DISCLAIMER: For those taking the time to read this you may be wondering why I am airing my business out there. One reason is that I have nothing to hide (you get what you see). I am just me, trying to do the best I can in life. The second reason is that it helps me in dealing with it to get it off my chest. That beign said;
I received a letter in the mail from the Defense Finance and Accounting Service today. For those that aren’t affiliated with the military, those are the guys that pay us or in this case collect debts owed.
26 June 2007 was my 15 year mark in the Air Force. At that time I had a choice to make. I could retire under the current 50% at my 20 year mark or I could take a career status bonus and retire under a reduced plan at 20. The career status bonus is $30,000 and than you retire at 40% at 20. The one condition is that you sign a contract stating you will stay in until 20.
Well, I took the bonus because at that time I had just went through a divorce and needed that money to pay off some bills as well as find a place to live and buy everything I needed for that. Needless to say, I didn’t plan on leaving the military before my 20 years was up.
Fast forward to today and I get this letter stating I owe the Department of Defense $23,000 and some change. This is apparently a prorated amount due to the remaining time I had until my 20 year mark. At this point I just wanted to curl up in the fetal position and cry, but crying doesn’t work for me, so I went out to smoke and soak it all in. Not only do I have all the bills I am behind on now, but now I have this additional amount I have to pay. When the hell will things get better I ask myself?? Thank God I have an awesome woman that supports me and stands behind me. She is the only thing keeping me going right now because I can’t let her down, not in my mind anyway.
There is a glimpse of light at the end of the tunnel though. I called the number in the letter not only because it said I needed to, but because it said that they wanted to work with me to resolve the matter. I was a bit skeptical as I have tried this with credit card companies and those guys are just assholes. They could care less what is going on in your life. The kicker is, that none of the cards are open.. I closed them all and cut the cards up.
OK, back to the damn the story… The guy that answered the phone was extremely nice. He understood my problem and actually listened. In fact, as I was explaining my situation to him and he cut me off and said, “Sir, I can help.” He said that it sounded like I was in a financial hardship (that’s an understatement). The gentleman went on to say that he could defer the payments for one year. I would still accrue interest (3%), but no payment would be required in that year. If I am able to send something I can, but it’s not required. Or, once money starts coming my way on a regular basis, I can call up at anytime to set-up a payment plan. FINALLY, someone understands. However, I think they do this for everyone because he did say they understand that it’s a huge adjustment leaving the military and it’s not that easy to find a job when you leave, no matter what the terms are.
Remember: What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger. Just take one day at a time and do the best you can each and everyday. That is all anyone can ever ask of you. These are words I live by, so if you ever find yourself down and out, just think back to this posting…. Because the reality of it is that nothing in life is more important than you and those that love you! Everything else will be dealt with in time.