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Nancy, Nancy, Nancy

February 5th, 2008 at 10:01 am

Nancy, who I don't know, slapped my hand for shopping at Macys when according to her I should be shopping at Walmart's clearance aisle because of my debt.

Here's what she had to say:

"I just found this blog and have read about 30% of it. It's scary. Your credit card balances are so high and yet you refer to a housekeeper, manicures, vacations, and such, when in reality, when if ever will you ever get out of debt? The sweaters at Macy, for example -- go shop at WalMart on clearance. I hope this blog gives you insight and I will bookmark it because when I read it, it serves as a cautionary tale, indeed."

This was my response to Nancy:

"Sorry you're scared, Nancy, but I'm not sure what you're afraid of. I'm paying my debt off on time. I'm not late on anything. I own a house and have a huge amount of equity and I have a boatload of savings in other accounts (remember what you see reflected there is not my complete savings, but it is my complete debt). If I wanted to, I could pay off the debt today, but given that I'm a compulsive debtor paying it off in one fell swoop is not going to make my problem go away so I'm following a very set program for paying it off on my terms while not living in deprivation. I have a housekeeper because I work more than 40 hours a week. My husband does as well. We go on vacation by paying cash. The clothes I buy at Macys are paid for with cash. We have no more credit cards, so the debt is not increasing in any way. Deprivation is just going to make me want to spend more, so if I can live comfortably while still paying for my debt it really shouldn't scare you."

Now, having said all that, I've decided to clear up some of my vagueness surrounding my savings and debt. First. look over to the left and you'll see my savings has jumped drastically because I've decided to include the equity on my house. Note that I still need to add a bunch of pension money into that measly total, but I'll get to that sometime before I retire. Plus, I own some property that is being drilled on for oil and gas and I'm not sure what the current value is so it's not included here either.

Also, my debt is not all credit cards. My husband and I put a kid through a very pricey private university and I put myself through grad school, so a whole lot of that debt is in student loans. It's still debt, but I'd just like to clarify what kind of debt it is so that Nancy won't think I'm using credit cards to fund my sweater-buying trips at Macys.

7 Responses to “Nancy, Nancy, Nancy”

  1. merch Says:

    You make a good point that you have to change your habits and the way you think of money. Also your vaugness of your situation has confused some of us readers.

    I would guess that you and your husband are not the norm. As Dave Ramsey would say, you probbaly got yourself a big hole but you a lso have a really big shovel. It takes time to change your attitude and habits about money. You have stopped digging and dcreased your debt by over 10k.

    This is a marathon and evryone has their own pace. Good luck and am looking forward to you bringing your debt down.

  2. Nancy Says:

    I applaud your efforts and I do not really know what a compulsive debtor is, exactly, but you are brave to put this all out here. How long do you think it will take to pay off your debts? Without figuring in the tax advantage of the tax deductible student loan interest, it seems as though in a year you paid off 10K and saved 7 K. It looks like you are paying off about 1K per month (incl interest charges, I guess). So, 14 yrs, give or take.

    If you paid these debts off -- let's just say, the consumer debt with the icky interest --, don't you think you would be better off? (I assume your student loans have a nice 7% interest or something, and they are tax deductible.)

    I don't get that you have to carry these balances and pay interest while paying it off "on your own terms." Your own terms?

    Pay it off with savings. As for the compulsive debtor stuff, seek treatment; I have a friend who has been sober for almost 30 years and another friend who is sober for 20 yrs. Surely you are not saying that you lack self control to stop buying things?

    In any event, I am setting up my own blog here because I think this is a great idea to blog about money. And yes, you could buy two sweaters a Wal Mart for less than what you paid at Macy's and send in an early payment to a credit card, the interest from which would feed a small village in an African nation for years.

    Nancy

  3. JanH Says:

    Yikes....I'm with you. I could pay things off right now, but I have a personal need to build at the same time. It comes from things in my past. So, I am working on it all in my own way. I've encountered people who don't understand my psychological issues. Even though I get help, there are things that I have to deal with in other ways. I'm also told by professionals that I am very intelligent and creative. We just have to do things in ways that accommodate our differences. Keep it up! You are doing things in ways that work for you and you'll get to the finish line just the same as others.
    P.S. I've always admired the total in your savings!

  4. daylily Says:

    I don't understand what the meaning of compulsive debtor is. Is this a self label or something from one of the big-name financial authors?

    Is compulsive debtor different than a compulsive shopper?

    Just asking.

  5. compulsive debtor Says:

    Nancy, read all my postings to learn why I'm not using my retirement savings to pay off my debt. I'm no spring chicken. If you read carefully, you might also learn that I am in "treatment," because yes, I can't control my spending. And, no offense against Walmart, but I'd rather save up my cash each month and buy a really nice high-quality sweater that I will have for years than one that will only last me one or two winters....(yes, I'm kind of a snob that way but at least I'm not debting anymore)

  6. Sallyr70 Says:

    Different strokes for different folks...

    It's hard for me to fathom that if someone had much more money saved than what's owed, that they wouldn't just pay off the debt and start fresh (other than debts that are extremely low interest). Of course, when I had debt I was young and wasn't concerned with the future, I just wanted to be free of the obligation. Now, even the thought of a car payment makes me ill...

    I think the most important thing is that you are in recovery and have a plan to work through your debt and not accumulate more, plus being able to enjoy life!

  7. compulsive debtor Says:

    I think the key thing to remember in my case is that I'm not young, so once I use my savings to pay for my debt there will be no way for me to earn that money back before I come to that magical age when I'm forced to start living on that money. At the rate I'm going, I will have my debt paid off before I retire, though, and still have my retirement money, so all will be fine -- just not as fine as they'd be if I never got myself into debt in the first place.

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