www.startinglifeoveragain.com - Visit my full site where you will find more blogs about other areas in life to start over like going back to school.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Car Financing is finally Approved!!!

I just wanted to follow up on my post the other day about Buying my first car after bankruptcy.

The financing is finally completed and just about final. We are just waiting for my insurance to come in.

When we were discussing the terms of the loan, they were actually able to get me an unlimited 2 year warranty (that will extend till year 4 if I don't need to use it in the first 2 years) for free.

The reason that they were able to get it for free was because the lender likes when you have their equipment protected with a warranty so they actually dropped the interest rate by 5%. 
The interest rate is still crazy high but is almost down to a number that is not embarrassing.

It doesn't change the payment at all for me but

Monthly Payment: 402
 Original Interest Rate: 25%
 Rate after included warranty: 20%

Interest rate from my first ever car that I thought was the highest possible interest rate for a car: 16%

Friday, September 11, 2015

Buying a Car After Bankruptcy!

I have contemplated the car thing for a while. I was going to wait until Christmas time because it will have been 2 full years since claiming bankruptcy and I hope to go back to school in January while working full time. I am going to need to have a car by the to get across the city quickly.

I have thought about buying one out right. I thought about financing one that was super cheap to help my credit but not hurt the wallet. I thought about so many different options.
If you have read my other posts you will know that I have had a car and had it taken away when my ex claimed bankruptcy and then I have finally had it cleared off my reports after my bankruptcy.

I currently work a minimum of 45 hours per week. I would love to work the unlimited overtime hours that are always available but because I don't have a vehicle I can't. I want to hang out with people but I don't have time/ I am too lazy to walk. I spend so much money on cabs it is not even funny. I live in a small city now, the type of city that has city buses but that takes half the day to get across the city.

I check to see the vehicles that are available all the time for a few different companies in town to get an idea of what I am looking for and how much I am likely to pay. I have decided that I would be looking for either a Honda Civic or a Mazda 3. I like both, have driven both in the past. I really like the way that they feel.  I was open to getting a car as old as 2010 if the price was right and it had heated seats etc. 

I walked to work last week in a huge down pour. I was soaked through to my "delicates" for the entire day. My work loves to pump the AC. I was frozen solid for the whole day. That is the moment I thought I would start to seriously shop around and start putting in some applications.

That was last Thursday. When I got home that day, I jumped in the shower to thaw out a bit. Then I grabbed a tea and checked every single company that sells either Honda or Mazda. I filled out 2 applications.

Silly enough, I couldn't help myself but to apply at Honda for a 2015 Honda Civic EX. I submitted the application at about midnight. But 9:30 am I received a call that I was approved for financing, but not for this vehicle. They were only able to get me into a 2013 Honda Civic LX which a TON of Km on it. They also advised that I would have a very high interest rate. Like I legit choked when I heard.

I did hear from the other application that I was approved as well and they had a 2014 Mazda 3 Standard fully loaded with Nav.

Honda's certified program has 100 point inspection as opposed to the typical 30. The vehicle that they were offering me actually wasn't in my city yet and wouldn't be here until Tuesday of the following week. I told them to continue the application.

I was contacted later in the day to send in my pay stubs for proof of income. I sent them in. Then I didn't hear anything back all Labour day weekend. On Tuesday of the following week I contacted my sales guy. I knew that he was on vacation until the following day but when I hadn't heard back I wanted to be sure that he could follow up as soon as he got into work the next day.

I finally heard from Honda that the bank was going to require proof of income. They wanted me to go into my work and ask them to call the bank. There are almost 400 employees in my place of work so they said that they couldn't do that. My work gave me the card of the person that the bank would need to contact. I emailed that to the contact at Honda. 

I had an appointment to go in to see the car on Thursday morning. One week after the application. (yesterday).  The car had bald mismatched winter and summer tires. It had a cracked windshield and 100,000 km but it was beautiful. Tinted windows, upgraded rims, heated seats.

I do apologize for the photos. If I was thinking clearly I would have taken really nice on with the whole Honda dash and such but here is the centre of the dash, front, rims and back of the car. I really just took these thinking it would remind me of what it looks like when I'm writing a pros and cons list on whether or not I should sign the papers. 

After test driving the car I fell in love. I am not a fan of light grey interiors because the seats always get so gross and dirty but I will get some seat covers if it bothers me too much.

