Dispatches from the Formerly Middle Class #2

Sadly I haven’t had any takers for the idea of having a guest post each week from someone who is not coping well with the economic downtown (hey, if you have a story you want to share, let me know). But have no fear, I got off work early and figured in the absence of a a guest blogger, that I would share a story with you that I read about.

This piece was in the NY Times a few days ago, anyway in case you don’t feel like clicking the link and you haven’t read this story. Its basically about how credit card companies are starting to offer settlements on delinquent accounts on a more regular basis. In this piece Edward McClelland a forty-something year old freelance writer ended up becoming delinquent on his credit card (since I am married to a forty something freelance writer, I am guessing McClelland isn’t earning the type of loot he used to) and eventually settled with the creditor for half the bill.

Now for folks who are used to paying their bills and have never found themselves in this situation it may be newsworthy that credit card companies will settle with you but the reality is they have always done this…and no I don’t know this because I am a lifelong deadbeat but my mother was a bill collector so I know quite a bit about how the collection industry works.

See, if you have little in the way of wages that can be garnished and the self-employed generally meet that criteria and you have no assets, creditors really can’t do a lot to you. Yeah, they can sue you but again if you have real property, remember the old saying “You can’t get blood from a turnip”…well the same rules apply to collecting money.

Now in the NY Times piece McClelland in the comments section is being taken to task for what many fine upstanding folks consider shirking his responsibility for not paying the whole bill, but the reality in the new world is that many of us want to honor our commitments but if you don’t have it, you can’t pay it…. I personally like eating and while Visa is important, eating is even important.

Personally I applaud the man for trying to do the right thing in these tough times…as I am learning day by day as I deal with my own financial downfall that many of the things that we used to do are simply not part of our reality.

So here is another weekly dispatch from the formerly middle class.