The title of this story reminds me of the classic - Anne Frank -The Diary of a young girl. But believe me, I couldn’t think of a better title for this story ever since I decided to show my journey from financial mess to financial victory to the whole world out there. And the similarities between the 2 titles end in the phrase ‘young girl’ only. That’s because, unlike Anne Frank, my story is about struggle, despair, embarrassment, hope, never giving up attitude and victory. There’s a feel-good factor at the end of my story which gives you a new hope and zeal to move forward in life.
We tend to think that girls are not good with money. They’re only good at shopping and splurging. Well, a part of this is actually true since most girls are massive shopaholics. Just the mere word ‘shopping’ is enough to give them an adrenaline rush and a cute smile on their lips. But this is equally true that shopping is perhaps a girl’s biggest enemy since it kills her savings and turns her into a broke gradually. Sadly, I understood this fact, albeit a little late. During this time, I lost two precious possessions of my life - my dad and my ‘money tree’.
Yes, I love shopping. I love to store trendy clothes, designer bags, perfect stilettos in my closet. And during my college years, I used to check ‘fresh arrivals’ at Walmart every week. Nobody could stop me from picking up at least one item from there. My dad was doing well financially and I took advantage of it with glee. I was a pampered daughter who got everything she wished for, totally unaware of this big bad and real world.
Things were running smoothly and I was happy in my dream world. I loved my life - enjoying everyday with my friends without any tension. Initially, I used to shop with my dad’s credit cards. Later, my dad gifted me a credit card and I started shopping with it. My dad took care of credit card bills so I hardly bothered about them. In fact, he paid my bills even after I started working as a fashion designer after finishing my graduation.
Yes, I was completely a self-proclaimed and unabashed shopaholic - a fact that I would always regret in my life.
I was completely immersed in my new world - creating designs and stitching clothes. My career and social life occupied 90 percent of my day. My shopping spree continued in its full swing in between client meetings and creating beautiful designs.
In the meantime, my dad got sick. He was bedridden for several months and became very weak. So I started spending some time with him after finishing my work. I didn’t concentrate on the credit card during this time also. I thought it was taken care of. Never wondered how would it be taken care of when my dad was so ill and weak? He could hardly walk. So how could he possibly pay my credit card bills?
I was awakened from my dream all of a sudden after a few months with a call from a debt collector. I was told that my credit card bill had escalated to $57,148. I couldn’t believe my ears. And when I asked if he was sure, then the debt collector explained the fees, penalties, additional interests and other things in details. The collector told me very clearly that if I didn’t pay the money, then they would be filing a lawsuit against me within a few days.
My savings was nil since I invested all the money for a business. I couldn’t even say anything to dad since he was not well at all. So, I started thinking about a backup plan. But the problem was, I didn’t have any backup plan.
I had no money, my dad was ill and the collector was threatening me every day. I had to pay off debts somehow. I called my friends and explained the situation. Some sympathized whereas some acted to be plain busy.
Out of utter desperation and frustration, I started selling off my costly accessories, clothes, and other stuff through Craiglist, eBay, consignment shops, yard sales, etc. This helped me to earn $10,000. I paid that amount immediately to the debt collector.
Now, I was left with $47,148.47. This gave me a little bit relief. At least, I paid $10,000 on my own.
The remaining $47,148.47 was not allowing me to sleep peacefully at night. Out of sheer desperation, I decided to ask dad for money. When I told dad everything, he said he could give me $5000 only since his business was bankrupt. And, his savings was almost nil because of his expensive medical expenses.
I knew my dad wouldn’t be able to pay for his medical bills next month onwards if I took that money. I was a bad girl. But I was not so heartless that I would leave my dad without any medication for so many months. So there was me again busy in hatching another plan.
Since I had no money to pay off debts on my own, so it was high time to seek help from a professional. After a bit of online research, I narrowed down to Oak View Law Group precisely because they fit into my requirement. Their fees were budget-friendly and solutions seem to be good at that time. And I was not mistaken.
OVLG was ready to settle my credit card debt on my behalf. They asked me to save some money first before starting the negotiation process. This was a huge challenge for me since I have never saved a penny before. Plus I had to pay for my business and dad’s medical bills.
When I told my problem to OVLG, they shared with me a few secrets to save money. I followed each step very carefully. Plus, I took these steps on my own:
It took me some time to adjust to a new lifestyle and save money. But after a few weeks, I was able to save money. And after a few months, my net savings was not that bad. I used the money to settle some of my debts through OVLG. I must say, they negotiated really well since my total savings was $22,722 after paying off debts. A big relief for me.
My life has changed. Dad has left my hands forever after his body couldn't take any more medical treatments. It’s a huge loss for me since I know that no one would love me like he did. No one would bestow love and affection upon me unconditionally because only a dad can love his little girl like a princess.
I have changed a lot in the last 2 years. Today, I’m more practical and less whimsical. I still love shopping. But today, I shop wisely. I plan everything as per my budget since some of my creditors are still waiting for money. And I need to pay them back as soon as possible.
Thank you, Oak View Law Group for your guidance and support. You turned a naive, emotional and reckless girl to a practical and sensible woman. My dad would have been very happy to see this change in me. Alas, that day will never come in my life.
“This story has been posted by our client AF from CA. We wish her all the best in life and hope her dad makes a speedy recovery”.