I had originally thought that I was going to be able to pick it up on this visit if I liked it, but the financing wasn't anywhere near completed. The car was also not any where near ready for me to take it anyway. I am not fully sure of what they did to the car just yet but I do know that it was getting 4 brand new tires and a new windsheild so that is a definite plus.

Anyways, I left the car there and went to work. I received a call in the afternoon from Honda stating that the bank stating that they contacted my work and she said that she couldn't give any information to them at all and that I would need to contact her and request a letter.  While we were both in the building.... after already speaking to the office about it all.

I called her and she prepared the letter. I got the letter not that much later. Sent the photo of the letter to Honda (the lady at Honda really needs to send confirmation emails to people when she receives things from them).

Fast forward to this morning (Friday) I already had an insurance company in mind and had gotten a quote from them earlier in the week. I have tried calling them every day and haven't been able to get through. Clearly they don't want my business so I moved on.
I called the company that I am going to go with. Insurance is really very frustrating and difficult to obtain. When I got my last insurance it was a quick phone call and it was set up.
This time there is a lot more involved and its really frustrating to the point i'm almost ready to call it quits on the car.

Quick back story-
I got my beginners license in ON. Moved to NS and got another beginners out there. Became a fully licensed driver out there.
Driving down the street the car in front of me stopped to look into a parking lot where Christmas trees were being sold at the same time I glanced down to turn on my heat.
I touched the back of their car. Left maybe a tiny scratch on the car and nothing on mine. They claimed injuries and 1400 worth of damages. I honestly thought it was a joke (not literally) and didn't even think they would call insurance. We didn't call police or ambulances everyone was fine. They asked me if I was drinking. I laughed because I was still in my chef whites. Cool- at fault accident.
The next year was when things went really bad for me financially. First the safety and registration were up in the car. I could not afford to get the car safety done but I couldnt get the registration with out the saftey. Because I wasn't able to drive the car then the insurance payment fell down the list of priorities to me. That lapsed. Insurance was cut. I didn't drive my car anywhere really at this point. I did however drive it to the laundry mat a few blocks away from my house stupidly. - Ticket-
Ticket was actually paid through tax money when I claimed bankruptcy.
 At that point I didn't have a vehicle at all for years. I had a few friends that let me drive their vehicles from time to time but nothing of my own, nothing I was insured on.

Then I was driving a fully registered and insured vehicle I was going like 15 over the speed limit on a hwy. Pulled over. -Ticket-  Very frustrating because the person I was driving with almost always drives 40 -50 above on the hwy and never gets caught. I never speed and the one time I sped up to pass someone I get pulled over.

Then I changed my license back to a full license in Ont. This meant that I skipped the middle license in ON. 

When I spoke to the insurance company they added in all of these things and then my quote is up to 220 per month. They said that they can get insurance taken care of same day and they are open on Saturdays. But I need to get in contact with NS and get my insurance claim and my driving experience letter. They also need 2 payments upfront on a CC. Not a problem for the cash but I don't have that much space on my card because I had to rent a car for this weekend because my car wasn't ready - ironic eh?  I was kind of wanting the financing and car to be delayed at this point for a few more days till my payment clears on my card.

By this time I need to leave for work. On my walk I call my old insurance company I was on the phone with them for about 30 mins while they prepared everything and was almost late for work. They then advised me that they couldn't give the experience letter and I would need to call access NS.

I had to start work and was late getting logged in as it was. Waited till break then called Access NS- they were super rude and clearly NS is living in the stone age because nothing is available online.
I have 3 options in person, by mail and by fax. I started to really panic because I don't have a way to fax anything to anyone and I was running out of time on my break. The lady kept putting me on hold I had to hang up and go back to work. I found a fax that I can use. I should have really left work today to get this all taken care of but I need my job right now and more hours to pay for all of this.

At lunch I contacted my sales guy at Honda to see sort of where everything was at before the weekend just so I would have an idea. I also wanted to give them a heads up about the insurance issues.  He responded fairly quickly. My car is ready and we are just waiting on financing.

I finally got a call from the lady at Honda while I was working at 5:30pm stating that my financing is in!!Ugh I wish I had taken the day or at least half to deal with the insurance issues. I am heading out of town tomorrow and I could have been signed off and ready to go with the new car on the trip in the end.

