we welcome your responses.
Today, one woman talks about the unconventional—and intercontinental—route that she took to pay off the mountain of debt that she’d amassed in college.
I sat on the park bench, my stomach churning because I was nervous about the call I had to make. I was about to dial the credit card company that had been harassing me nonstop for nearly a year and a half. I had defaulted on one of my cards—well, actually, my parents had—and I was finally ready to put an end to the calls I was constantly diverting to voice mail.
That was May 2011, and in hindsight, I feel a bit silly to have been so scared. I thought the collection agency was going to threaten me with a lawsuit. But the call was civil: The agent politely explained my options, and then set me up with a payment plan. I’d transfer $400 every month from my checking account toward the card’s balance for five months to pay off the settled amount of about $2,000.
For a few days after, I felt good about myself because I was finally taking control of my finances and finally acting like a responsible adult. But then I realized that it was just the tip of the iceberg: I still had about $68,000 of other debt on my shoulders.
A Family (Financial) Affair
This may sound bratty, but I blame my parents for the massive amount of debt that I had incurred. We never discussed it officially, but we had an understanding that they’d pay for most of my living expenses while I was in college however they could. So, in addition to taking out student loans (most of which were in my name), they signed me up for multiple credit cards, which we used to pay for textbooks and other expenses. Although the cards were all in my name, my parents paid them.