5-steps-to-financial-survival

5 Steps To Financial Survival

5-steps-to-financial-survival

Financial survival is a legitimate aspect of modern survival. Striving for financial independence will lead you to freedoms you may have never known existed.

Even if you’re buried in debt, once you’ve made the decision to make your way out – ‘the process’ will be self-liberating and uplifting (even though it may take a long time to get there).

I wrote this 5 years ago during 2015. It is just as valid today. I’m republishing it for your benefit:

Five Steps To Get Started Towards Financial Freedom

Stop Borrowing.

Stop the bleeding. Regardless of your current debt, you must (I mean, must) stop sinking further in debt. You will not be able to change anything until you stop spending borrowed money. Period. It is THE most important first thing to do.

Trim Your Budget.

Be honest with yourself and your budget. Chances are that there are only one or two categories where you tend to break the budget. Think about it. You know what they are… Maybe you go out to eat too much. Maybe you buy too many new clothes. Maybe you spend too much on gadgetry. Whatever it is, the point is to simply STOP spending too much where you know it to be your weakness. It takes will power. Need versus want.

Save.

Even though there is relatively little interest paid on cash savings these days, this is no excuse not to save and you will miss out on one motivational technique while overcoming your debt burdens. As you begin to save a few dollars here and there, your motivation will grow as your ‘cash stash’ grows. Consider not utilizing ‘every’ extra dollar on paying off your debts. Instead use some of it to build up a savings of cash. Keep it at home where you can watch it grow (get a Safe).

Expect the Unexpected.

A common area where people tend to go into debt is in the category of emergency expenses. This is where having a savings of cash will provide some insurance against falling back into debt. Expect things to happen, things to break, such as the unplanned car expense or home appliance repair or replacement. Unexpected expenses ALWAYS happen. Save for them.

Plan for Future Expenses.

Rather than letting known future expenses catch up with you (which often send people back into debt), plan instead for them. Use simple math. If you know that you will likely need a replacement vehicle in about 2 years, and you are planning to purchase a used-car for say, $7,000, then $7,000/24 months equals nearly $300 per month that you need to save ahead of time. Budget for it. You must save for it – else go further into debt when you actually need it.

 ‘The system’ hides the true cost of many things while presenting it in terms of monthly payments.

It’s easy to get trapped into buying things when you figure you can afford ‘x’ dollars per month – while not fully understanding the full costs including interest payments over years, etc.. This is especially true with car loans. You rarely see the sticker price advertised in marketing – instead it’s about the monthly payments.

I believe that one of the big problems today is the lack of understanding that you cannot (should not) simply spend all of your paycheck or take-home income each month. Just because there might be a little money left over, doesn’t mean that it’s there to spend spend spend.

Remember that there will always be the probability that unexpected and perhaps significant expenses might slam you throughout life. You must plan for this by facing the reality that you need to set aside a portion of your take-home income for the future. This notion goes against the programming and marketing of ‘the system’ which deluges you with advertising and pressures to buy-buy-buy, however it is a false notion, one that will make you a debt slave – potentially forever.

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117 Comments

    1. Yes, that is the sad reality that some (or most?) adults are living on the edge with regards to their take-home pay vs. loans and bills (in my opinion). Even for those who are reasonably cautious and responsible – it’s easy to get swayed these days given the constant bombardment that it’s ‘okay’ to get one’s self into debt, or to buy things which are beyond our means, etc.

      1. It’s even worse when you have a spouse whose knee-jerk answer to your “We can’t afford it” is, “Well, we just pay so much every month!” The road to hell isn’t paved with good intentions, it’s paved with plastic credit cards.

    2. 50% of americans have less than $1,000 in savings. 60% have zero retirement savings.

      47% of new car sales are to Alt-A, below prime and subprime borrowers.
      65% of new car loans are now for 72 months.
      Average loan to value of new car loans is over 100% Meaning they have borrowed more than their new car is worth on the lot.

      Back in 2007 I was seeing clients with $500,000 houses, Cadillac Escalade and new Mercedes in the driveway and NO FURNITURE. Mortgaged everything to impress friends and neighbors. No savings (no 1099’s) and no retirement accounts. (The tax guy sees everything…) Two missed paychecks away from bankruptcy.

      I cashed our IRA’s out of stocks and into cash and didn’t lose a penny in the crash.

      Now I’m seeing all that again.

      To deal with reality you must first accept it.

      1. I bet most of these people would say, “But…this is MY reality! Reality is different for each person!” WRONG. Reality is the same for everyone. It’s PERCEPTION of reality that differs between people and the more your perception diverges from ambient reality the worse off you’re going to be when the inevitable day of reckoning hits. Thus the subprime meltdown and it’s not over yet.

        1. Frank,
          I once had a boss tell me “perception is reality”, for an “end-all-be-all” to an argument, in which he needed an out, because was wrong.
          in another argument same instance the boss was wrong and said “I’m right because I’m right”, again, by the way, she was at fault…

    3. That’s true but many adults live without thinking and just go along with the herd. Exercising self control and deferring gratification are foreign concepts to the feels good do it era. But we all need to keep sharing information to protect the ones who will listen today or at some point in the future have an “aha” moment.

    4. Young adults(late teens and those under about age 35) need these tips. Schools, especially high schools, do not teach finance management or budgeting money. They are too focused on “teaching to the test” and ” covering the standards” , not on teaching life skills. We taught our kids how to manage money, our sons can pinch a penny until it screams. A couple of their friends were stunned when one son suggested that they start making coffee at home rather than shelling out for a cup of burnt tasting coffee from the franchised coffee chain on the corner .

  1. I feel a need to express another concept, that of not saving a lot of money in the bank. I suggest that after saving say 3 months salary, then spend everything left over on physical assets that will serve you in the future in someway. This may be items like long term food, medical supplies, guns and ammo, garden seeds and the list goes on. I believe sticking a lot of money in a savings account is a loosing proposition that only helps the bank. The stock market is a fools paradise. Financial survival in the future will be for those who do not take part in the financial system that exist today.

    1. By not saving for the future you can make a major mistake. While we all believe that in one way or another the SHTF scenario will come, what if it doesn’t? Or what if it doesn’t come in our lifetime?. Prepping is simply planing for the future. We look down on the sheeple because they don’t believe anything will happen but we can become the same sheeple by believing it can only happen one way.