 At the end of the day the car is going to cost 400 per month and the insurance is going to be 220. This is a lot of money for a car that is not brand new. However, purchasing it from Honda directly is almost as good as buying a brand new Honda plus it is only 2 or 3 years old. The resale value of Honda Civics are huge. I know this car will get me through the next 5-6 years of school. My insurance will go down each year and hopefully I will be able to put extra on the car each month to pay it faster as well and get some of the interest rate taken care of.
When school is finished and my car is paid off I will be have great credit.

For the next 4 months now that I may have a car aside from the gym, writing for you folks, figuring out how to live on a tiny budget while being healthy, taking my last upgrade course, I need to work as many extra hours as possible so 12 hour days- 60 hour weeks here I come. (unless I finally get the promotion to the salary position I have been waiting for)

Moral of the story- If your need for a vehicle is there and you have the available funds to pay for it then you can get an almost brand new car just one year after being discharged from bankruptcy.


Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Credit Score Trend- First Year After Bankruptcy

During the first year after being discharged from bankruptcy I have kept a pretty close eye on my score. I am not sure financially it has been completely worth it but at least I have been able to monitor it so that someone else may benefit from my trends.

If you are unsure about what an Equifax credit report looks like you can view How to Read your Equifax credit report

So far it is very clear what has helped and what has not. Seeing as I have many pointless reports I wish that I actually got one while bankrupt but I did not, which means I am not completely sure if my report ever changed to R9 like it was supposed to.

 I did get one days after being discharged, it was before the discharge appeared on the report.

My credit score was a whopping 434!

  I waited a few months to see if the incorrect information would get updated. With the credit monitoring package you can only get one report every quarter. I applied and got set up with my Capital One Secured Card right around this date as well.

I wrote about that process in the post My First Credit Card After Bankruptcy

In January I got another updated report. It had gone up to 471, which is not to bad for just 4 months after bankruptcy.

By April it had gone up another 20 points.

For some reason in June it dipped back down a few points to 488

By August it went back up to 491.

491 on August 8th. This is the report that I used when calling Equifax to dispute in my previous post
Incorrect information on my credit report after Bankruptcy

Just a few days later after getting an alert that my report was updated, I paid for another report.

My credit score then jumped by 73 points between August 8th and August 14th.

 I won't be able to get another report until November 8th. I have some credit moves coming up soon (purchasing a car) that may make this report an interesting one. I am anxious to see if this is going to drop it significantly or raise it up. If I make the decision to sign the papers.

Incorrect information on my credit report after Bankruptcy

I was going to write the post about my different credit scores that I have gotten throughout the year but the of course the Equifax site is down. Not to say that it goes down often but the one time I wanted it for screen shots it is down.  So that will come later… 

This post is about the challenges I have had reversing the inaccuracies on my report.
I claimed bankruptcy in November of 2013 and was discharged in August of 2014. I got my first credit report almost right away. This report my lowest score ever. It was 434. On the report there was only 1 creditor that had closed as per the bankruptcy which was my loan. My mortgage had also decided that it wasn’t worth it for them to come after me to try to collect the difference in the sale price and what I owed on the mortgage so they just wrote that off. 

My bankruptcy and discharge weren’t yet showing on this report so I assumed it would take some time for it to all be updated. 

Every other credit line item was incorrect. The report was still showing car, credit card, and cell phone. It was also showing 3 items in collections that were still open. 

I waited a little while. We are told when file that we should get a report and follow up with Equifax about the incorrect information and that we should never get another call or need to talk to another person from the collectors. I just waited.

Once I got my credit card that one showed up. There were no other changes. Not even the old card I had with the same company. 

In April 2015, I sent in all the information that I need to dispute the incorrect information which is photo copies of ID, my discharge and the creditors that were incorrect- which for me at the time was like 8.

I also sent in the written request to Transunion to have them mail me my free report. I did move but had mail forwarded to my new address. 2 months later I received a letter from Transunion with a blank form to fill out. 

I checked my report shortly after sending in my Equifax package and then 3 months later and nothing was changed. But oddly enough, soon after I sent in the package I started to receive creditor calls again. We are now June of 2015- I was receiving calls from 3 different Collection agencies demanding that I call the back right away. I haven’t gotten a collection call in year. This is when I started to get really concerned because clearly my files were not actually closed. 

I contacted my trustee at the bankruptcy company that I went through to ask what to do next. I am still waiting for a response. He still hasn’t gotten back to me. I realized that after being discharged I am on my own at this point.

I opted to call each of the creditor and Equifax. 

