The Long 12-year Coaster Ride (courtesy Of Greed, Corruption, And Only Temporary Relief)

You guys have to hear my story. This is one of a slow 12 year slide, full of a few successes and a long list of small failures. But ultimately, I'd like you to pay attention to the root causes. For it'll surely make you agree with the level of corruption of big business and legislators you've been hearing about in documentaries. I will interject with [TOO HIGH OF A COST FOR GOODS AND SERVICES] to highlight where my financial life went virtually from non-existent right to SOUR and stayed there, no matter what I seemed to do to try and remedy the problems.

THE HISTORY: This story covers from 2000 to present, beginning with the cuts of IT jobs following Y2K to the dawn of the 2012 presidential elections. I will turn 30 next week, and have been working since I was 9. Since 1991 I have not been unemployed for longer than 7 months, and that was when I was finishing high school in 2000. From 9-22 I built up a savings account of $7K. For 6 months in 2003 I was worked a paid internship in my field and part time to make 7 days a week with my 7-year job.

I went through college and graduated *** lade in 2004, paying most of my way and coming out with little in student loans, albeit once a semester I'd get raped with $700 in required new books, and the TEXT BOOKS are where the credit debt started [TOO HIGH OF A COST FOR GOODS AND SERVICES]. To help pay for school, I began work at a Sam's Club in '00, but until 07 I remained stuck there because NO ONE ELSE WOULD HIRE ME. Even at that I didn't get a full time position there for 4.5 YEARS, and even then only made $21K a year. Upon college graduation I got to helplessly watch as a LOCAL WHITE MALE with SUPERIOR SKILLS AND PERFORMANCE got passed over again and again in favor of out-of-towners, females, minorities, or employers' friends and relatives. And I don't descriminate against anyone, but for me being too plain, I was discriminated against for all the wrong reasons. And I'll have you know that my systems analysis skills are so SICK that I've virtually telepathic... I can tell any company where there shortfalls are, who is responsible, and how to fix it - saving unlimited amounts of money - but I guess people aren't smart enough to want that.

(My professional job hunt would continue locally for 3 more years, yielding nothing. My wife and I didn't want to leave the area and our families, and we had hope that a few of the remaining big companies in the area would hire me.)

I'd moved out of my parents house at graduation of college in 04 (because we weren't getting along) to live with my girlfriend, (whom I was to later marry). It was easy to reside with her because her father was paying her rent and she had gone on SSI in December 2003 for her epilepsy. She was 2 years into her college education when we met and had already racked up $25K in student loans. With my $1200 per month wages and my wife's $600 SSI we could hold down the fort together, but we still couldn't afford much, so were forced to use hand-me-downs and other "cheap" fixtures from places like Walmart [TOO HIGH OF A COST FOR GOODS AND SERVICES]. This is when the real problems started happening. First, we ate out too much - most were just at Denny's but probably 3 nights a week. Second was my wife's cigarettes - 2 packs a day [TOO HIGH OF A COST FOR GOODS AND SERVICES]. Last was my purchase of a 12 year old car, using half of my $7K in savings. But I discovered the engine was drinking oil and after $2k of credit debt fixing it up [TOO HIGH OF A COST FOR GOODS AND SERVICES], it still needed too much basic work and I got rid of it in 2006 for a $14K new car [TOO HIGH OF A COST FOR GOODS AND SERVICES]. By this time, my student loans were in full gear repayment and it was hard to pay for the car, the $5K in credit debt, and the loans. The remaining $3500 in savings quickly vanished. It then looked to selling all my old toys and possessions out of my parents' attic, but even with a few rare items I'd say I didn't get more than $1K for all of it.

It was right about then in Spring 2006 when we decided to move into her father's empty 10x10 basement room. I still had a lot of my childhood possessions to sell but it didn't seem feasible so I threw them out. There was no room for our Walmart furniture at her dad's so we broke that down and threw it out. While there, the debt situation stagnated because indeed no positive progress was made. To boot we actually GAINED debt for no apparent reason when one of my scholarships reverted to a loan due to me "not gaining employment in my state and in my field within a reasonable amount ot time." Also, my wife had now been to 4 different colleges but had to cancel too many classes due to epilepsy. After 5 years and $35K in loans, she only had 2 years' worth of transferrable credits and it was no longer feasible for her to continue schooling [TOO HIGH OF A COST FOR GOODS AND SERVICES]. By late '06 we discovered her father's stepchildren were having drug and underage drinking parties at the house so we were forced to move back into an apartment. Her father had also cosigned a personal loan to consolidate the $8K credit debt we had at the time (which was later paid off in 2011).

