|The Credit Fairy|
In my younger years, in my previous marriage, we ran our credit into the ground. It didn't just crash and burn... it skidded and bounced, and did several barrel rolls, before landing in a twisted and crumpled heap... and then it burst into an atomic fireball of flame and noxious gas. Aside from my colorful imagery, let me tell you, my credit was bad. At the time of our divorce, because I was about to become a single mother with very little work history, the judge laid all those bills on his plate. Luckily for me, not so much for him.
I don't know how he did it it, but he handled it all well enough, so that he and his new wife were able to rebuild their credit to be able to get auto financing, and a mortgage. Meanwhile, my new husband and I vowed to never touch a credit account. For fifteen years, aside from a few personal loans from family members, we lived by the law of cold hard cash. Hubsy works in the apartment industry, so we always rented, with some serious employee discounts. We always bought cheap used cars, for cash. I lived for so long with bad credit, that even though those old debts were gone, I just assumed that my credit was poor, but that if we paid our bills and didn't apply for anything, things would get better. Wrong!
So, last week our old used car took her last breaths, and we were back in the market for a new used car. I started scouring the newspaper and Craigslist, but everything in our price range already had the same mechanical ailments that killed our last car. So, we began driving up and down the road that we've come to know as "Used Car Alley". Lot after lot of dealerships that specialize in low credit financing. Suuuure, they offered us financing, in exchange for my first born child, and then a monthly payment of whatever body parts we could spare. An arm here, a leg there, a kidney, a cornea.
Then Sister Fate stepped in to take the wheel, so to speak. My daughter came to us and happily announced that our next door neighbor is a car salesman. That seemed strange to us because the last we had heard, he was the owner of an office cleaning company. We shrugged it off. Until the next day, he handed my husband his business card, verifying that he was indeed a newly hired used car salesman at a well known dealership. So we gave him a shot. He took us on a test drive of some fabulous newer model used cars, until we settled on something that we really liked.
While filling out the paperwork, we informed him about our low credit score, and were assured that it wouldn't be a problem. Well, there was a problem. As it turns out, we didn't have the low credit that we thought ... we had NO credit at all! After several bank denials, the financial manager was ready to give up on us, but our wonderful neighbor wouldn't let him. Our new best friend urged him, almost begged him, to keep trying. Literally twenty four hours later, they found a bank that was willing to give us a chance. We got that phone call just as we were climbing the stairs, kidneys in hand, to another low credit used car dealership, specializing in much older models, with un-diagnosed mechanical ailments.
So, at nine o'clock last night, we got into our shiny new used car and drove home, with a shiny new bank loan that will guarantee us a bona-fide credit history. I think we just officially joined the capitalist society. Yippee?