Equifax call centre number is not easy to find. I did find it and got them on the line. This was the first ever bad experience I have had with Equifax. Even through my discharge is on there and even states how much money was written off- that matches how much was on the report. They stated that they couldn’t do anything and that they need the statement. I advised that I had sent it in 3 months ago. Got her to check 3 different times and nothing apparently they have no record of me ever sending in that whole package. They do not remove things easy off your report. I had to fight with them and stay on the phone for an hour to get her to escalate this issue. I requested a supervisor and had to fight with her to get it put through over the phone without mailing in anything. Eventually I got it done. She said that they would investigate and follow up. 

Next was to call the 3 creditors that I was told I would never need to contact or speak to again. One was so nice and got it taken care of right away – or at least said that she would.  

The other 2 were not nice at all. They said that they never received anything from the trustee and that they had no record of me closing it. Oh, and now I owe double what I owed when I claimed bankrupt on the one account. 

After one whole day spent on the phone I was able to get things going in the correct direction. My credit score immediately jumped by 73 points.  It makes me wonder how it is affecting my score with it being wrong for that entire year and if I had corrected right after claiming, would my score be in the 600’s by now?  I will never know now. I would suggest that any of you that are going through this that you don’t follow everything that I have done but that you also learn from my mistakes. 

-Claim as so as you realize that you can’t make it back from where you are. (Pending that you don’t make a surplus of income) 

-Make sure that your report with both credit bureaus are correct ASAP after being discharged. You will likely build your credit faster because right now mine shows that they were all just closed. 

-Apply for a secured card right away so that once everything is cleared up and taken care of you have some credit history

-Once you do get a chance with credit again- Do not ever miss a payment.  I heard somewhere that at a certain point after bankruptcy, creditors actually trust you extra because they give you the benefit of the doubt that you are not stupid enough to mess up again. If you do… then it will be next to impossible to come back from. I don’t know if this is true yet, but I hope to find out about the first one soon and I will follow up. The second one I will do everything in my power to ensure that it never happens

Monday, September 7, 2015

9 months of Bankruptcy

The dreaded thing everyone wants to avoid.... Bankruptcy

When you claim bankruptcy there is a fairly simple process that you must follow. There are a few hoops that you need to jump through. None of them are that complicated but if you miss one it could extend your bankruptcy period. During the 9+ months between claiming and being discharged from bankruptcy you are bankrupt. It can be an emotional time if you well on that fact. I personally decided to be greatful and relieved that I was getting it taken care of an that my debts were being erased.

Hoop 1. My own realization that I was to far gone.

My monthly payments were probably around 1000 or more not including the house. Well I was hardly making enough to pay my current rent and put food in my mouth let alone touch any of that. But I still tried. How the heck am I going to have a life after I claim bankruptcy?
Well I didnt have much off one with the debt so I went for it about a year later than I should have but I did it. I made the appointment to go speak to a trustee.

Hoop 2. The paper work/ initial consultation

This is where you have to tell them everything that you owe and to who
-You need to show statements for bills and debts with account numbers
-Show that you have a job
-Show tax papers and bring the information that they would need to file any past years and the following year

Hoop 3. The green light and payments

You will need to set up a second appointment to meet with them and to sign everything. You need to look over everything that you provided the first time to make sure that it is all correct. You will need to pay your monthly amount and go over what that is all about

Here is a brief break down for what mine was (I am in Canada):
-If you do not have a surplus of income and you are a single person house hold.
I believe surplus is around 2000 per month- then you will have a payment of $180 for 9 months (10 payments).

If you make more than this then you will need to pay more a lot more... its 50% of your overage to a certain point then 75% after that. You may not get an automatic discharge after your 9 months.

Note**- if any one is interested on more actuate information on the process or the payments I would be happy to get the paper work and share that info.  However I was never in a surplus of income. I did make more than that a few times during the month I was paid 3 times and one month I received a bonus but it is an average over the 9 months)

Hoop 4. Credit Counselling

There are a few different hoops that I didn't need to worry about with my bankruptcy because my ex took care of them first and that is my assets. I had none. My car was already taken and so was my house. You do not NEED to give up either of these things necessarily. The car needs to fall under certain guidelines, and you have to prove that you can afford to keep your house.
There are other things as well that I just stayed away from. I didn't fight for a raise I deserved, I didn't play the lottery (your winnings would go to the trustee) etc.

