01 August 2011

Off the Radar

I'm off the feds' radar. Yep, I'm underground, off the charts, nonexistent in the computer files.

I found out I have no credit score.

An interesting phenomenon amidst the national debt debacle is the discovery that the determination and ideal to pay all your bills is now considered bad. You are "rewarded" with a high credit score if you amass loads of debt and keep up the the payments. You are punished with a bad credit score if you amass loads of debt and are late or default on the payments. But here's the kick: You are punished by having no credit rating at all if you pay every one of your creditors in full and stay out of debt for more than seven years.

Why is this a big deal? Credit ratings are what banks and lending institutions use to decide if you are worthy of a car loan, a house mortgage, a business loan, and other loans. If you pay them all off, these institutions make no money from you because you aren't paying their interest rates. I've learned that my car insurance company charges me a higher premium because I have no credit score. They punish me with a higher rate for paying my premiums in full every six months as well. Uh, isn't that backwards?

This same insurance company also recently denied coverage to an author friend for house insurance because... he writes a blog and someone might read his blog and may do some nefarious thing he suggests (like take a walk through Sabino Canyon), twist their ankle and then might decide it's all his fault and maybe sue him. Therefore "Flo" (who isn't very progressive at all) totally refused to underwrite a house insurance policy for him.

If you're scratching your head and saying, "What the hay?" you aren't alone. I'm thinking their lawyers were smoking hookah when they wrote that clause, or maybe the agent had funny mushrooms for lunch. Do you mean to tell me they would refuse a policy to Stephen King or Nora Roberts because they blog? That's just silly.

Some credit card companies charge a fee if you pay your entire balance each month. Needless to say, I made sure to shop around and get one that not only doesn't do that, they don't charge an annual fee just to have the damn thing to begin with. 

What is up with the "debt is good" notion? Whatever happened to the ideal of financial responsibility? Did you know that the main selling point for life insurance is that it might pay "most" of the debts you leave your loved ones when you're gone?

It takes discipline to resist impulse buying, to choose not to buy into the media hype of purchasing a new everything every few years. If the cash isn't in the pocket, the purchase can wait most of the time. It's called "Living Within Your Means." And what the Establishment doesn't want you to know is that it's doable. Honest.

No, it isn't easy to run under the radar. But I feel rather subversive, a little rebellious in not having a credit score. Like, I'm underground, man. 

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