  2. Stop Borrowing-After paying off our last car loan (about a 1.5 years ago) my wife and I vowed to never have another car payment. Well my Jeep had finally seen the end nearing quickly (’99 Cherokee w/ 262+ miles) and we had been planning and saving specifically for a replacement. After shopping around I was able to purchase a decent truck with lots of life left on it for cash, no loan! As tempting as it was to walk into a dealership and bite the bullet we didn’t do it. There isn’t a whole lot that feels better than walking out of there with a vehicle and no payments. Just a little personal victory I would share to let everyone know that it is possible.

    1. “There isn’t a whole lot that feels better than walking out of there with a vehicle and no payments”

      That is the truth! There are plenty of good used vehicles out there (lots in fact), and having no payments is awesome! Too bad that good responsible fiscal money management isn’t taught in school! (But that would go against the bankster powers-that-be ‘brainwashing’ to stay in debt like a good little worker-bee slave)

        1. Learn how to fix things on the car. Most things really aren’t hard. Particularly with older cars. Less computers.

          1. @FF; The reality is that you can’t do much other than change the oil, air filters and maybe repack bearings and change mufflers, shocks and batteries…and a few other items. You can’t tune it up, etc. If you can swing a wrench, you know what you can do. If you don’t have a “code reader” AND understand what they mean and have the means to repair the deficiencies, then it doesn’t matter. Keeping a 1987 or earlier diesel pickup, now that is a different issue. Be Well.

          2. I think you are understating what can be done. I do agree that obtaining and interpreting the diagnostics are a problem for most. But then I have met adult men who didn’t know how to change a flat tire.

  3. When we bought our home 20 yrs ago, we put the price tag at the yearly salary of the lowest income of the two of us. We bought land, used double wide, minimal clearing, well, septic, driveway, electric, and permits for $36,000. It is ours now. Improvements were/are done with cash saved for the project. Some folks think we compromised — I think we made out like bandits! I am warm in the winter, cool in the summer — quite comfy!

    I know people who cannot believe I would live in a “trailer”. I just smile. I am debt free — they use $1000 monthly on a mortgage and cannot get ahead.

    Debt free is possible and it is a fabulous way to truly live!

    1. Very wise. If you are comfortable, that’s all that matters, because in the end you can’t take it with you anyway.

    2. The property and well are more important than the home. A double wide home, “can be easily maintained and very cost effective” if put on good ground.. Good for you!

  4. It pretty easy to be debt free when you are older and your kids are out of school and your house paid for. But I can remember the days that I had very little left at the end of the month. I always save 15% of my pay up front in a 401k plan but I had a good job and my wife worked also and she had a good job. But a lot of people that make less money have to live pay day to pay day and is very hard to save and stay out debt when you have hungry mouths to feed and cloth and pay doctor bills.

    1. I will agree with part of that, but in order to be debt free, the person must learn some control early on. I know a woman who refinanced her home when she turned 50 — her husband worked for the state as a janitor, she drove a delivery truck. She was proud to have a new 30-yr mortgage! Her payments were only $1150 a month! and when I questioned her how she expected to make her payment on social security, her answer was a blink, blink, blink, “well, I’ll just refinance. You know that I want what I want and if mama ain’t happy…..” yeah, I know, If mama ain’t happy, everybody suffers.

  5. We are out of debt and keep next to nothing in the bank these days due to the financial uncertainties. Instead once we have what I consider an excess of cash where I don’t feel comfortable keeping it in the house, we put it into the house. We invest in our house, upgrading, improving, etc.

    This year we upgraded our oil tank to a 400 gallon dual lined tank. This also gives us a little more leeway in ordering oil when the price is lower. All of these improvements increase the value of our house, like money in the bank but safer.

    1. I agree with your concept of converting some of your excess cash into tangibles that are of practical and real value. We must not assume that our ‘cash’ Fiat paper ‘funny money’ will be worth tomorrow what it is today. In fact, every day it is worth less.

  6. Throw all the credit cards ( except one) into the fireplace.
    Pay them off, starting with the smallest, until all are paid.
    If you MUST use the one you kept, pay it off at months end.

    Pay off your mortgage.

    You will never have a better feeling than when you are debt free.

    1. So I have a question tango. First off I look at debt different than others. It’s not really debt thats bad its paying interest. I just recently put dual pane windows in my house and put it on a credit card that is interest free for 18 months. I could have paid cash but with no interest why would I give up that money before I had to? My question is since you advocate paying off the credit cards each month ( I completely agree ) why would you not use them,collect the free points and cash you can accumulate through them and just use the extra money for preps,vacations, ect? Credit cards are nothing more than a form of payment just like cash,checks,change,debit car,barter ect. The problem lies with people not being able to control their spending not the form of payment used. I get aprox 6-700 a year in rebates and cash back using my cards and never pay a penny in interest.

      1. You are an exceptional person.

        I think the number is in the high 80 percent neighborhood for people who DON’T pay off “same as cash” deals in the required time to avoid interest charges.

        <bb

        1. I don’t know about being and exceptional person but I do know I am an exception to the rule. The problem is people have no self control. Having to pay everything in cash because you can’t control spending is like not putting food in your house because you can’t control eating. it might get the job done but you aren’t addressing the root of the problem.

  7. If you are young become a Spartan with your discipline. Exercise becomes your recreation, eating for nutrition instead of pleasure, Barnes and Noble and the library becomes your entertainment. Save save save and make things last. Every penny spent should hurt and every penny saved should be pleasure. The old days of care free stupidity is over. This is survival so embrace it instead of fearing it. Every purchase should have a purpose as every minute of your day should be used wisely. Love the challenge and most of all do not I repeat do not use others as a guide to you and your families status in life. In no time your physical health as well as your financial health will become much stronger. There is a big difference between want and need. Learn this and you will succeed.

    1. Just like Dave Ramsey says, ‘give every dollar a name.’once I started doing that, I looked at the opportunity cost of every purchase.

  8. I was a truck driver for 17 years but have not worked in 4 years. We now live on my husbands income. Which has gone in 10K in the last 2 years. ( a total of 20K) Last year we made changes in the way we use electricity, these changes saved us $1200.00 last year. We want a bigger pick up truck and have decided to sell one of the cars then save for a good used truck. Got the envelope marked new truck all ready to go. My husband works 3 miles away making it easy to drop him off at work for the day if need be. We did talk about getting a small loan to buy a good used truck, then snapped back to reality real quick. lol We keep an emergency fund that thankfully we rarely have had to dip into. The hardest thing for us to cut out has been eating out Friday nights. We now keep a list of everything we spend money on. This should help us find even more ways to save money, now if I can just keep my hubby from buying tools. In all fairness he is a mechanic. I wonder how it will effect the economy with so many people saving and not spending? Maybe the powers that be will pass a law allowing us to only save a percentage of our income.