The things I did need to concern myself with was that I needed to provide a filled out monthly budget sheet, my payment of 180 and my pay stubs.  (each month)

Then I needed to fulfill a requirement of going in for credit counselling twice while in bankruptcy. This was for me anyway a fairly quick meeting with one person. They go over everything in your file to make sure that you are on track, let you know where you are at and they provide you with a whole bunch of information that includes things about rebuilding your credit once discharged.

They showed me with all of the creditors that they had reached out to what they came back with. Some said I owed more, some just closed the accounts. My house- well they let me off scott free. I'm sure they knew they wouldn't get anything out of me at that point seeing it was my trustee calling but... that was a relief. Account closed, balance zero as per my credit report. It is not showing a foreclosure. It really wouldn't have  mattered at this point

How did it get so bad and how I made the decision to claim Bankruptcy

Well before it was able to get bad it had to get good first. I was in a relationship for 7 years, from the time I was 18 years old. We always had 2 incomes in the home and there was only a small amount of student loans that we were able to pay off fairly early. Neither of us had fantastic paying jobs and we lived in Toronto for the first few years so cost of living was high but we also lived within our means because we had to. We didn’t have tons of credit because we were young so we just lived sort of paycheque to pay cheque. Even when I did go to school it was an apprenticeship and I was able to claim EI and school was free for me.
We eventually decided to move out east. One of the first things I did out there was get my license and a vehicle. I had a credit rating of 580, my ex was just slightly higher. They agreed that with both of us they would allow us the car. We went to a place that approved everyone and was high interest. My car payment was 16% interest. I now know how utterly ridiculous that rate is but I had no clue back then.  I had biweekly car payments of 160 if I remember correctly. It’s funny because although these were ridiculous prices I still paid it on time every single payment, which in turn made both of our credit scores build very quickly. I had a credit card as well that they kept raising the limit on about every 6 months or so. I passed on some of the offers but took others and eventually I got my 700 credit limit up to 3750. Then we decided to buy our house. My credit rating was now 750 and my ex’s was around 680.Anyways, we applied for a mortgage through a mortgage broker that we had heard about that could get anyone into a home. We were able to get preapproved for 200,000. We found the perfect place and that we wanted and started the purchase. The problem was that the broker told us that he could get us approved for zero down. Even after banks decided not to allow zero down anymore. But after 5 long months of bargaining and fighting with banks, switching the mortgage to a new bank, trying every which way to get us approved- He finally did it. We were moving into our new home that had a higher interest rate because it was zero down and we took along with us our high interest car. It was tough, the mortgage was high, the utilities were like ridiculous time 1000 and the whole process took a toll on the relationship. I don’t think that we were even in the house 6 months before I started having doubts about the relationship. She didn’t see it at that point.
I always had thoughts about the greener grass on the other side of the fence but went along with everything anyway. Then one day I finally started to think it might be time to call it quits. We ended up getting some roommates and moving into different rooms. Problem then became that no one paid their rent on time and the two of us were still responsible for the whole thing.  Then she moved on and found a new significant other, as did I. We both decided that it was time to move out. We rented the house to a family. Well guys what… that family didn’t pay the rent either. 
We were still managing until her new partner decided that she didn’t want my exs and my names together on anything. At that point she Claimed bankruptcy. They took the car because it was considered part of the assets that she had to liquify (could have kept it if we wanted to and could prove we made the payments but as it was one of the items we shared, she had to get rid of it- this left me with 6505 in debt for a car that I no longer had. Because of the high interest rate and because we were still in the first 2 years there was way more on the car loan than the car was worth)- Then came the house. I was served papers. I was told that I now owned the house with the trustee but that I would need to either buy them out or they would sell it. I wasn’t able to buy them out at the time.
There were other items that I was still responsible for as well like a loan we had. My Ex opted to get a loan for new couches at one point. Was paid off so then we got a dining room set which I believe was on the loan at that time. Then she upped it a little bit so that she could get a computer. Then we upped it even more and I stupidly added my name because separating is expensive and we both needed money to move on.  This loan was up to 8000 by that point which was solely all mine once she claimed bankruptcy. I literally had ALL the debt and not a single thing to show for any of it.
I was still so scared to claim bankruptcy that I didn’t for a really really long time. It was over a year after her before I claimed. I was really scared that I would be messing up the rest of my life and what would people think, how could I face people after being bankrupt. I was scared that I would get a better job that would give me a raise and I would have to extend my bankrupt time and pay all of the extra earnings to the trustees. So I procrastinated for a full year.
I searched and searched for personal stories. If I was able to find one at the time like mine maybe I wouldn’t have been so scared to go in and claim. I didn’t know if I should go to the same one that she went to or if I should go to a completely different one of my own. I thought my life would have been over. I let the debt pile up and pile up. I had no way to even touch it.
I made 820 at my job take home biweekly at that point and it was salary so there was no option for overtime. My cell phone was paid by work.
1640 – Monthly take home pay
  750- Rent (all inclusive including cable and internet/ no laundry on site)
    50- Laundry (laundry was expensive because I had to cab there and back and it was 5 bucks a load)
  250- Groceries/ pet supplies
  200- Spending money
    20- Bank fees
 I had 370 per month left. This wasn’t much. I did need to have a bit of a life and I needed to pay off close 20,000+ some amount I was scared to find out about for the house. How was I going to be able to pay off my debts? I decided that I would try little by little. I did the math and was going to be able to put a tiny amount on it each month to bring it all down. The problem was that stuff kept coming up and that 370 would get used up for the emergency.
The debt kept building and I couldn’t touch it pay after pay.
One day I checked my bank account to see how much I had in there. Some creditor took out 500 bucks. I called my bank and they couldn’t tell me anything about the with draw except for the bank that took it. I called the bank that took and they were able to release information to me either. Neither side was able to stop the payment.
Knowing how much debt I actually had in my name- that’s when I made the decision that it was time to claim bankruptcy. I couldn’t afford to lose 500 bucks randomly without notice and not know who it went to in the future. I made my appointment and got the ball rolling on that day.

