A book I had set out to finish in a year now looked like it would take at least two years to research and write, and cost well over twice what I had originally anticipated.
The payday for completing my book that would solve so many of my financial problems sank further and further into the future until it began to seem theoretical at best.
The man on the other end of the line was not promising to pay off the accounts for pennies on the dollar.
No, even if I did all that was asked of me, I would end up paying well over half of what I owed, albeit—and this is the part I really should have thought a whole lot more about before I took the plunge and signed on to the program—primarily to the debt consolidation group for legal fees and negotiating fees and structuring fees and any number of hidden costs I probably should have paid a lot more attention to at the time if I hadn’t been so hypnotized by the comforting gentleness in the man’s voice. From the outset, it was apparent that these people were parasites.
The logical, rational part of my brain processed the morning events as unfortunate but not entirely unexpected development. As outlined by the nice-sounding man on the other end of the line, the road ahead of me would be incredibly difficult.
It’s telling that what I remembered most vividly about the conversation where I agreed to enter the debt consolidation program was not he said it.
In my panic-stricken mind, it all amounted to a future locked in a Dickensian prison for perpetuity.
I would have to give up all of my credit cards and, in a flagrant violation of the American way of life, only use money I actually possessed.
I was told that debt collectors would stop at nothing to get to me so I could expect a never-ending deluge of calls and letters from debt collectors and, yes, even the possibility, however faint, of legal action somewhere down the road.
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.
Signing on to the program kicked off a solid year of living from paycheck to paycheck, incurring thousands of dollars in overdraft fees and bounced checks and more weeks than I care to remember when the balance of my checking account averaged somewhere in the area of negative four hundred dollars.