  9. It took us a long time to finally get to the point where we are debt free. Three years ago and counting. I can’t tell you how liberating the feeling of being debt free is. Never again.

  10. I did unconventional things to save money and pay off my credit cards and line of credit debt. It took a little ingenuity and planning to borrow money on a new card at 0% interest for 3 months to buy a wood stove and converting my heating source and get a free $50 to boot for using the card. They lost money on me! That card was paid off within 3 months from the savings I made in not having to buy $1200 of propane that winter and the savings every year paid off all my credit cards and line of credit including other methods “outside of the box” I used in about 3 years.

    It wasn’t easy because I am under the poverty level in income stats, but it was a challenge and can I say “fun”? when I met or exceed my goals each month. At the same time I was paying off my debts, I also built up my prepping supplies and had enough cash to pay two months worth of bills. Dave Ramsey gave me a head start on basics.

    I learned more survival skills during that time out of need to pay off those debts. With the debt paid off and savings accumulated after that time, I bought my truck with cash, a riding mower with cash, and everything in cash, including dental work that gave me a $300 discount using cash. I never had so much cash before in my life since I paid them off 3 years ago. A great feeling? I was like Red Bull and sprouted wings!

  11. Make hay while the sun shines. In other words, save and pay down debt while you’re healthy and have a job.

    For us, we did save and pay down debt. Then the cut in pay came. (25%!) We couldn’t save as much or pay as much on debt, but we got by. Then the job loss came. Everything halted. We had to draw on our savings to pay for health related expenses. Then we started to use our CC because a job was just around the corner.

    We are back to square one. Two steps forward and three back was what we experienced. :(

    1. After my debts were paid off and I saved for any disaster, I lost my job too and used my savings with an order or two for sewing projects until I got my job back with a different employer. When shtf, it doesn’t have to be a nation-wide event. It can be something personal that hits home. I am glad to hear you had savings to draw on, most people don’t.

      Reports say 4 out of 10 people are just one day away from financial ruin. That shows how fragile our lives are if we don’t pay off our debts and spend as much or more money as we bring in.

      1. We were grateful to have been prepared to the extent we were when the cut in pay came, and when the job loss hit it was our personal SHTF moment. The one good thing that came of that time is we had lots of family time together. :)

        Anyway, I figure if we can continue to make what we are now, it will take us two years of saving to get back to where we were before the cut in pay. (That’s if hyperinflation doesn’t come!)

    2. We’ve moved to 6 communities in 3 states for DH job opportunities. 2x when I paid down payment on house, I had next to no money left. Sticking to your plan with the self control you’ve got will get you back to where you want to be. Hope new job opportunity goes well.

  12. Debts are paid off , have invested in Municiple Bonds over the years , great return low taxes , if any at times , as for now guaranteed against loss , if you get involved with this be sure you get the option to be able to pull your cash out yearly if you want to . Be prepared and ready . Keep your powder dry .

  13. If someone is debt free with 3 months of cash in the bank… what do you recommend they do with the excess? I know it is not a common occurrence that someone is this lucky…. but I am hoping to get there in the near future. If I am so fortunate to keep this ball rolling, what does one do with the extra if they don’t trust the banks?

    1. buy land. plant timber.

      buy a good safe. buy gold. safe deposit box is ok, but you run the risk you won’t be able to get into it if you need it.

      credit unions are better than banks. banks require “equity” that can be created by confiscation of deposits (see: cyprus). Credit unions do not because the customers are the owners. Credit unions seldom fail. There was one in 2014, but it ended up being bought by a bigger CU.

      Avoid any of the top 10 banks. The “too big to fail” banks are now 37% bigger than in 2008 and, in my opinion, there will be no way to bail them out again.

      1. CPA PREPPER,

        Wife and I are getting ready to buy 5 beautiful wooded acres here in Central KY (about 30-40 min outside major city). Exceptional area of horse farms/training facilities; many of the homes are tucked back in the woods. This is an area of old money, many retired folks, just under 5K people, God’s country. The land is absolutely beautiful. Far enough from the Ohio River that you won’t flood, but close enough to enjoy the views. We’ve been searching for that forever lot (for the forever home) for a while now. Knew we’d have a hard time finding an acre for around $100K (not a typo, I’m afraid), but we found 5 acres we’re offering $200K (orig $325K) for. We’re in our 40s, comfortable, not in debt (but will be), savers — but it’s double what we planned on spending for the land. Which means we’ll put off building for a year or two at most to offset that. Everyone keeps telling me that because it’s land, it’s a great investment. It’s not like we’re building a $500K house on a postage stamp lot; a chunk of that is land. But I gotta tell you, it makes me nervous. Can you shed some light on this? First time buying land (dad was the land guy, but he’s passed). Had all of this not happened with our nation, I can’t say I’d be as eager to buy 5 acres. Now I feel I should. Thanks.

    2. Lucky, in our household, we started with 3 months savings and slowly added to that because most personal SHTF involving job loss take 9 to 12 months to resolve. Try not to depend on both incomes if you are married. It is very hard, but better if you can do this. Keep a good chunk of your cash at home if you can, not in safe deposit box which you do not have access to when needed. Make certain your housing situation is solid – home is paid for or you are paying down quickly and you have taxes paid.

      As Ken stated, plan out what you will need in the next 2 yrs or more and save for that necessity. Buy when things are on sale.

      We always tried to max out on employers matching retirement money – they will give 3 percent if you put in 6 percent to retirement. And, yes, we do payment if no interest for a period of time and it is always paid off the month before it is due so no mix ups. This works Well when the item you need will increase in price by the time you have the funds to purchase through savings.

      Make a plan for what you (and your other half) want to accomplish and stick to your plan and recognize those milestones as you get there.

      Good luck.

  14. Interesting how most individuals financial situation is just as fragile as our JIT supply chain. One hiccup and there is a serious disruption that could bankrupt the end-user. Understanding how our entire economic system is connected pushes you into preparing for the unforeseen events due to circumstances out of your control. You don’t gain this understanding until you are responsible for yourself and can see the impact of your actions on your life. I wish they would spend more time teaching this in schools as most don’t grasp the concept until their late 30’s.

    1. Rwt said, “I wish they would spend more time teaching this in schools as most don’t grasp the concept until their late 30’s.”

      EXACTLY!
      Unfortunately “the system” wants EVERYONE in debt. Maybe that’s why the public schools won’t teach it. The system does not want us independent whatsoever. Rather, they do everything to keep us dependent. It’s sick. Everything is about monthly payments. Debt.