Intro- www.startinglifeoveragain.com

This blog is going to be about a few different yet very connected topics.  They will all lead down to life experiences and following your dreams.

The Basics-

Over the last 7 years I have gone through college, moving half way across the country, career, gaining 50 lbs, house purchase, break up, bankruptcy, losing 75 lbs, career change, upgrade courses, moving half way across the country, and preparing for school.

Right now I am in the middle of rebuilding my life as a single woman. When I claimed bankruptcy and went through my separation I lost a lot. I didn’t decided to claim bankruptcy as the easy way out but I was left with it as it was my only choice after my ex claimed bankruptcy and left me with everything- all of the debt. Except because of her bankruptcy I had to give up my car and the house. I was left with even more debt and nothing to show for it at all.
The reason that I have decided to write this blog is because I spent so much time trying to research what would happen to me and if I would ever be able to do anything with my life ever again. There are all kinds of articles online and information that will help you claim and help you decide if claiming is a good idea for you and how it will effect your life during the process. I could not, no matter how hard I searched, find information from people that have claimed after the completed and how it is effecting their credit life now.

So that’s what I am going to write.
I am just coming up on two years since claiming and just over a year since being discharged. I am right around the area that I want to start applying to things again like car loans and student loans.  I will let you all know the stories about how I came to the decision (maybe a little late) to claim, how I went about it and the process. I am also going to tell you all where my credit scores are at now and what I am still dealing with from claiming.

However, aside from the bankruptcy and rebuilding my life from scratch I am also going to write about a few other things as well. When I finished high school- I didn’t really finish, I just stopped going after I had gotten a job and I had failed all the courses in my make up semester- because I didn’t go to them. But how I have been working at it on the side for the past few years and I finally finished the required courses for my diploma and I am just now ready to start applying for school. I am planning to go to college for RPN in January of 2016 than in Sept 2018 I plan to start the 3 year bridging course for RN…. FINALLY.

This is actually going to be a third career for me. I was deterred for going for my dreams of being either a Dr. or an RN because of a teacher I had in high school. Then shortly after that is when I stopped going and messing up about the last year and a half of my high school diploma. This same teacher helped me get into the Cooking field. (he basically told me that I wasn’t smart enough to do either of the above jobs but that my idea of being a cook was a great job for me) I then jumped head first into being a cook for the next 10 years. I learnt everything I could, I thrived for the adrenaline that I would get when the printer wouldn’t stop printing tickets for customer waiting for food. It was an amazing feeling. I even was eventually able to work my way up to being the chefs right hand girl and being his chosen one for an apprenticeship. He taught me everything he knows. He got me into the best Culinary school in Canada (one of the top 10 in the world). I was top of my class in every single one of my classes. There was one class imparticular. Nutrition. This wasn’t just what are the different food groups, this was a very in depth nutrition course that would be provided to anyone in an intro to nutrition course. I was hooked. I loved everything about meal planning, macro nutrients and all of it. I just couldn’t get it out of my head. I even ended up furthering that into a fitness and nutrition certificate program that was basically a program for a personal trainer and all of the nutrition information that they would need to help a client lead a healthier life style.
Anyways, these lead me into the gym where I got myself fit and was able to lose about 75 lbs in less than 6 months. This also continued to increase my interest in anatomy and how the body works….. and of course it all brought me back around to wanting to be a nurse.
I decided I needed to do something, I needed to prove that teacher wrong, I needed to fix my high school transcript so that I could apply to college. I was not only missing 3 credits but I was also missing both Biology and Chemistry, my English mark was there but it was in the 60s and I needed a grade 12 Math.  (an unrelated topic but the qualifications for an OSSD are really lacking. It may be true that a student that wants to do something in the science field should take science courses and someone in the tech field should take courses in the that field, but the problem is that they need to spend more time in the earlier years to help us decide what we want so we know what courses to take. Or even extend high school for one or two extra years specifically for prerequisites. Anyway rant over)

