What I Learned About Using Credit to Help Someone

Reaping the rewards of poor choices in love.

As wise as I am viewed today, there was a time when I wasn’t so wise. We all make our mistakes & sooner or later those choices lead to consequences we must deal with.

At 21, I made the mistake of using a credit card to help my boyfriend of 3 years pay for a semester at college. I had previously paid the card down to a zero balance. He was supposed to pay back the tuition money across the following year, but under pressure from his parents moved back home 2 months after that semester had ended.

When I contacted him about making payment, his parents advised him that he was not obligated to do so, and so the burden fell on me. Yet I was unable to pay it off and was only making the interest payments for a few years. Then LIFE happened and I couldn’t pay on the card any more.

By the time my daughter was born, I had forgotten that the credit card balance was even there. While she was still in the ICU, I received a letter saying a collection company was going to sue for the balance owed. At first I didn’t know what this was regarding, because as is usual, the collection company is a new name. So I sent a letter asking them to send information about the original debt and a signed contract to prove whether or not the debt was valid.

They never sent the requested information.

In the following 2 years, my life went into a roller coaster ride of personal problems and financial struggles. Before having a child, I had never truly known financial struggle. After all, any time I needed extra money, I just got an extra job. That wasn’t so easy now that I had a daughter to care for.

Years passed. Financially I was never able to get fully ahead. And as soon as I started to balance out, something small or large would occur that would set me back again. I can safely say that since my daughter’s birth, I’ve not had one solid year of financial comfort.

By 2015, that old debt came back up. This time as a wage garnishment. I was forced to go to court and fight it, and I’m in that process now. Luckily, the garnishment has been stopped temporarily until the debt can be validated or the process that they took can be reviewed. If they did anything wrong, it will be a permanent fix. If not, I’ll be forced to pay $6000 for a debt that was originally $800.

The MORAL of this story is: If you pay for someone else’s expense, be prepared to accept full responsibility for the amount given. Never expect to be paid back. And if at all possible, NEVER use your credit to help them. No matter how much you love them at the time. If it’s cash, then at least it’s just the loss of money. If it’s credit related, there could be HELL to pay.

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