      1. I don’t really agree with the schools needing to teach fiscal responsibility. This was supposed to be taught by the parents. The school was supposed to teach you math then the parents were supposed to teach you how to apply it to life. To many people ( in my opinion ) want to pawn off the responsibility of educating , feeding and babysitting their children to the school system instead of doing it themselves. Then theses same parents question how the children are taught. They send the kids to school for free breakfast and lunch then complain when the kids expect everything for free. When the schools closed due to covid19 the schools stayed open during meal times and parents had to drive to the schools to pick up these free (actully paid for by tax payers) meals and the news showed 90% of them driving late model vehicles and wearing nice cloths. I didn’t see anyone that looked like they couldn’t afford a meal in the line.

        1. One lady I spoke to said she couldn’t home school her kids because she needed the “day care aspect” of the school system. SMH

        2. As a long-time-ago teacher, unfortunately that is the truth. Parents expected me to be the babysitter and the teacher of morals and values (which are very different from theirs!). The best thing teachers can do is actually teach morals, values, and how to make and spend/save a paycheck because the parents have no clue and they will not teach this anyway. Very sad reality that I saw in the 80’s and it still continues. And unfortunately many of our teachers do not know how to save money and have very different ideas on morals and values.

          1. I distinctly recall taking a class in between 6& 12th grade titled Personal Finance. You learned how to balance a checkbook, build a budget, live within a budget, understood how interest worked in savings accounts. Explained Tbills, stocks and bonds. The class emphasized how credit could determine you getting into college. I do. It see this as an elective in any school systems currently. My parents tried to teach this, grandparents pushed it hard when I bounced my first check as Freshman in college. I Mowed my grandmothers yard for the entire summer for free over miscalculating by $25. The error cost me 50hrs of “free” work when my grandmother paid the overdraft charges and covered it. Still an inexpensive lesson when I look back. From that day forward I built a cushion in the checking account to cover for my quick math and bad timing. Point is most parents I see today do use the school as a babysitter and blame the teacher for not doing a parents job. The parents would rather look at their social media page than spend time with their child.

            My daughter has been taught well, “Violet(her piggy bank) eats first”. Any $ she receives goes there before she can account for any other wanted purchase. The world needs more Violets.

            If you want to train them to be a good capitalist, use their own penny’s to cover the squares during bingo. Winner gets all the pennies on the losing cards. They quickly learn to save.

  15. My best friend likes to say she can “squeeze a nickel until it screams.” I have been very interested these days in becoming much more frugal myself. It becomes a game to see how much we can save every month, and find different ways to accomplish the same goals. And I think in 2020 we all learned a lot from this virus lockdown stay-home thing. I learned I can live without paper towels. Savings there. It all adds up. And like others here, pay cash if you can.

    Hey, anyone else seeing banks having a “coin shortage” these days? Think they are starting the push for a cashless society? Any good reason the US government is not minting coins anymore? Yet when I asked the bank teller if they wanted me to bring in all my change stuffed in old coffee cans they said no. Well, why wouldn’t they want change if they have a coin shortage? Seems odd, doesn’t it?

    1. I spoke to a CU teller who said that they’re phasing out checks within five years. The simplest way to phase out cash is to get everyone hooked on plastic and push stores to refuse cash because it’s “dirty.”

      I almost laughed when a store clerk didn’t want to accept cash and instead pointed at the machine that’s been touched by probably hundreds of people in the same day, one after another, usually without being cleaned in between. Talk about filthy! My cash, on the other hand, has been in no one’s hands except my own and has been in my wallet for months…

      She didn’t like it when I pointed that out.

    2. DJ5280, I ran into this myself. What, no coins. They really are going all the way. I guess our coins will be to heavy for the coming Weimar republic.

    3. DJ5280

      Bank here told a local businessman friend of mine that it’s CoV-related. Bank staff don’t want to handle all that coinage unless it can be sanitized. Apparently no way to manage that.

  16. You forgot one: Don’t loan money. I am in the financial shape I am in because of loaning so much money to someone I thought was a friend. The loan was guaranteed by a mortgage on property they owned. But it turned out they had forged a signature and so my mortgage was worthless. That was over 15 years ago, but I was close to retirement, having trouble with my vision, and it was too late to recover.

    1. DaisyK,

      Agree,………..with a caveat. I do “loan” money to friends and family, but only money that I would have given as a gift anyhow, and money I can survive without.

      I know that some will disagree……….that’s OK. Knowing I’ve helped someone over a rough spot is payment enough. If they keep returning to the trough, the spigot runs dry.

    2. Daisy K

      This was fraud and should have been prosecuted. If they did it to you they did it to others.

      They are otherwise known as scum to be polite.

      1. They did do it to others. I got a call from the Colorado Springs DA wanting to prosecute, but I was living and working in Wyoming by then and out of money so I never went in to see her.

  17. I found a fairly easy (at least in my opinion) way to see the difference between wants and needs. I figured out just what my hourly money was after tax’s,insurance,retirement contribution ext then I take that number ( use 10.00 for an easy number ) and divide what I want to buy into it. if something is 100.00 I just decide if I am willing to work 10 hours for that thing. If so I buy it , if not I don’t. I found when I break it down to hours out of my life as opposed to money out of my pocket I think a lot harder about the purchase.

    1. Agree. Looking at things from a ‘How much of my life am I willing to trade for this’ perspective helps with spending control. The idea is also the basis of the book (recommended) ‘Your Money or Your Life’.

    2. My wife has a rule we go by, if the bill lasts longer than the product,
      you pay cash.
      That worked great and we dumped all the cards maybe 10 years ago.
      But
      We are now in a position we have no credit.
      Might want to keep an eye on your reports so you don’t run into what we are going through
      It’s proving almost impossible to even get a card now to reestablish credit.
      It can be done but I hate playing the game of sending them money for a card, then using that same card with a limit of how much I sent them.
      It’s great not having bills but I never thought I would be punished for it.
      You would think lenders would be pleased that you were debt free.

      1. McCatfish
        Dave Ramsey spoke about this a while back, believe if you check his information page there should be recommendations without playing the CC game.

        There are ‘businesses’ that understand those who are financially responsible, that are not up their eyeballs in debt, they prefer to do business with. fyi

      2. McCatfish –

        Do it the other way with CC companies. Screw with their algorithms; it’s great fun. If you have a $100k in credit and spend a thousand, your utilization is 1%; your score will go way up. But try and “be responsible” and put a thousand on a $5k limit, and suddenly you are at 20% utilization with a roach score. Also, rotate your card usage at least every year. Phase one out, then spend on a dormant card; then pay that off – you’ll be at 850 FICO real quick. Try to go “all cash” and your score will drop precipitously. Also only deal with points awards or cash back. It’s great! With discipline you can make money off those crooks.