I am now at the point that I have been able to get most of my prerequisites out of the way, just started my last one yesterday. Applying for school for January. I am getting my finances in order and rebuilding my credit.  I am also in need of a vehicle because as an adult returning to fulltime studies, I also need to work full time so I need a vehicle to be able to get around to all of the place that I need to be and still have time for sleep.

I want to write about my experiences because I know I really wished that I had some experiences to read.  I had and still have questions like “when can I get approved for a car loan after bankruptcy?” and “can I get approved for student loans after claiming bankruptcy?” or “how can you pay for college as an adult that does not have parents to cosign or a partner to pay the rent” You will also see things like work out routines and recipes appear on my page because I am a nutrition fan, that loves to work out and also a chef that loves to cook. I have put on a bit of weigh recently and just renewed my gym membership through work and if I can work up the effort to get all the way down there before I secure a car then I will be working out to gain energy and live healthy again. Now that my financials are getting themselves in order, school, and everything else, I really need to start working out so that I can be fully confident in myself again because I know that my current body is making me go back into my shell. I lived in that shell for way to long and I cant let it happen again.

I am going to write smaller blogs about current things that are happening but I am going to start with 2 longer write ups

-How did it get so bad and How I made the decision to claim Bankruptcy


-9 months of being Bankrupt.

My First Credit Card After Bankruptcy

Some people will say that it is best not to apply for any credit at all for a while after claiming bankruptcy. I wanted to start building my credit right away after being discharged. Even before being discharged from bankruptcy I applied to a credit card.

I knew that I wouldn’t be approved for a credit card with actual credit right away. I opted to go with the credit card that helped my build my credit last time. I applied for a Capital One Guaranteed credit card.

Guaranteed cards are cards that you put a security deposit towards the card and they approve you for an amount of credit. Then after a certain amount of time of on time payments they return the deposit and it becomes all credit. My first card with them I was approved for $750 with a $75 deposit. The deposit was returned after just 6 months. They then gave me the option to raise my credit limit every 6 months or so (750- 1750-3750-5000 was the order it increased the first time)

I was approved for $300 with a deposit of $300. Which means this card is 100 percent funded by my deposit. I was also approved for an interest rate of 19.80%. Yup that’s right, they are going to charge me 19.80 percent on my own money. However, keep in mind I did say that this was the same company that I had prior to the bankruptcy. My card with them was written off in the bankruptcy. I am surprised I was even approved at all.

I have now had this card for 11 months. I have had the card paid off or close to each month. I haven’t had any offers yet to raise the limit. I am sure that I will need to wait till either 1 or 2 full years with this one.  Half of the point of having a credit card though is so you can make larger purchases like renting a car or booking a flight or online shopping. I have since raised my own credit limit by $300 (double where I started) for 2 reasons.

Because I needed to rent a Uhaul and I needed to have enough space on the card to rent the truck
You need to use you card a little bit here and there to get it to help raise your credit limit. You also should keep the limit over at least 80% at all times.  Which would have meant less than 60. My cell phone bill is more than 60 bucks. Now that the card limit is higher I am able to use the card for a purchase here and there and not worry about the charge being too much.

I am going to follow up this post with a post about my actual credit ratings and the struggles I have had correcting that. But so far in the 11 months since I have had the card I have raised my Equifax score from 434 (horrible) right after the bankruptcy to 560 (still pretty bad but not horrible).  From 434 -500 was solely because of the card. I had a lot of discrepancies on my report and once I had them removed the report went up the rest of the way.

