Financially Armed

We don't talk about finances too often, but they are one of the most important things to have organized. After all, it's easier to face problems when you're properly armed.

Almost a year and a half ago, I posted about a client that was getting financially jacked around due to human error with their student loans, the bank and the IRS.

Jeez that sounds like a bad joke opener with no punchline. A student loan, a bank and the IRS walk into a bar...

I digress.

Recently, a similar thing happened to me. I receive a voice mail saying I had defaulted on my student loan.

What the?!?!

However, two key details were wrong: the bank lender and the amount. When you're saddled with student loans, you know these things off the top of your head.

You do know your debts and their amounts, right? If not then remedy that right. NOW.

Of course, I'm human. Maybe I've made an error. Even though I KNOW I'm up-to-date on all of my loans I pull out all the paperwork. Everything's clear. I go online to double check. Everything's clear. I pull up my credit reports. Everything's...

wait a second.

Everything is not clear.

But it's not the student loan the woman is calling about. It's my other one and it's been completely misreported, saying I'm 180 days late on payment.

Again...What the?!?!

I check that loan online and everything looks all clear. I call. Everything is clear with them too. I'm told to dispute the item online through the credit agency. I do and now everything is corrected on the report.

I call the original student loan issue and find out it's a different "Melinda Massie." I thank the lady for calling and her mistake because if weren't for that I may not have found the other mistake for a while.

You can imagine the shock in her voice. It's not like debt collectors are often thanked.

If I didn't have all of my financials organized, this could have gone very differently. If I didn't check my credit report, this could have gone on for quite some time and really been a massive black spot on my reports. Ignoring these things would have only made things worse.

If your finances aren't in good order, face it head on. Get all of your paperwork sorted and organized. Make a list of your debts: who you owe and how much. Get a copy of your credit report from all three reporting agencies. They may not all report the same so it's important to check each. You are entitled to a free report every year. Go to www.annualcreditreport.com to do so. Watch out for sites that may be a scam. With this site, you never have to give credit card info or pay for anything.

Are your finances organized? When is the last time you checked your credit report? Get on it. The better you arm yourself, the better you can tackle problems head on.