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Archive for February, 2015

Response to my request

February 26th, 2015 at 01:37 pm

After my post yesterday about the negative entries on my credit report, doingitallwrong suggested I send a letter to my creditors asking for a goodwill removal of the negatives from my credit history.

I have an ongoing relationship with one of the creditors, our credit union, where we have taken out two car loans over the past three years. I logged on to the CU site, and sent an e-message asking if they would remove the negatives. I based my letter on a template found on a link provided by doingitallwrong. Here's the response I received:

Thank you for contacting Credit Union via eMessage. We appreciate you taking the time to message us with your request. We greatly appreciate your membership with Credit Union and are happy to hear you have had such a positive experience with us. Although I am able to confirm you have had a very positive payment history with us in the recent past we are not able to reverse or remove late payments reported to the credit agencies unless they were reported in error. If the payments were reported late and it was not the result of an error on our part we are obligated to report them and are not able to remove them. Although we are not able to accommodate your request and remove late payments from your payment history, I would like to assure you that your credit history only reflects the last two years of your payment history. As the payments referenced in your previous message were between the years 2008 and 2011 they should no longer be reporting on your credit. If you have any additional questions or if we can assist you with anything else you are always welcome to contact us …

I struck out.

There is one other CC that has reported negatives. I cancelled that card a long time ago. I have no idea what my account number was. I do have a mailing address that appeared on my credit report, but the above mentioned credit union at least has the incentive of keeping my happy because of my continued business. The other company (Bank of America) really has no incentive to make or keep me happy. So, I doubt that I'll send a request to them.

There was really no harm nor foul in sending the request to the credit union.

Credit Maintenance

February 25th, 2015 at 07:23 am

I pulled my credit report yesterday. I don't pull my report often enough. I know that you can get a free report form each of the three companies once per year. So the best strategy is to pull each of the three every four months. I just don't do it often enough. It's probably been 12-18 months since I last pulled it.

What I've done is recorded the date and reporting company in the same spread sheet where I keep my budget, balance sheet, and amortization schedules. That way I can keep better track of when and where I pulled my last report, and keep on a better schedule.

I have a total of 17 negatives, from two credit companies on my report. The first has a string of 11 negatives ranging from May 2009 - March 2010, where I was 30 - 120 days past due. The other has a string from August 2008 - November 2008 where I was 30 - 90 days past due, plus March 2010, and October 2010 where I was 30 days past due. Note that I started becoming active on the SA forums around October 2010.

If negatives stay on a report for seven years, my first string of four will start dropping August through November this year. May of next year through March 2017 will see the end of the entire string from the other card, and the last negative will drop off October 2017. But, that's a long time from now.

According to my current Discover card statements, my credit score hovers between 720 and 725 any given month. It will be interesting to see how my score comes in as these negatives drop.

I also did something I should have done a long, long time ago. There were three open accounts listed that I don't use. One was a credit card I no longer use, one was a store card I opened when I bought a suit at a department store, and the third was an Amazon card I opened two Christmases ago. I called today, and had each of those accounts closed. We'll see what that does to my score.

This credit report monitoring is something I think I can and will keep up on from now on.

DD1's results from her public speaking contest

February 20th, 2015 at 06:58 am

She won it.

She'll move on to the state contest three weeks from yesterday. There are six regions in the state, plus all of the second place regional winners compete against each other the day before the final competition, and the winner of that competes against all of the first place winners. So, there are a total of seven contestants in the finals.

We were very proud of her, of course, but honestly DW and I both expected she could win. However, we hold no illusions about the state level. The competition will be very stiff. Contestants are placed, and receive either a gold or silver award. We would be happy with a gold award.

Her contest is Thursday March 12, beginning at 8 a.m. Regions rotate speaking positions from year to year, and Region III (her region) speaks first this year. So, she'll get a bright and early opportunity to compete. We'll be there, the only question is whether we will drive early in the morning, or stay over the night before. DW has a sister who lives in the area, so we wouldn't have to get a hotel room. DD1 will be there as a participant in the convention, otherwise we would definitely drive the night before. The question in my mind is childcare for the boys, which we'll have to find someone to get them on the bus, because we'll be on the road when they get on the bus at 7:20 either way. I'm sure we'll figure this all out.

But, my daughter has made it to state level competition her first year out. Her mom did the same thing. There was no Jr. High FFA in 1992 (in Michigan, anyway). So DW started in FFA in 9th grade. She participated in what is called Green Hand Public speaking (for 9th and 10th graders in their first year of FFA), and she won it at the state level. So, there is precedent here in the family!

Update from last post

February 18th, 2015 at 11:19 am

In my last post, I guessed my federal refund at $3,000. It's actually $3,395. I guessed my state refund at $1,000. It's actually $199. Added together, I was fairly close, but I was way off on the state amount.

I was submitting some expenses for my flexible spending account on Monday, and I thought about DD 1's possible braces. It occurred to me that at a minimum we might want to wait another year so I can max out my flexible spending account election, and at least get the full tax benefit if we do decide for the braces.

Speaking of DD1, she has made it to regional competition for Jr. High public speaking in FFA. The district competition was two weeks ago, and she took first place. If she takes first or second place tonight, she would move on to state level competition in three weeks. I'm clearly biased, but I think she stands a decent chance of placing at least second. I say that because I have judged Jr. High public speaking before, and as long as she performs to her ability, she is doing a better job than most in Jr. High.

February net worth update, tax income and braces.

February 16th, 2015 at 08:53 am

I know it's mid month. Actually a bit past mid month, but I just figured my February net worth - it's $229,440, a $2,366 increase over last month.

We filed our taxes this weekend, and I can't remember our refund amounts, but it's around $3,000 federal, and $1,000 state. We still have that federal adoption credit working in our favor, but I'll plan on adjusting withholdings.

DW is still working on that freelance project. She hopes to have it finished by the end of the month. Once she's finished, she can bill for another $5,600.

It looks as if DD1 needs braces. That would be a $5,000 bill. If she gets them, we would probably time it so that she got them right after DW has received her freelance income.

Our dentist has fairly strongly recommended that she get braces. It's his opinion that teeth will touch each other, and cause future cavities. We took her to see an orthodontists, and oddly, he wasn't as strong in his recommendation for braces. He seems to think it would be more for cosmetic reasons. So, I'm not sure what we'll do.

We can easily wait for the freelance income, but there are lots of places for that money to go. We can get on a no interest 18 month payment plan. If we pay up front, we'll receive about a $200 discount.

DW had braces as a child, I did not, but my sister did. My teeth are a little crooked, and I could have had some cosmetic benefit from braces (I think). And it's clear to even me that DD2 will need braces after more of her permanent teeth have come in.

So, again, I'm not sure what we'll do, but we probably won't make any decisions until April or May.

Does anyone have kids who were on the borderline of needing braces? What did you decide?