This guest post from Rita is part of the “reader stories” feature at Get Rich Slowly. Some stories contain general advice; others are examples of how a GRS reader achieved financial success or failure. These stories feature folks with all levels of financial maturity and income. Want submit your own reader story? Here’s how.
My son Danny has been doing all my finances since he was eleven. This includes my mortgage, credit cards, taxes, and also includes making sure the deposit accounts don’t dip into the negative while numerous payments are being made.
Danny monitors my IRA, pays the utility bills, and manages all the financial aspects of my household, and as of today, he is eighteen and has never been late on any kind of bill.
My son took over my finances when I had to work longer hours at two jobs. I have authorized all the companies to give him full access, and he is on all my accounts. Every month I check my credit scores and they are always above 800.
Danny always calls my banks and gets the annual percentage rates reduced, my credit limit increased, and ensures I am earning the highest possible interest on my deposit accounts. He was able to remove the annual fee on several of the accounts. He has credit cards linked to my checking accounts for the purpose of preventing checks from being returned and NSF fees from being charged. When Danny was fourteen, he was able to do a refinance on my house and the rate was reduced to a 4.86% fixed 30 years mortgage.
When Danny was thirteen, he asked me to sign up for a credit card with Orlando Federal Credit Union because they were offering a 3.99% fixed balance transfer offer for the life of the balance. He transferred the balance from my auto loan (which had a rate of 7%) to the credit card so I could receive the promotional rate. He caused some of my creditors to refund interest or annual fees for the previous months when he had the rates reduced.
On one credit card, I had a rate of 18.24%, but Danny had it cut down to 9.9%. I am willing to provide statements as evidence. One of my creditors had sent me a change of terms and conditions in which an annual fee would be imposed on my account. Danny complained to the corporate office and was able to prevent any annual fee from being accessed to my account. Thus, the original terms and conditions remained the same. The credit line was reduced, but Danny had the line restored back to normal and so there was no negative impact on my credit.
Danny was able to remove a thirty-day late payment from my mother’s credit report by contacting the corporate office. She was approved for the credit she was originally denied. Danny was able to win against my homeowners insurance company when they were giving me a difficult time about paying for all my damages when Hurricane Charley came. He changed my homeowners insurance company and I was being offered the same exact coverage but for a much cheaper cost. He was also able to reduce the premium of my car insurance. Danny got over $1300 worth of interest refunded from my credit card company.
It is because of Danny that I’ve never been denied for credit. He advised me not to close the credit cards because doing so hurts my credit scores. According to him, closing credit cards reduces the total amount of available credit, and the balances compared to the total available credit can be considered high, and lenders view this negatively thinking I utilize credit too much. He also said that lenders want to see a long history on the accounts for many years and may think I cannot handle the financial responsibilities if I close my accounts.
At one point, I thought the finances were becoming stressful for Danny. I told him I’d take over, but he told me he loves doing it and so I let him continue.
Danny has been doing all of this while maintaining high academics in school. He’s now an honors student at Seminole State College of Florida studying Finance. Danny has been recognized by news stations because he has been doing several financial seminars educating his peers on the significance of maintaining excellent credit and how to handle their student loans.
As you can tell, I’m proud of my son. He’s now writing a finance book teaching all the financial lessons he has learned, and will be donating the profits to the Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, D.C. for HIV research. He wants to earn a Ph.D. in Business by age 21. I wouldn’t bet against him!