        And they are so incredibly dumb, putting their full faith in “the system”. AMEX was the only card issuer that caught me and tried to cut me off. They slashed my limit on my blue card, so I cut it in half and sent it back to them; instantly. They must have noted my account, because they got junkyard dog nasty with me. About a year ago my co-worker had this deal where if I applied for their platinum card, both me and the sponsor would get a cash payout. They stopped that cold and sent me a nasty-gram making all kinds of capricious demands for information about how I intended to use the card, etc. It was quite funny they would do that, while recognizing my “member since ’87” status.

        Recently my mobile phone has been unreliable at work. My boss got irritated so they gave me (forced me into) a new iPhone. Apple has their own exclusive card now, issued by Goldman-Sachs. “Cha-Ching”! Got that one loaded on this dumb phone yesterday. They too will pay me to use it. Many times in life it really doesn’t pay to be “the good guy”. CC companies are brutal; they deserve every exploit! git ’em!

        1. Thanks TM

          We have been looking things over to see what card we may try for.
          If we were not so close to calling it quits here and finding a little place
          somewhere away from the east coast I would not worry about it.
          We figure about 18 months is all that we have left and in the meantime its looking looking etc..
          I’m thinking that is enough time to get it all arranged.

  18. After the utility bills are paid we spend only on food,water,medicine,
    security and an occasional morale booster.
    Don’t listen to anyone telling you to invest in antiques,art,classic cars,
    or collectible firearms. There is nothing that is recession proof. This is
    going to be a long depression.

    1. Vickie

      That is our practice, too. IMO, truly good investments right now, and even they aren’t guaranteed, are assets that provide practical value for your life. Items that support your *not* spending money in the future. A manual well pump, for when the power goes out ensures your access to water. Tools and equipment for growing food or harvesting firewood so you don’t have a high grocery bill, and don’t need to rely on the grid for heat. Items that support your ability to earn income – woodworking tools, beehives, blacksmithing equipment, etc…

      1. Farmgirl,
        I mostly just spend money on stuff that will either feed us, or will allow me to make of fix or build things that can make money. I dont make a lot usually, so i try to make it count.

  19. “The system hides the true cost of many things”….especially in relation to the pitfalls that await.

    You can be the best employee the company has ever had, yet the Corporate greed, executive packages and shareholder value will all get the profits of your labors far ahead of you getting a much earned cost of living wage increase. And unless you are female or a person of color, the Diversity guidelines that HR has been mandated to follow negate any form of promotion whatsoever. If you’re a white male, good luck and we don’t care if the door hits you on the way out.

    Your child comes home and tells you what he learned in school and it in no way reflects what you hold as a belief, so now you’re faced with calculating how to pay for a private school, survive on only one salary to homeschool, or take on a new mortgage for a house in an area where the school has a different curriculum.

    On and on it goes. In truth, I fully suspect that couples bow their heads together in prayer over finances way more than other challenges they face. And that couple better be evenly yoked, with a compatible mindset, or you’re building nothing more than a house of cards together rather than the bedrock that will be required to face today’s fiscal battles. The game has changed over the years, the stakes have grown vastly more catastrophic where a bad misstep can wreak havoc for years. Ground that will not be easily regained, nor done without huge adjustments and a true survivalist mentality and determination.

    1. Depending on the age and behavior of the children, Homeschooling can be done by a single working parent with family supports… for an older child that might be a grandparent, older sibling, uncle, neighbor… they can call or person can check on them routinely during the day…during parents work hours. Schooling can be purchased for about 400$ per year. and can be done from a flash drive set of materials. many are self grading…. we used a Alpha Omega lifepac curriculum. There is currently a paper, a thumb drive, an online learning academy, and a monthly prescription service..I investigated this in the last 30 days for a friend.. If someone does not homeschool they have NO excuse if they have a well behaved child w/ minimal supports.

  20. it took a number of years to get debt free (after the last of the college bills for kids) but we finally got there. When we “downsized” from the ranch we bought our new place for cash, reserving an amount for the improvements we desired. I will NEVER go into debt for ANYTHING ever again. (too old anyway). Our children appreciated that we covered their student loans during our downsizing as well…though there was not a lot because we assisted along the way.
    When we downsized, we spoke with ALL of the kids and encouraged them to get debt free as quickly as possible. They are all on board with living within their means!

  21. All sage advice. As a Christian I know that God the Father, writing in the Bible, has much to say about material wealth. I believe that we are not to allow wealth to become our “God”, but to also be good Stuarts of all the blessings He sends our way.

    Example: God sent Moses bread daily from above, but he just didn’t lay there with his mouth open, he had to get up, walk out carrying a basket, then bring a full basket back to camp. He had to supply the work, God supplied the blessings.

    Sorry if this is too preachy for some

  22. great advice from all . I would add get a low cost or profit making hobby fishing wine making gardening as examples . then instead of spending money practice your hobby it might even net you a few frns . it certainly will get you away from online activity’s and a fresh fish / bottle of wine / garden produce will give you an in with your neighbors .

  23. This might be a good time to tell my story about Terminix so you can alert others.
    Our house and all around us is on hydrophobic soil, it won’t hold rain water. Terminix had husband sign a contract for $10,000 @ 7 % and I agreed, signing nothing, because a heloc would have been the same , to dehumidify, etc under house.
    After 3 days’ work, the field inspector who we signed with wouldn’t return our calls for two weeks and the electrician hadn’t shown to hook up sump pump and dehumidifier. Attorney said send rescind letter and we also sent a letter to the finance company to rescind, Service Master Acceptance Company.
    Well, in a couple days, I received a letter stating my debt was $11,020 @ 18% and it was addressed to me, and the loan was in my name…I signed one paper-to use my credit score is all.
    The only paper work we have is the carbon of amt. 10,000 @ 7% signed by the field rep who won’t return calls.
    Tried for days to find someone to voice my complaint…no one and the company Terminix is set up that way to discourage any complaints.
    Any advise?? Oh, don’t say sue for breach of contract–Terminix has us there–the law firm wanted $3000 when we walked through the door!!!?/!!
    Help!

    1. OH, the front porch dropped 2 inches and to re-do that another $4000 from a friend. It rotted the lower 2 inches of wood.