So in 2007 we were in a new apt, and I soon burned my 50lb box of professional job applications when my father-in-law got me in as a laborer in my local steel mill. Now mind you, being a steelworker is by far the best blue collar job in America for what you get, but it's also a dangerous place and full of carcinogens. This said, I was now making what I would've made entry-level in my college field of study. We now had means to get my wife-to-be a $17K new car loan [TOO HIGH OF A COST FOR GOODS AND SERVICES] so she could take a stab at employment again. After all, she had renewed confidence after a $40K epilepsy procedure that her Social Security healthcare paid for. But after 2 job tries, by early '08 she had been let go due to attendance issues relating to her epilepsy and [undisclosed OBGYN] symptoms.

My wife and I were married in December 07 at a JP since no one could afford a wedding ceremony. Her SSI would then be pulled because our joint income was 3x the state limit ([a.k.a. BULLSHIT] and [TOO HIGH OF A COST FOR GOODS AND SERVICES]).

By early 2008 [THE BIG YEAR OF THE ECO-CRASH], everything in the world was over-inflated. We were being approved for large credit cards which we armed ourselves with for the future. We'd also accumulated another $4K in credit debt on top of the $8K consolidated in 2006, but much less quickly [TOO HIGH OF A COST FOR GOODS AND SERVICES]. It was a big year for profit-sharing at the mill and there was a new union contract, which supplied us an extra $12K which was enough for my wife to start an eBay business selling vintage toys. The rest would go on to be a down payment on a 35-year old house that was only $80K - which everyone in our families said was a great idea because we'd be paying for an investment and not just rent. In June 08 we began the mortgage application process.

So in September 08 we closed on our home and moved in (OK now I know you all are cringing)... At this point the mortgage people had run us so close to the end of our apartment lease that we only had 2 weeks to fix the place up "enough". Things were torn up and most surfaces repainted, but the basement was torn up and never really fixed. THEN CAME THE ECO-CRASH. This brought the mill almost to a halt. I was laid off in November 08 and was run down to mere PENNIES by the time I got my 2009 tax-refund with NEW HOMEBUYER TAX CREDIT. In March 09 I was called back to work, and I've been there since. While I was off some people retired so I received a move up in job class and my wife's sales were booming. Things would be okay, for a while....

For the last 3 years, our joint income has been about $80K a year, and aside from a few minor landscaping needs outside we have bought NOTHING but the base model of everything, including food, clothes, appliances, etc - and at least 80% of it PAID IN CASH [TOO HIGH OF A COST FOR GOODS AND SERVICES]. The only thing I'd consider a luxury would be our smartphones, which my wife actually needs because of her business. We have taken no extravagant trips and have not bought expensive material things. The depreciated value of everything in our home *might* top $10K if that. And you know what's really funny? I've probably spent ALL of what I made as an employee of Walmart in 7 years.... AT WALMART

Now, we find ourselves with:
-$75K left on mortgage, and it keeps going up every year with property taxes alone!!
-$47K in credit debt
-$35K in student loan debt
-$40K in car loans
-$5K on furniture debt (interest free)
-$4K 401K loan (paid with portion of contributions)

The bottom line is, we have no more disposable income. We've been late on about 6 bill payments since Dec 1 2011. My wife's eBay sales suffered considerably during 2011, since no one seems to be spending online like they once were. Those sales used to put food on the table - now our pantry cabinet is half its original size and the chest freezer is unplugged, and we have to choose between groceries and cleaning supplies when we shop. High gas prices and no budget means we have to use a credit card for $20 worth at a time. We've been turned down for credit APR decreases. Our credit scores have fallen into the 500's. Credit counseling plans did nothing to free up any income. And the KICKER: banks won't do anything to help us (not even allow a CO-SIGNER) unless we'd "convince someone to give the bank money for us to borrow against"!!

Looking at means test calculators, there's no way we'd ever qualify for Chapter 13 Bankruptcy since over 5 years, the max we could pay creditors would be a MINIMUM of (-)$47K up to (-)150K if our student loans were claimed as a priority. Hence Chapter 7 is the only option.

Some people are indeed thieves, but it is the justice system's job to catch these people. Concerning "getting away" with money or goods, look at the people at the top who are doing this, and through "legal" channels! The laws protect them better than they protect us, so shouldn't we use what little is left?

I'm going into chapter 7 next week and I can't wait. You know why? Because I know I'm taking what's mine - my house, my car, my pets, my wife and my SANITY. And as far as I'm concerned, everyone else and especially the credit card companies can SHOVE IT. And so can big business. We already pay enough for things because there has not been enough supply/demand issues to warrant such price hikes on ANYTHING since the conclusion of WWII. In other words, since goods and services are cheaper than ever to provide, why charge more for them??

Avand18 Avand18
26-30, M
1 Response Jan 27, 2012

dont blam any one but you!<br />
not THOACFGAS<br />
File, loose the cars, the home well not worth it student loans your screwed as OBSAMA has you nailed with raising intrest rates and you cant wash them loans,<br />
file get any jobs, rent a small flat,pay off your student loans and in 8 years start over with NO LOANS dont buy rent!