I can’t thank Jeff enough for the courage it took to write this email for all of you youngsters out there. I got the letter on December 30th and felt it was the best way to start our New Year with this reminder: “Your credit is one of you most important assets”
Here is Jeff’s email:
Just wanted to say thank you for all the help your blog has given me. I did the Suntrust bank and Chase debit card deals through your site and will be able to get two really nice trips out of those, which is awesome. I also helped 4 other friends get in on the chase deal! Unfortunately, due to credit problems, I won’t be able to take advantage of credit card offers as detailed in the letter below that you can post anonymously on my behalf if you would like. Hope you’ve had a brilliant holiday season!
So this is the face of poor decisions when a person has credit issues…
Thank you for your recent (12/29/10) application for the Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express. After reviewing your request, regrettably, we are unable to open an account for you at this time for the following reason(s):
Your consumer credit bureau score from Experian is too low (See below)
Your consumer credit bureau score mentioned above was determined using a scoring system that evaluated the information in your file at the consumer reporting agency named above. The following are the primary factors in your credit report that affected your credit bureau score:
Serious delinquency, and public record or collection filed.
Proportion of revolving balances to revolving credit limits is too high.
Too few accounts currently paid as agreed.
Lack of recent installment loan information.
Our credit decision was based in whole or in part on information obtained in a report from the consumer reporting agency(ies) listed in this letter… etc… etc….
I was 18 when I got my first credit card, this was 2001, I’m not all that old. However, I grew up in the instant gratification, ME ME ME generation. I, like many people over the course of the last decade, got myself into a pretty good amount of debt and had some go to collections just so I could try to make a settlement and save myself some money.Am I happy that I managed to get settlements for the amount of debt I had, (saving over half on each card) yes, I was very happy, but that being said, was very disappointed in myself for letting it get to that.
The thing with the credit boom was that you were getting cards at every stop and I, like so many other fools in that day, thought, “Well, I’ll definitely be able to pay this off.”Which I wasn’t able to at that time and I’m paying for it now.
I’m currently nursing a credit score of 600 and though it says my balances are high on my two credit cards I currently have, I was able in the past two weeks to pay those down to zero balances… Being out of credit card debt is an amazing feeling!
So why did I apply for the credit card?Well, I knew I wouldn’t be approved for it, like pretty much any credit card at this point and wanted to show an example of what can happen with just a couple years of bad choices.Instead of being able to take some great trips, I have to settle for only being able to accrue miles based off debit card signups (Thanks Suntrust and Chase!)
I offer myself up as a lesson to be learned for any of the young people starting out in the credit game (as well as to their parents.)You absolutely must know what impact is being had by your decisions at all times.This was something completely lost upon my generation and while we must shoulder a lot of the blame, we were prey’d upon by greedy creditors* and taken advantage of.They were selling us the American Utopia and we bought into it.Shame on us.You don’t always have to be fooled twice to be ashamed.
I currently make over 75 grand a year and cannot get a credit card to save my life; really makes me want to beat up my 20 year old self.This is why I need to commend Rick and his blog.It’s showing just what you can achieve by staying disciplined early in your credit years and learning the impact of what you gain from playing by the rules.Would I rather have a stack of dvd’s from when I was 20 or the chance to take a trip to India… if you’re reading this blog, obviously you agree, India every time.
I’ll end by saying that I’ve learned my lesson and I hope that those reading this who are younger can fully comprehend the amount of trouble you can get into and how it can rob you of some great experiences.Stay proactive in your credit and be disciplined when making purchases and paying off your balances.
*At age 20 I had 7 credit cards with a combined balance allotment of $27,000.I was making $30,000 per year at that time.
Wow: What a way to start the New Year. Jeff has told you about the loaded gun of poor credit decisions. There is nothing I can add to his courageous confession.
Again, Thank you Jeff.