Taz Bright helms this series. Taz is a father, speaker, long-time business owner and graduate of the school of hard-knocks. Taz uses his past business and personal finance experience to help steer others in a positive financial direction while, hopefully, avoiding the mistakes he’s made along the way. As a former 6-year victim of Identity Theft, Taz shares unique lessons learned while trying to regain his financial footing. Taz is a member of Toastmasters International, a martial artist, former bodyguard and a CrossFit athlete. As the owner of Bright Balance Ministries, Taz’s goal is to help as many people as possible reach long-term, solid financial stability.
Today I’m not only continuing with the story of how I worked odd jobs in order to stay current on child support payments, I’m also going to share with you a certain non-frugal mistake, made in the past, that has proven to cause me a lot of grief later.
There was a period in my life where I was conducting secret shops and also working at a labor hall at the same time. I’d get a check each day at the end of my shift. I’d cash the 60-80 dollar check, drive from my place in Pasadena, TX to Liberty, TX and put a bit of cash in my ex-wife’s hand. I did this because if I sent the money to the child support office it would take a lot longer for my ex to get the money and there were things my son needed right away. I’m sure you parents out there can relate. After giving my ex the in-person payment I’d fill my gas tank and eat off of what was left.
Did you catch the mistake? Here it is again: cash in my ex-wife’s hand. Ya see, at the time of my divorce my ex-wife and I were the happiest divorced couple I ever knew. We got along, talked, didn’t argue and even made each other laugh. I had heard of the horror stories but enjoyed not being one of them…yet.
Time went on and sure enough things changed. We became one of the horror stories you hear so much about and then I was hit with something I had heard of, but never imagined would happen to me. I started getting letters from the Attorney General’s office. They wanted to know when I’d be sending a payment. I explained the situation to the person on the other end of the phone but they were less than sympathetic.
I had made a huge mistake by assuming cash payments directly to my ex-were okay. And now that she considered me less than a friend, I was always in danger of her choosing to go to the State and have them enforce payments. This is one of those times where I felt more than a little stupid.
Obviously, this was not a frugal decision. Just as with loans, back child support comes with a not-so-friendly attachment called interest! Great, now I have to play catch up!
This is not a situation any of us want to be buried in. Just as purchasing a bigger home than one needs, using your credit card for a massive shopping spree or keeping up with the Jones’ can result in a dark, financial cloud hanging over one’s head, haunting you and suffocating your financial plans for the future, so can making poor decisions regarding child support payments.
My advice to anyone that is paying child support is to send every single penny through your state’s Child Support office. It’s the wiser, frugal decision because it will help avoid interest and your possible future arrest due to falling behind despite your best intentions.
In the next edition of the ‘Deadbeat’ Dad Chronicles I’ll share one of life’s unforeseen events that didn’t exactly help the situation at all.