Fribble I Have Plenty of Time

By ken@mad.scientist.com
Friday, February 4, 2000

I started foolishly, and I do mean fOOLISHLY. I began my life of the Wise world with my first credit card at age 19. It snowballed from there. I always figured that I'd have the time to pay it off, or that I'd pay it off and know exactly how long it would take if I just paid this much per month. Hey, I was only 19 and I had plenty of time...

Sound familiar? I'm sure that it does, but do we ever listen? After building a small debt-base, my parents paid it off when I was 20. Let me tell you, I still hear about that.

Well, those who don't study history are doomed to repeat it, and I did. I built up quite a nice little fortune of debt that kept me from enjoying my life. The vultures of stress were constantly circling my head, even if my creditors weren't. I paid the minimum due, once a month, just to keep them at bay, and to keep myself in the usual necessities -- food, shelter, those things we take for granted. Sometimes I missed a payment to keep myself in style (the car needed work, or something vital like that). Hey, I was only 25 and I had plenty of time...

Enter TMF: via e-mail rewards program...
Focus: Settle your finances...
Focus: Message boards...
Focus: Self, as very troubled, but not a lost cause!

Lesson learned? Compounding is a GOOD thing, but also something of a bad thing to one in my situation. Still the encouragement that the site provided was something that I could not ignore... The new millennium (I'm not a bean counter, so year 2000 is significant to me) was a sign that I needed to make a change.

I sat down the last weeks of December and analyzed my debt situation. My student loan was not something I was worried about, nor was the loan I took to pay off my last bout of debt. Both were low interest, and I could afford to make close to the minimum payment necessary.

The rest, well, let's just say that some people would be upset to know what I consider high debt. But it's still debt. I get paid every two weeks, and that meant that I could afford to make two payments per month toward my debts. I figured in cost of necessities, and found that I had some money left over... A good thing!

But I was still a long way from paying off the total amount. Income tax season is upon us, so the refund that I will get (and I've already checked that I will) will go to the debt. My retirement (read: Wise) fund can't be touched until I leave the company (and I don't want to take a loan out against it), but I'm looking for another job. When that happens, I can start it over again and clear more of my debts. But I'm only 30 and I have plenty of time...

My savings? It's building slowly, but soon I will be doing my own compounding, for my sake, not the bank's. But I'm Foolish now and I have plenty of time...