Jewish World Review March 30, 2000 / 23 Adar II, 5760
The road back to good credit
DEAR BRUCE: My fiance had great credit for over 10 years, but when we got married, I took over the bills, and that was the beginning of the end. I got deeper and deeper in debt, and finally the phone rang and it was the bank asking my husband why he hadn't made a house payment -- he had never been late with a payment before.
We have had a terrible time trying to get his credit back on track. As soon as he found out from the bank how much we were behind, he went right down there and squared it all away.
How are we going to regain our credit? Is there any hope? -- A.B. (e-mail)
DEAR A.B: You bet. There is life after bankruptcy, and there is certainly life after screwing up your credit.
Sometimes I am surprised that relatively intelligent people, as you seem to be, would make these kinds of mistakes -- and you certainly wouldn't make them twice.
The road back to good credit is a long one. You do what you would expect to do; that is, pay the bills when they are due, keep your nose clean, and the bad marks will be washed away.
DEAR BRUCE: I hope that you can help us and the millions of others who fell into the time-share trap. Are we destined to pay $300 a year for maintenance fees for the rest of our lives? Is there any way that we can get rid of this condo? -- D.R., Okla.
DEAR D.R.: Yes, as you intimated, you are a member of a large fraternity -- people who have purchased time shares to their regret. There are several things that you might consider:
There are legitimate companies that resell time shares on a national basis with the average being 15 percent to 20 percent on the dollar. Say, for example, you paid $10,000; if you were very fortunate you would get $1,500 to $2,000.
You might be able to find a charity to which you could donate the time share and then claim your entire $10,000 as a gift. They, in turn, could use the time share, offering a weekly stay as a prize each year.
Aside from that, the only other alternative is just to stop paying. The likelihood is that they may fuss a little, but they will foreclose and that will be the end of it. There is no guarantee, though, that they won't pursue legal action if they think they have a possibility of collecting.
DEAR BRUCE: I am 41, single, and work for a small private company that owns hotels. I have been in the business for 15 years, and my current job title is Director of Operations. My salary is $50,000 with bonus potential of $10,000 a year.
I love going to work each morning, however, guys doing my job at other places are earning $10,000 to $20,000 more. Am I foolish for being happy and giving up the extra money? One side of my brain tells me to shut up and be happy, and the other side tells me to start looking before I am too old. -- T.L. (e-mail)
DEAR T.L.: It seems to me that if it ain't broke, don't fix it. If you are happy and enjoy going to work every day, then you are blessed. Relatively few of us experience that emotion.
Ask yourself, would an additional $150 to $200 a week after taxes make that much of a difference in your life if you were miserable or just not enthusiastic about your daily activities? I have always said that the guy who hates his job is underpaid -- and conversely, those who love their work are well-rewarded, with something other than
Send your questions to JWR contributor Bruce Williams by clicking here. (Questions of general interest will be answered in future columns. Owing to the volume of mail, personal replies cannot be provided.) Interested in buying or selling a house? Let Bruce Williams' "House Smart" be your guide. (Sales of the book help fund JWR).
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