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Yesterday marked the end of a very important issue in my life. a few years ago I was all but forced to take out a loan for $11,000. Yesterday I made the final payment to finish off that loan. Although that is indeed reason to celebrate, and I shall, it is not the reason for this post. No, what I wish to discuss today is how I came to have that debt in the first place. The year was 2009, after several great years at the post office things began to unravel. That year began the uneasiness that continues to this day. One day you may have a job, one day you may not. One week 40 hours, one week 4 hours. So the stress of not knowing where the money may be coming from day-to-day really gives you an opportunity to test your faith in the universe. Well, add to that a letter I received right before christmas. Like many Americans I had credit card debt. In relation to my income at the time is was incurred it was not much, but with my job situation shaky at best it became oppressive. Just the same, I never missed a payment and at the very least managed to make the minimum payment. So imagine my shock when I read in the fine print I believe they do not expect you to read, that my interest rate was going from 9% to 19.9%! Knowing that would raise my minimum payment to something I may not be able to afford, I called the company and asked why my interest was being more than doubled if I had never missed a payment in 7 years. The answer took me by surprise “Not everyone pays like you” the lady on the other end said. For clarification I inquired whether I was being asked to pay more to make up for the companies loss on those who didn’t pay. “If that’s the way you choose to see it” was her reply. I was dumb-founded. So I attempted to bargain with her “how about 12%? 13?” the answer was a firm ‘no’. Then I had one of those moments where words come out of my mouth without traveling through the brain. I swear it goes right from the vocal cords to someone else’s ears. In this case the words were “Then I shall take my business elsewhere”. To which the helpful customer service rep said “Well do what you have to” I million thoughts raced through my mind ‘How can a company turn away business like that?’ ‘where is the other place I am going to take this debt?’ Who would give me a card with the limit to cover the debt and a lower interest rate?’ ‘What if I lose my job and can’t pay any of it?’ Looking back I realize i was focusing on the all the problems, and potential problems, and not on the solution. I felt life was being so unfair. The company I worked so hard for the last 13 years seemed to care less about my well-being, the credit card company I faithfully paid for the last 7 was pretty much the same. While venting this to one of my favorite bankers, who also happens to be my mother, she simply said, “why not get a loan?” great idea except I had to collateral and a job that couldn’t be counted on. She said “let me sleep on it” The next day she agreed to put up some of her assets as collateral and we went to the bank and I signed for a loan for $11,000. Now other than reminding me what an amazing mother I had, this brought a whole new set of worry. If I had defaulted on the credit card it would reflect bad on me, now if I don’t make the loan payment it would reflect on my mother as well. Not only did that spur me on to pay it off quickly, but my interest rate was far lower than the initial credit card rate. So as I wrote the final check today, I realized something. Had that world not been so ‘unfair’ that year, had the post office not cut my hours, had the credit card company not raised my rate, or even settled for one of my offers, or if the customer service lady on the phone been nicer, I still would have that debt. So it took 4 years, but I realized several blessings out of what seemed like one of the darkest periods. Remember, without the rain, we would not appreciate the sunshine so greatly!