    2. Jay Jay, Take out a full page ad ..in local paper,and make flyers… post them in every area you can legally post, bulletin boards in businesses./public forums…. something like this….”.Terminex can not be reached for service or for service complaints. They have added surcharges above… costs as normal./were agreed before they decided to NOT fulfill their end of contract. Proceed at your own risk with this company. They suckered us Don’t be their next victim.” I am not a lawyer, i do not play one on tv. sometimes you must make them contact you.ONLY lots of BAD publicity will do that.

    3. JayJay –

      Do an Internet search for “Terminix Class Action Lawsuit” – then pick the one you’d like to join. They’ve been ripping people off for a long time.

      1. Thanks for these two suggestions…so far, I have told every person I come in contact with about the hoo-doo we got from Terminix.
        I’m sure the electrician hired to wire for the two machines will totally break the contract/make it void..good, cause I don’t want to see that corrupt gang again…ever.
        I have a letter for Mitch McConnell(yes, I know) because his office was the only one that helped me with incompetence at VA when Gene had brain bleed/brain surgery.
        I don’t have a printer here but I believe I can get it printed at library computers.
        Craigslist….HERE I COME!!! I will use them for my complaint.

    4. I would start by writing the loan company and Terminex a certified, return-receipt letter stating that they are in breach of contract, outline everything that you said above, and tell them that you Demand restitution or whatever it is you want – them to fix the problems and fulfill the contract or to negate the contract or whatever you want. Then wait 2 weeks for their reply. In the letter Demand a response within 2 weeks. Then when they do not reply, send another letter, return-receipt, with the same information, only stating this is your 2nd attempt to rectify. Squeaky wheel…be it! Call them, ask them why they do not reply.

      After these letters, if you get no solution, then it is time to contact an attorney and have the attorney send the same kind of letter. If you have a friend who is an attorney, maybe they will send the letter for cheap.

      Good luck. Be the squeaky wheel. I have have much success being the very vocal squeaky wheel. Bug them, bug them, bug them. It will probably take a while, but bug them!

      1. I called 50 attorneys. No one would pay attention…nor return call or worse….$3000 up front??
        I am working on a heloc at BofA, but have to have a checking acct. for 30 days before they take the app. BS…BS…BS it’s everywhere.
        Tomorrow, I apply. I will only pay the $10,000. I have no one to leave this place to, so I’m not worried. Heloc is free and when Gene dies, I will refinance for lower payment.
        Thanks everyone–I’m just tired of all the BS and dishonest business people.
        How many others have been screwed by this immoral, deceitful practice???
        YES!!! The tv station was a thought I had a few days ago!!!

    5. JayJay, sometimes you can contact your local tv stations and they will do the “investigative reporting” on situations like these. They hound the companies and make them do right by the people they cheated. Worth a try.

      1. DJ5280
        That was the advise I was going to pass on to JayJay.

        Believe they refer to it as their “Better Business investigations” on those business who promise one thing, but do not deliver per the contract or give shoddy service while promising to make it right….someday.

        Jay Jay you said you used your CC on this service. Have contacted them on this matter since the service your CC paid for was not delivered. Just a thought.

        1. No, no Credit card for this. I am billed for this service and didn’t sign a contract–husband did!!

          1. JayJay
            OK, you dh signed for it. Now let us take this a step further. In your area is there free legal assistance through the county which you reside?

            Have you ever heard of the “PACIFIC JUSTICE INSTATUE”? They do free legal work, met the young man years ago when he was speaking at a patriot’s meeting. Not sure if they have an office in your area but can find their site on the internet. It has a page where you can find a local office for your area.

            Spoke with acdh, he is also a veteran. Asked him if the different organizations as in DAV-VFW-AL might assist you, he said it thought USAA might. You can check with your local Ombudsmen @ VA they may be able to assist you.

            JJ-we are sending you & your dh our best. Maybe some of this information will help you in breaking your contract.

  24. Live below your means! Living with less will soon be a necessity.If it doesn’t give you shelter or keep you safe or put food on the table it has little worth.We’re headed for tough times.

  25. I love all the comments above. We have been debt free for a while, downsizing and not having a mortgage. DH still works, but he is the spender, I am the saver. Sometimes that does not make for fun conversations!!!

    We also use a credit card for most purchases but we pay it off every month. For every purchase we get cash back. Prior to being debt free, I would use the cash back to make 2 of the 12 payments on various loans. It was incredible to know that just by using our credit cards, that same bank was paying off some of our loan. Now, we just try to save that cash back.

    But the question, what to do with the cash? Gold! Silver! Things to barter with when the shtf. Stuff that will help us through shtf like food, security, etc. And I do not like having a lot of our $$ in the bank or in retirement funds, but we cannot liquidate the retirement funds yet. At least in the retirement funds we are in “guaranteed interest rate” funds and not stocks. So we have not lost $$ but have not made a ton either.

    1. Pegasus
      Congrats on being debt free. What you are saying is completely right on Credit Cards and the question on what to do with your extra money is a good one.

      Having money in retirement funds is a must in my opinion as sooner or later we will all hit the point we cannot work. people say to buy tangibles like food ,ammo ect but if you happen to have large amounts in retirement funds you can’t put it all into these things. just my opinion but once you have a couple of years of food and supplies stored you have reached the limit of where to put it.

      You can continue to purchase land but we still go back to the old age and not being able to work it thing. having all your retirement in Guaranteed interest funds might sound like a good idea as they say you can’t lose money but inflation eats up the spending power of the dollar so you do actually lose.

      I’m not saying what your doing is wrong as except for still having money in stocks as well as bonds and cash i am doing the same thing. If anyone comes up with a better idea i am quite willing to listen

  26. I am fortunate in that my parents are my “bank” for my home (bought in 2011 for a steal at $65K!), so my situation may be a bit different, but I do have student loans that I have been working hard on paying off.

    Basically, I followed what most people are saying. Trim, trim, trim your expenses!! My parents have let me hold off on paying them back, so I could focus my finances on freeing myself from the student loans. I am so grateful for their generosity, and have put my nose to the grindstone to throw everything I can at those loans. So far, I have been quite successful at getting them reduced from $37K in Feb 2018 to $14K as of today. (I work at a call center, and I’m not exactly raking in the dough, so this is an incredible feat to me!)

    I don’t eat out, except for the rare time I crave Chick-fil-a. And, because I changed my eating habits about 2 years ago to be a combo Paleo/Keto way of eating, I found that my food expenses have decreased drastically. I cook large meals and freeze them into individual servings. This saves on food spoiling too quickly. I’ve also noticed that my meal sizes have decreased a lot! Bonus side affect…I also lost 40 pounds!

