Things Work Out

The debt consolidation program offered to resolve my 36,000 dollar debt for 20,000 dollars over a three-year program that began, tellingly enough with the debt consolidation paying itself well over six thousand dollars for services before it even considered paying off any of my creditors. The idea was for me to stop paying off my creditors immediately so that after a year and a half or two years or two and a half years they’d be so desperate to recoup their money that they would settle for accepting twenty to twenty percent of what they owed. In the meantime my credit would be decimated, I’d be hounded by creditors and I would no longer be able to exercise my god-given American right to spend money I didn’t actually have.

Nathan Rabin, a former head writer for the A.V. Club, has a really terrific essay in The Mental Illness Happy Hour about the time he racked up $36,000 in debt traveling around the country doing research for his book, decided to use a debt consolidation program when he felt the debt reached an “impossible and unmanageable level,” and then got sued by American Express after he stopped making payments. Things were very terrible for a while. And then they weren’t. Like Anna’s essay about defaulting on her student loans, Rabin shows that you can mess up and get yourself in a lot of financial trouble, but it’s not the end of the world. You can figure out a way to get back on track. (Thanks to Sarah and Ellen for the pointer.)

Photo: Orin Zebest

Support The Billfold

The Billfold continues to exist thanks to support from our readers. Help us continue to do our work by making a monthly pledge on Patreon or a one-time-only contribution through PayPal.