I’d like to write something fun and uplifting for you, like I could tell you about that time when our horse that we thought was getting really fat and bloated was really pregnant and then it gave birth to a horse and we all felt really stupid. Yeah, that would be a great story to tell, but right now I need to be responsible to my audience and educate them once again on the dangers of shortcuts.
Back in 2001-2002 I had a contracting job that paid $35 an hour. I was excited about my seemingly immense wages and when you considered that sometimes I worked 70 hours a week then yes, I was making serious TAX FREE bank. The problem was that it wasn’t tax free. Nope. Nothing is ever tax free and if you remember that at a young age then you will save yourself a lot of time, money, and heartache.
I didn’t have a clue about contract jobs, 1099’s, or paying taxes quarterly to the government so they wouldn’t penalize you at the end of the year when you let them know you were self-employed. Apparently, there is this world of people that know all about this stuff, but they never share it. It’s like the people that know these things assume that everyone else knows them as well, but hey, we don’t and that is why blogging is good because it allows you to educate people about the unknown. Like one unknown is that I have a mole on my butt and so I always worry about people seeing it when I shower at the gym. I should be more concerned about people checking out my bum period, but nope, I’m vain and I worry about that mole. Other than that my bum is near perfection.
So back to my story…
So that year went by and I was making all this cash and not paying taxes and when tax time rolled around I owed 8 grand in back taxes. The next year I added another 4 grand to that and so I owed the IRS 12,000 dollars. This is the same price as a new Hyundai for my sixteen year old daughter. The interest rate with penalties from the IRS makes any credit card interest rate look like a blessing, a gift even. 21% interest rate plus a $140 yearly penalty, plus a monthly payment fee added up to me making payments that just barely covered the interest.
Two years of payments and no tax returns I saw an AD for J&K Harris and Associates saying that they could get your tax owed reduced by thousands! I was intrigued and then later I thought I would give it a try. I went and spoke with a counselor who was awesome and he sold me on this 1 year deal for 100 bucks a month and at the end of 12 months they wouldn’t repair my taxes, but they would repair my credit. Huh? It was a bait and switch scenario that I totally fell for. The guy looked at my taxes, saw my payment plan and told me that they couldn’t do anything better than what I was already doing, but…”Hey, we can repair your credit for 1,200″.
So this was something else that needed fixing in my life and I wanted to get it fixed in a hurry and so I spent 700 dollars and 7 months trying to work with a counselor named Holly who never called me back and when she did she had made little-to-no progress on my account. Eventually I sent a letter in writing to take me out of the program. They did and I was out 700 dollars. Unfortunately, I didn’t learn my lesson and I spent another $300 when Texas Lending told me to use Preferred Credit Corporation to remove a few other negative items on my report.
So here it is 5 years later and now I have the IRS paid back and the items on my credit report paid off but I couldn’t have done it without the help of my dad and mom. They loaned me the money to pay the bills and then I paid them back. It was a hard and long process and I still owe them for some, but I am almost completely out of bad debt from mistakes I made when I was in my early twenties. This was a hard lesson learned, but I finally learned it.
The reason I had to write this post is because I keep seeing commercials for J&K Harris or JK Harris and Associates and I want to warn people to STAY AWAY from them. Stay away from JK Harris and Texas Lending. If you are having credit problems or financial problems don’t stay in the cycle by paying higher interest rates on home loans or credit cards, instead, be patient, pay bills off, and years down the road you will have saved thousands.
Updated: I just Googled JK Harris and found this:
Wow, before I buy anything I am always going to Google for more information first. It seems that everyone who uses JK Harris has problems with them. It’s too bad that people are getting suckered in by them every day.