We met at the Starbucks in Webster Groves one evening and within an hour Kathryn saw three people she knew. That speaks volumes about her personality and likeability. After she said her hellos, and we had settled in with our warm drinks, we began to talk about how she found herself in her current job.
“It was traumatizing and totally scary because we were never taught what to do,” Kathryn began, explaining how her husband lost his job four months after they were married. He had been doing high-end installation of TV’s, internet, alarms, etc., but because he was working with low voltage equipment he was not a certified electrician. His company decided to replace him with someone who was certified.
It was only a few months that he was out of work, but it doesn’t take long for money to become a problem. To complicate matters, Kathryn had signed up for numerous credit cards when she went away to college. “I show up on college campus at 18 years old and there’s the Capital One booth and they’ll give me a free t-shirt if I fill out this thing and I was like ‘sure, I want a free t-shirt’, you know?” she laughs. Without a savings account and with only Kathryn’s part-time job to sustain them they accrued substantial debt and a credit score that was “embarrassingly low”.
Working for a financial services company was a no-brainer for her after she finished college. Her education degree fit perfectly with her new role at Financial Education Services, teaching people about their finances and credit.
Kathryn found this job after she worked with the company to improve her credit score by 100 points. She and her husband have also been able to save some money and are close to being able to buy a house for themselves and their two boys, Isaiah and Joel. “I’m really passionate about it. It’s been really fun to work with this company and be able to help others, because it has been crappy. This economy has hurt a lot of people.”
Speaking of children, Kathryn’s sons are two and four and according to her… “both boys are totally nuts. They are crazy. They are absolutely crazy!” The stories she told me seem to back up that statement, including the time Joel accidentally stabbed her in the cornea while trying to tickle her.
Kathryn had to get to her small bible group meeting, so as we finished up our drinks I asked her a few more questions, like tips on how to improve credit scores. Here are two:
- make sure it’s actually your own information (sometimes similar names get confused)
- you can dispute late payments. they have 30 days to prove you actually paid late and if they don’t/can’t, they have to take that off your score
As we gathered our things and headed for the door, Kathryn told me, “My life is nowhere near how I had imagined it would be and I wouldn’t change anything about it.”
Do it. Sign-up for coffee with me. I’ll even buy. Crazy, right?
(P.S. #48 is correct. I wrote #47 prematurely because Mike had an event he wanted me to write about. If you would like to read about him, here you go.)