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Debt.com hits the streets with financial questions to see how much people know
There are four lessons we all would’ve been better off learning early.
Our most memorable gotcha moment to date happened during our Halloween edition of Money on the Street in 2017. We asked people to share their debt horror stories. One woman told us her tale of woe with the IRS. She’d been lazy when she was younger about filing her taxes and she said the IRS was threatening to sue. So, she got scared and paid them.
Here’s the thing: The IRS will never sue you!
They don’t have to sue, because unlike other debt collections, they don’t have to go to court to go after your assets. They can garnish wages, place property liens and drain your bank accounts with levies – all without a court order.
Basically, this man on the street respondent got scammed. She was talking to a collector, not the IRS. Lesson learned.
In our first Money on the Street segment, we asked people about the student loan debt crisis in America and the new administration’s plan to solve it. One respondent “goes rogue” and tells us her plan is to “ditch my student loans and eventually I will die.”
We agree with Ms. Money Michelle… wow.
Unfortunately for our respondent, that doesn’t exactly work with student loans. Unlike regular debt collectors, it’s very hard to hide from the federal government. Unless you go completely “off the grid” they know your Social Security number, your address, and anytime you get a job with a paycheck. It’s basically like trying to hide from the IRS. Eventually, they will find you.
And for the record, unlike other debts, federal student loans have no statute of limitations on collection. So, they really can hunt you down until you die. That’s scarier than the IRS horror story.
Sometimes we wonder if people are honest when they respond to Ms. Money Michelle’s man on the street interview questions. Then we get an answer as we got from one woman when asked about her best and worst credit card purchases. Her worst answer isn’t exactly something that someone would make up to share.
“The worst purchase was a pair of handcuffs, that cost $100 from the adult store. They were bedazzled.”
On a high note, she paid them off quickly. Then she apparently put them away. The paying off quickly we agree with, but the putting them away not so much. And our reason isn’t kinky; it’s financially based – if you pay the extra cost of making a purchase on credit, at least use whatever it is!
For New Year’s 2018, we hit the streets to ask people about their New Year’s resolutions. Ms. Money Michelle also asked them what they’d do with $2,500, in honor of Debt.com’s #NewYearNoDebt sweepstakes. We’re pretty sure most people gave us the answers they think we wanted to hear – expect one guy that admitted he’d blow it all on one night of partying.
But one respondent said she’d use it to buy a car. Why? “Because – I don’t know – I got here from Colorado. But I definitely need a new one.”
It kinds of gave us with the impression she was stuck in Miami with no way back to Colorado. High note? At least you spent the winter somewhere nicer! We’re hoping she got home okay.
We spent one whole segment asking people about financial infidelity. But our best story of financial infidelity came on Halloween 2017 as a debt horror story. A woman shared that she started to get collection calls on credit cards she didn’t know about. When she questioned her husband on five years, he confessed his dirty little secret that led to so much hidden debt: fast food.
Much like our current President allegedly does, the guy had a serious fast food addiction. He’d actually taken out secret credit cards to charge his dollar menu purchases. In five years or marriage, he’d run up thousands of dollars that he hadn’t paid off. So, his wife found about because she picked up the phone and encountered a collector demanding payment.
Financial infidelity really shouldn’t be funny, even when it’s rooted in a hilarious reason. Ms. Money Michelle asked after the interview if the woman was still with her husband. Luckily, she was pretty forgiving. But according to everyone from our financial infidelity segment, most people wouldn’t be. This guy is lucky he didn’t find himself alone with his dollar menu purchases.
Hit us up on your favorite social media platform to tell Ms. Money Michelle (who’s also our social media coordinator) your idea. You could see your idea in an upcoming segment, then you can sit back and watch the hilarity ensue.
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