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Subject:  Re: Balance Transfers - A Silver Bullet? Date:  7/16/2003  4:02 PM
Author:  rah1420 Number:  164837 of 312155

The question that's left in my mind after reading your well written and thought provoking post is... why can't you? Get to the next level, I mean.

Well, first of all it's only been a year or so since I truly have been Foolish, although my membership is 2 1/2 years old. (Gee, has it been that long already?) I'm not sure how long qualitative changes in a financial picture will take to be reflected in a FICO -- there's that pesky "double secret formula" again.

We scrambled back from the brink of bankruptcy in the late '80s -- if we had taken a FICO pulse back then, it would have been in the low sevens. Not seven hundreds, sevens. :-{) Since then we've been blessed and we've worked our fannies off.

The second thing to consider is that I have a number of bananas already. I am not saying this to be bragging, just telling the facts... I live in what some people call a McMansion. Between me and my wife, we make more money than most people could dream about. Two of our children are in parochial school. I have four cell phones and three landlines. I have a freaking cleaning service come in twice a month.

(These are conscious lifestyle choices that we made, and we're living with them, so I'll thank people not to comment on them.) However, they also have slowed down my acquisition of FICO bananas.

So bananas qua bananas are not my problem.

We are also close enough, with the refi of our house (which, no, has not happened yet, but I'm baking the loan a birthday cake) that we will be CATAPULTED into major debt reduction mode. (Fully 50 percent of our consumer debt will be nuked 3 days after settlement. Converted to secured debt, that is.)

I'm somewhere around 10 years away from kicking the kids out, shutting the doors and selling the place, and going to find a condo to live in at the Jersey shore. I assume that housing prices ain't going to go down; the market on this place is half a million now and it's going up about 10% per year. We also don't plan on refinancing any more (thank $DEITY, we locked a while ago) and when I'm done with the consumer debt I'm going to start pouring our disposable income into retirement investments and principal reduction.

So, in a nutshell, I couldn't give a toss about the FICO score any more. It will only go up now. I work for a great company. I started a short while ago as a senior analyst and have great promise here. My wife just got a huge promotion and will probably be an AVP within a year, with options and a company car and all that Good Stuff.

The BT drumbeats only bother me from an academic point of view, the fact that people view balance transfers as the ultimate deus ex machina to get ahead of the interest rate game. Sometimes a BT won't work.

Trust me, nothing would give me more satisfaction than writing a check for $7 large to shut MBNA up once and for all. But that ain't gonna happen -- I have to do it by paying off a little at a time. I liken it to firing the electronic payment and hearing the Wicked Witch going "I'm melting...! I'm melting...!" There's a certain grim satisfaction in doing it this way, even though yes, I'm still paying them rent on their money. That part is the most galling of all.

This went on far too long. I'm travelling to Chicago tomorrow, and have to pull together some PowerPoint before I go. So there's my answer for you in a not-so-small nutshell.


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