My Transunion report only has one small issue on it, which I am still dealing with right now.  But my rating with the is at 590. 590 is not really a bad score. It is a bad score but it is just on the edge of making it into the range of a decent score.

The best part of this card is that I only had to come up with 300 up front. Then I was able to add more to it when I had it/ needed it through the same method that I added the first amount. They give you instructions and a special account number to deposit the money into if you want it on your credit limit. Its really fast. If I wanted to raise my limit to 1000 by next Saturday I would just need to deposit 400 today. BUT then when they finally decide that I am going to be responsible with the card and that they are going to take a chance on me. They will return the security deposit. That is an extra 600+ that will come to me in a lump sum. (I have also heard from other customers that they will sometimes double the limit at the same time but not always)

I would really suggest this card to anyone that is looking to build their credit- bankrupt or not. However, you need to be ready to be responsible with the card and the payments. The interest is very high, and it isn’t going to help you at all if you aren’t paying it on time.

How to Read your Equifax credit report

How to Read your Equifax credit report.

I am going to write a post about the different reports that I have had and how it has grown over the past year since claiming and being discharged from bankruptcy. Before I write a post like that I am going to write about the different information that is included in a credit report and how to read it.
Everyone is entitled to 1 free credit report by mail from each of the 2 credit bureaus in Canada. I personally have credit monitoring that I pay for each month. When I started it was just for Equifax but I have recently also gotten it with transunion as well. Yes it is fairly costly over the month. I pay roughly about 30 per month on my credit card between the two. I have recently learnt that the 2 are not necessarily the same information. I won’t keep the reporting forever and will just buy one report every 6 months to make sure that they are still accurate and to see where I am at. Right now there is too many issues and the possibility of old things coming back up. For that reason I am okay with the investment. 

Watch for a review of the services in the future because there is one that is way better than the other as far as what it includes for the same price. 

For this post I am going to go through an actual Equifax report (with personal information removed of course)

This is the top section. It will provide your name and the confirmation number
This number is good because if you need to dispute anything on your report- this is a number they will ask for.
You will also have the date the report was pulled.
They will then point out where your credit score is. This is sometimes called a FICO score. You also get a little blurb on this score. The score will be between 300 and 900 except while you are bankrupt. When bankrupt it apparently shows R7 or R9. I didn’t actually see this on mine. but YAY ME! I am finally out of the poor stage. I am just barely considered fair. What does that me? Pretty much just that I still can’t be approved for much. When I am approved the interest rates will be fairly high.

The next is a section where they tell you why your specific score is where it is. I have noticed in the past that this isn’t always lined up with the report. Some of the options appear to just be random. Mine however on this report are correct

The next is again about the score and the delinquency rates. For me its not about how many were 90 days late anymore but more about the accounts that were written off.

Then the actual report starts

You don’t need to change your information with Equifax- it gets changed automatically.
Consumer statements are there in case I wanted to put a note on the file to explain something. I don’t have any on my report

After removing the personal information that links this report to me, this is a portion of my actual credit report. I didn’t put all of them on here but one of each type that I have. The 2 that you see above are ones that I had to contact Equifax to correct and contact the companies to update the system because I still get a few credit calls here and there.  They were both still showing open until a few days before I pulled this report. (a year after my discharge)
The first one is a car loan. This car was repossessed after my ex claimed bankruptcy and decided that it could be picked up to be liquidised. The late payments that you see were after the repossession because I still owed almost half of the loan with no car to show. It wasn’t very high on my list for payment at that point. Remember that you may not need to give up your card depending on how much the car is worth.
The 3 below:
The first one is the current card that I have already mentioned having in a previous post.
You can see that I have had the card now for a full year (report is about 2 weeks old and they hadn’t updated my report since July)
You see that I pay it on time , how much my limit is, ect.
Below that you actually see my house. My house was closed when my ex went bankrupt. I had the option to buy out the house before a certain date. I couldn’t  and they took the house and sold it. The house sold for under market value which was around 155000. So I could have had a HUGE debt there. When we reached out to the company that the mortgage was through, they decided not to go after me for the money.
The third one below is actually a loan that the ex and I had together. This loan is one that she also backed out of and left me with. But then they closed it nice and easy when I claimed bankruptcy. It updated beautifully on my report and I have never gotten a call from they or their collection company since. (the only one aside from the mortgage)

There is a section on the end of the report that shows money that you owe to a collection company