    I buy what I need, not what I want. Hope to have those loans out of my hair in another year (crosses fingers!). I had to take a break on paying towards them due to having to get braces (yes, as an older adult!). Bruxism is murder on your teeth.

    The only “fun” expense I have is the occasional movie that I go see with my Dad (maybe once every 2-3 months). Yes, we could wait for it to come out on DVD or cable, but it’s a special time for only me and my 80 year old father, so I think everyone here would understand that this is not an expense that I want to remove.

    1. Meep, keep going to the movies with your dad!! Precious time spent with our loved ones – priceless.

    2. MEEP:

      I can relate to the bruxism. Been nursing a little TMJ lately from all the clenching that apparently I do when I’m sleeping.

      And take it from me, keep splurging on that time with Dad. One day he won’t be here and there’s no going back. Those times with him will help carry you through the long days without him here. What a blessing that you have him here with you now; cherish him, friend.

      Sounds like everything else is nicely on track. Keep on keeping on; sounds like you’re making great progress!

      1. RE: Bruxism

        I will save you several hundred dollars by telling you how my husband & I buy the athletic mouth guards by Wilson for $1 @ Walmart! We stockpile them & make a new one every 6 months to a year to wear while we sleep. You are welcome.

        I didn’t drive a cheap little car for 17 years, hoping it would become a classic. We brought our son home from the hospital & 16 years later, taught him how to drive a standard in that little car.

        When our son was in college, living @ home & attending the University of Texas, he was lamenting his cash flow, I suggested that since he was a strapping 200 pound, healthy man, he could sell his blood plasma for $20 twice a week. You know that is gas money!

        I was a pastor’s secretary in a large church for a long time & counseled many crying wives on their finances. Cancel the cable tv. Deliver pizza on the weekend & make good money in tips. Have only 1 family car & figure out how to share it. Plan your weekly menus from the store specials that week; cook from scratch & in bulk. I have cut my husband’s & son’s hair for 45 years now & have saved over $10,000 over those fancy salons!!

        Don’t be swayed by what others do, buy the smallest house in a nice neighborhood, never buy a new car. In fact, you can put $5,000 on your credit card when you purchase a car & get the points …. pay the rest w/ cash & pay off the card the next month.

        I give the Dave Ramsey budgeting book to newlyweds as a gift. And urge them to discuss all major purchases & pray about everything.

        Things are fixing to hit the fan again. The store I was in today had signs up today w/ limits of 1 on cleaning supplies,hand sanitizers/soap TP, paper towels, etc. Keep preppin’ & prayin’, y’all!

    3. Congrats on focusing efforts to pay off your student loan, and for recognizing the benefit of being frugal. Believe me, it will be well worth it – later on. In my opinion, debt-free is HUGE. Good luck with your efforts. Don’t get discouraged and don’t fall into the trap just because those around you might be (falling into the debt trap) ;)

    4. MEEP – be proud of yourself! In this day and age when even “good” people have let the bank take back their bigger house that they could not afford, and the younger folks are crying about student debt and demanding it be “forgiven”, I commend you for paying yours off! That is wonderful. That shows integrity! And yes, cherish your Dad. My parents are gone since I was young and I envy you your parents. So I always counsel people to appreciate and love their parents, spending time with them, because you never know when they will be taken home. Congrats!

  27. For years I rented, paid cash for everything and was proud that I worked hard, owned my car & paid my bills on time. All my friends encouraged me to buy a house of my own. So I started looking, tried to get a loan and found that I was a huge credit risk because I didn’t have credit – good or bad. Enter the credit card to build credit, done paid in full every month. Needed a car or a new transmission and yes needed to build credit to buy a house – so traded it for a new-used car. A little over a year later I was good to go to bring on more bebt, so I bought my first house. Six months later I took a good hard look at what I owed for what I didn’t own and cried as It was overwhelming to say the least. Took a week to make a plan but set a goal to be debt free in 5 years. It took me 6. Best feeling ever was making the last payment on my house. It takes hard work and knowing the difference between need and want. I made the choice to go into debt but I also chose to get out of it. Don’t let the system pull you under. There is no shame in owning what you have.

    1. JTF…stay away from BofA.
      1)Long story short…thanks to all here for advice re Terminix fraud. I signed with a law firm that specializes in Terminix fraud. One case was a million dollar house that had a termite contract for many years–the roof fell in(there are pics)–there was never real spraying…ever!!! Waiting for email reply.

      2)this morning two hours spent applying with bofa for a heloc loan after establishing a checking acct. for 30 days and as I asked a question ”’3 minutes”’ later about verifying our property taxes from another agent, loan rep said the loan was denied!! Gene’s credit score too low.
      3)went straight to bank to withdraw $100 used to open account before closing; debit card wouldn’t work. Spent 3 1/2 hours to close acct. and got nothing done..automated countless times after person connects me to the ‘right’ dept. and it was an awful experience and I’ve been through brain surgery with husband!! FINALLY, 3 hours and 5 minutes into effort a rep in Texas assisted me to close…first question was give me your Tn. license #–it went down hill from there–I’ve been in ky for 12 years.
      Let’s just say after 25 minutes I had to call back tomorrow because time was up on identifying me..because it was MY fault records showed a false license –I’d only given my Ky one twice that day…duh!!
      I gave a young boy and a female supervisor an ear full…because…..
      3)********a mortgage company in Bowling Green is loaning us pay off and $10000 cash out for work done @ 2.75 and our monthly just went down $360!!!!! It took 10 minutes and we settle Monday at 10!!!!!********
      Do I care about extending terms to 30 years?? NOPE–I have no family or friends.
      I can stay here as long as I want and use that saved money for taxes/ins. and still have some to save.
      When Gene leaves me, I can actually see making ends meet with his SS check now.
      God will take care of you if you believe and ask—I HAVE BEEN ASKING FOR WEEKS. Gotta go, crying now.
      I pray no one here ever goes through the s**t I have been through last few weeks.

      1. Add note: bofa offered loan @ 7.5 variable, fixed rate was 10%.
        New loan Monday, 2.75. Crooks!!!!! @ bank of america
        Said Gene’s credit score too low?? Mortgage agent in B.G said Gene’s score was not outstanding, but nothing to deter a loan. Crooks @ bank of america.
        stay away.

        1. JayJay
          Years ago they put $$ in to the same last name as my parents. The bank did not catch the error but dad did. Went into let them know they needed to correct this since it was not their money. Bank officer said good thing you did spend it since it was not your money!! He promptly closed their account and moved it over to a smaller bank. It was the final straw with B of rip off A for him, kept telling us kids as we grew up not to do business with them.

