The following is a guest post by Cole Collins.
Despite the impression you might get from the name of our town, the people living around the area aren’t actually that fond of the unexpected. Tell the truth, most folks used to get the wrong impression as soon as they caught sight of one of the signs heading in and out of town. It used to be a municipal cost nightmare before the police department figured out how to attach cameras to the most likely candidates for mischief and bill the pranksters, but the demand’s outstripped the capacity of our sign makers ever since our mayor’s credit card debt relief problems hit the media wire and exploded all over the internet.
Apart from the Rangers spring training games or the nightmare surrounding the Fed Ex cup two years back, we’re far enough from the interstates that not a whole a bunch of folks had ever had cause to hear of Surprise, Arizona prior to Lynn Truitt’s credit card debt bills climbing so high that our highest elected official was unable to avoid bankruptcy. Of course, the people living in the town were the last to know, even ones that thought of themselves as her friends, and, with what I said before about locals’ views on the unexpected, you can imagine how well that went over.
Bad enough to be stuck paying taxes to support what we thought was going to be an up and coming area of Arizona that’s being painted around the television news programs as some sort of joke, but it’s worse to suddenly see friends and neighbors accused of financial mismanagement as if we all had some sort of credit card debt addiction that had to be taken into consideration before we’d be approved for any future loan. The majority of the men and women who’ve chosen to live in Surprise, Arizona actually hopes that every day will end up pretty much like the last. After all, that’s why we’ve (most of us, anyway) decided to move here in the first place. For me and my wife, coming up from Tempe, we checked around at a number of different possibilities around northern Arizona, wanting to make sure about years before we retired, and, at first we were sincerely worried about the name of the town. Used to know a fellow from Truth And Consequences, New Mexico, and he couldn’t wait to put some distance between himself and the property once the mortgage and the rest of his debts were paid off.
Turns out, that should have been the most important bit of advice, just arranging for debt settlement as soon as we could on our own, since you never know when the bottom might fall out of the real estate market. Maricopa County kept growing (even by Arizona standards), with tons of new developments following the Sun City population explosion, and the Prasada shopping center they’re constructing is supposed to the biggest regional mall in the state. Figuring equity was never going to be a problem we took out one of those debt relief consolidation loans, and that turned out to be a total mistake. Rates keep going up through the roof, and we’re not even sure we could refinance with the current market the way it is. Guess the moral of the story should have been, same as our mayor found out, just never borrow the credit card debt in the first place. Annual interest at twenty percent, you’re bound to have a surprise sooner or later.
Cole Collins is a free lance writer in the field of personal finance with a concentration on consumer debt relief. Click on the link to view more of his articles on debt.