My situation

Just thought I’d say howdy

I’ve finally faced my finances in the eye and put together my first budget (at the age of 35). I couldn’t figure out for the life of me why I’m just as strapped now, at $45k/year income, as I was eight years ago making $24k. I’ve never owned a new car, or made payments on one, for that matter.

I drive beaters. I’ll spare the goriest details, but my credit got destroyed about 9 years ago, when I finished college. Also FYI, I didn’t start school til I was 22. When I quit my job and started school, I had a big stack of credit cards, with $0 balance. I left them at home, knowing the next few years I’d not be able to buy crap on credit. I graduated, got a job, and moved back in with my folks til I had some $ saved up for an apartment. One day I got off work early, before my parents got home, and grabbed the mail. Discover card statement? In my name? I haven’t had that card in 5 years. What the? {opening statement} $32,000!!! WHAT THE @#$#!!?? Turns out my mom went nuts and racked up my cards, to the point that she could barely make min. payments. In the meantime, she’d also racked up HERS.

To the consternation of many, I chose not to prosecute her. I was stuck with approx. $78k in high-interest CC debt, making $24k a year (gross). It came down to this: prosecute my mom for fraud, and they’d lose their house, my mom would lose her job, etc., or demand that she repay everything, in which case they’d lose their house, etc. Ugly situation. I took on the payments. Including my own “legitimate” debt, $34k in student loans.