          Yes, younger family members have accounts there–dumb.

          Sorry to hear that they are treating you so shoddily on this matter.

      2. JayJay

        So sorry to hear all that you have gone through. I switched to a credit union several years ago and will not go back to a bank. Congrats on the new loan! I wish you all the best and hope to hear that all went well on Monday.

      3. JayJay,
        As for BofA, I had a friend twenty years ago who worked for a bank that was taken over by BofA. (I realize that lots of times people don’t like takeovers much, with policies being different than what they’re used to, so their opinions are biased. Even taking that into consideration, BofA was awful about it.) I don’t remember the details anymore, but the horrible things my friend was able to tell about the things BofA did and the way they ran their business made me know that I would never use them. I like credit unions better, anyway!

        1. Wendy –

          I like Credit Unions too. Been with mine since 1998; never a problem with anything, that I could recall. They’ve been there whenever I needed them. Whether a car purchase, or a home loan, or setting up my kids with an account, they just do it with minimal fuss. At this point I can also endorse US Bank. They handle my LLC transactions flawlessly and their staff have been unfailingly polite.

    2. Bank of ‘America’ – HA!

      October 1986. I had arrived in LA a month earlier, leaving my childhood home in haste to avoid incoming troubles. It turns out that I had a ten dollar check outstanding to some entity that held on to it for more than a month. When presented for payment, my account in Chicago had already been closed. A simple error, right? Here I am, new in California, with my very first paycheck in my hand… I needed a bank account. Hey, why not “Bank of freaking America”?! I liked the name, it made me feel… American; or something.

      I was half-assed greeted by some douchebag in an ill-fitting, gray 3 piece suit, he was giving me the stink eye. But hey, I was young, and without a home, and I was just going to suck it up to get an account opened. His investigatory process was extensive. And in 1986, one had to dial in a special phone number and enter SSN’s, etc. to get a report on potential customers. Well the first and only bounced check I ever had in my life turned up.

      Fat boy in the fancy suit turned red in the face. He slammed down the phone. Then he stood up tall, and in great animated fashion he slowly tore up my application package in front of my face. In a loud voice he pointed at me and announced to the whole place: “You sir, are a bad check writer! You will NEVER have an account with Bank of America” Then he perp-walked me to the exit.

      It turns out, he was exactly correct. I would NEVER, in a million years, become involved with Bank of America in any way shape or form. Way to go, Burbank BofA, fat bastard in a tight suit. Bravo Zulu!

      1. Exactly–it’s an ego trip. When asked for my Tennessee driver’s license number, and I gave the ky. driver’s license number to prove my identity, over, done, move on!!! But no, the manager spent over 20 minutes searching websites like vehicle registration to find a ford ranger I had 5 years ago–not credit bureau, because I paid cash causing the time limit for proof of identity to lapse.
        BUT LITTLE OL’ ME IS GONNA SPEND 3 HOURS TRYING TO TRICK THEM TO STEAL A MEASLY $100. How stupid people are is beyond reasonable….at Bank Of America.
        I am so siked by the new loan established I will get my refund and close the bank acct. and learn from this as I try to learn new things each day.
        God is good…He just failed to distribute intelligence equally…and managed some feat by putting them all at Bank Of America!!!

        1. JayJay
          Look at ‘Pentagon Federal Credit Union’ for your banking requirements. It is set up for military & retired military families. It’s major hub is on the east coast, yet several family members have accounts with them an they are on the side of the states. Their accounts were processed on line, where you have the option to walk into the CU back in your area.

          Sorry totally forgot about this business. This way you can have your own account or a joint account with your dh.

          1. Thanks, ac..I don’t have a checking. I don’t pay anyone. I don’t owe anyone.
            When Gene is gone, of course I will need a checking then.

  28. Some of the gas stations here in the big big city in NM no longer have coins in their register due to shortage with FR or mints, or so they say. They are recommending to use debit/credit card only.

    1. we are running into the same problem, no change, round up to nearest dollar. Was told mint was not making anymore coins.

      1. FF, there we go, starting to eliminate coins, then the bills will come, then it will be health prison because I bought 10 bars of chocolate (rarely, once a year:) and my health insurance will consider me high risk for diseases, or hoarding ( its a morale booster). 1984 will be a cupcake compared to what is coming.

  29. – ac/acdh,
    Had a similar experience to yours with American Excuse when we were stationed in Europe. Opened a new account on base when we arrived. First of month, no deposit. After much checking around, determined that it did not go to stateside bank, sat in their lobby until it was determined that my check had been deposited in another person’s account. “Oh no, we deposit by account numbers, this could not have happened.” When we finally got to the bottom of the issue, account it went to was owned by an individual with same first and last name, middle initial was not the same but looked ‘similar’.
    On further inquiry, SSAN had same first three and last four numbers, middle numbers were transposed!
    He and his DW had promptly pulled all the money and gone on a spending spree. Bank had to stand good for the money and go after them for their money.
    I got to carry a letter around for the next several months stating that the bounced checks on my account were due to bank error.
    Promptly closed that account. Continued with stateside bank account, minimal problems with bank being on another continent.
    When we left Germany, he left at the same time with a dishonorable discharge. We went to Louisiana, they went to New Mexico. Still have problems with her name showing up on my credit report.
    When he died, I got a letter from the IRS telling me to stop using my name and SSAN because I was DEAD!
    It took nearly two years to convince ‘the powers that be’ that I was me, and still alive and using my own birth name!
    She still occasionally will show up on my credit report with a fraudulent account under my name.
    Just be aware, American Excuse is no angel either.
    – Papa S.

  30. UPDATE: I’m finished, it worked, and I’m finished.
    I called the 800 number on my statement I received last month.
    I told the guy I wanted to enroll in online checking to get a debit card or order checks (sure I do!! wink wink…) and was not receiving the code via email…help!! He said he could get the debit card and I’d receive it in 7-10 days….oh, really??? Okay.
    But, before identifying me, I told him to NOT ask for a driver license number because as we had already established through my mortgage records, my address was in Ky, not Tn.
    His question was related to amount borrowed in 2008 for the mortgage and the rest is history.
    I can’t wait to end this relationship with bofa..and pay almost half of the pmt. we’ve been paying for 12 years—-and I feel for every person experiencing hardships due to this farce called a virus and pray for you each day. We here in this house have been blessed by God and I will always feel God had a hand in this awful situation to better our financial situation.
    That savings every month will pay our homeowner’s and property taxes.
    Can I hear an AMEN?? Hallelujah.

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