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Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Tuesday Night and thoughts about Debt

What to write about? What to write?

How about a quote I heard the other day - "Character has repaid more loans than collateral ever will."

I like that line - because I know from experience how easy it would have been over the past few years just to walk away from some of the debts I accrued while learning the ropes - definitely some of those debts had no investment value, and were just wrong decisions or experiments that then needed to be paid off - slowing down the progress, threatening the viability of the good decisions, making the day to day effort that much harder.

But I guess it's like the runner or exerciser who refuses to stop and take a breath, because by not giving in to the idea of stopping, then the idea eventually goes away, and you are a better runner. Or in a case like mine, by paying the bills, even when it kind of painful and half the time not even fully earned by the half-assed contractors I've had to use over the years, for some reason I always felt the need and found a way to repay my obligations, that were, in the end, byproducts of decisions I made -

That's the funny thing about a credit score or credit history - it's accurate - there are two types of people - those who over the years figured out a way to pay for things they bought, or those at some point, had priorities that trumped a previous debt committment.

It's all especially relevant now that banks that overlooked that old adage - that 'character has repaid much more money than collateral ever will' - are relearning it, and the banks and lenders who never forgot it, like our local bank I use The First National Bank of Jeffersonville, look especially prescient - just a few short years ago they looked stodgy and lost in the past. The old rabbit and hare story - and this little rural bank has survived 2 world wars, a depression and dozen or so business cycles. Now that's a good story. They loaned me my first real estate dollar, and has grown with me every step of the way - sometimes me pushing them to help me more, and sometimes them pushing me to bite off a little more.

Me, - I never thought I would be borrowing and repaying hundreds of thousands of dollars a month - but I have never lost my respect for debt both as a potential friend and a potential enemy.