Q&A with Dr. Doug: Good Decisions at a Young Age?

Dr. Doug Hirschhorn
Dr. Doug Hirschhorn

By Dr. Doug Hirschhorn

Question: I'm 24 and own two homes. Actually the first home, I did not buy, I loaned my name and credit to a family member. This was about three years ago. Since this time, I bought my own home, and my credit score was about 780 at the time. Unfortunately, the family's business is going under, thus the home is as well. So far, there is a 60 day delinquency on my report, which severely dropped my high score.

I don't know what to do. Should I do a quick sell? Take out a cash advance to bring up the payments, or just let the house go? I'm very concerned, but will do whatever I need to keep myself out of trouble. I've never been late on anything and this is completely overwhelming for me. Please help with any advice. I need to act ASAP.

- Samantha from San Diego, CA

Response from Dr. Doug:

Hi Samantha,

I think I can offer you some guidance on how to think about your situation.

You stated that you have "never been late on anything and this is completely overwhelming for me."

Feeling this way is completely normal because you sound like a very conservative type person who probably has always stayed within your budget on things.

You like structure, goals and guidelines. Not so much the risk taker but always looking to improve and grow both personally and professionally.

My guess is also that you probably do not like feeling pressure, especially when it is financially driven.

The reason I am laying this out for you is to help you gain some self-awareness about your financial personality profile.

You mentioned concern that your "high" score has dropped severely. This tells me that your self-esteem has been negatively impacted by your economic situation.

Lesson number one is to always remember that you are who you are. Money, houses and financial "scores" will never change that. So keep your chin up and remind yourself that you are still a responsible and accomplished person.

Lesson number two is you made some bad financial decisions. So What? Sometimes smart people do not so smart things. We are all human. No need to judge yourself as it really is not a big deal so long as you take the proactive and necessary steps to correct it. It may be financially painful but trust me, holding onto a losing situation will only get worse with time.

Lesson number three. Have a "build" mentality. What I mean by that is you need to put down short-term, specific goals. Then start to execute them so you can slowly get yourself back on track. It will take time, months or maybe years but that is what building a stable future is all about.

Lesson number four. Always, always maintain a PMA (Positive Mental Attitude). No matter how disappointing, frustrating or upsetting a situation is, you need to dig deep and find the positives. Negativity is the destroyer of dreams but having a PMA is the key ingredient to success.

Thank you for taking the time to share your story with me,

Dr. Doug