I was interviewing a client years ago and she told me a story about how when she was in her thirties her credit score had gotten into the 400s and she was getting countless letters and phone calls from debt collectors. Her debt had gotten so bad that she decided her best route would be to play the long game and ignore it until it all went away, hoping the statute of limitations would pass.
Two years from her lowest financial struggles she was checking the mail and realized it had been a long time since she’d seen a letter from a debt collector. She looked at her phone’s call history and found she hadn’t received a call from a spam number in weeks. It was strange, but she simply thought the law on how collectors contact a consumer changed.
The most bizarre thing that happened was that two years after these realizations, she was checking out at Target and the cashier asked if she wanted to apply for a credit card. She hadn’t in nearly five years because her credit report was so bad. But, she did anyway and was approved for a lot, though she never shared the amount with me.
Running home she bought a subscription to a credit monitoring service. All of her debt had been paid off and her credit scores were hovering between 690 and 715. She didn’t know how, but she was debt free.
So, how did this happen? Yesterday, several years after she shared her story with me, my previous client called out of the blue. It turns out that she’d indirectly told one other person about her financial hardship besides me while she was arguing with a debt collector over the phone. She told her grandfather, who had been sleeping in the room while she was on the phone (so she thought). He passed away last week.
In a parting letter to her my past client’s grandfather told her how he’d secretly used her social security number to look into her credit problems and then one creditor after another he paid off her debt. Her father died young and her mother left when she was a toddler. Her grandfather raised her, knowing when he was gone she would have no other family. He also knew her secret. Getting older and his health failing, he decided he would take care of this one thing for her so that when he was gone she would have a fresh start at life, something she could make her own – a past to learn from and a future to look forward to.
This is today’s writing prompt: what would you do if you woke up with all of your debt gone? No more loan payments. Your mortgage is paid off. Your credit reports have all negative debts paid for or expunged. Would you want to know why, how, or who paid off your debts? Was it a computer error? Or, would you shrug your shoulders and run out to apply for a credit card?
We all look at life from different perspectives. While one person shows empathy another shows resentment. Our reactions and how we look at our past and the world around us determines how we look at our present and future and how we treat the people in our lives. Would your debts being eliminated change you as much as winning $10,000,000? Would it feel more fulfilling or exciting? Or, would you think that the this event “took long enough” and you learned nothing.
You can write this as an essay or fiction. I’m excited to see what you’ve written.
#shameless plug – How to hire a writer
I am a full-time freelance writer specializing in books, though I also write blogs, web-content, and handle several other types of projects. To see what I offer visit my rates page or contact me with specific queries and questions. I’d love to work with you, and if you know anyone else looking for a writer I offer a generous referral fee.