Keeping your name out of the paper

This week the City of Danville published the names, addresses, and amounts owed of everyone in town with delinquent real estate taxes. Instead of joining in with the many voices who say that these people deserve public shame and embarrassment, I’d like to approach it differently. We should all exercise at least a modicum of compassion before passing judgment on people who we don’t know anything else about except that their taxes are past due. I seriously doubt that the majority of real persons on that list intentionally decided to not pay their taxes, though a few may have. Most people have good intentions when it comes to paying their bills, and in general just living their lives. For these people perhaps one thing lead to another and the tax bill simply got put off repeatedly until it was just too overwhelming to deal with. This is the case with so many otherwise good people who don’t have a good spending plan or budget to make sure all their bills get paid on time.

Here’s a simple tip to keep your name from appearing in the paper. Start a special savings account for the sole purpose of paying taxes. You know how many times you get paid between now and when the tax bill comes in. Figure out how much you need to save every payday in order to have the money available when you need it. Direct Deposits and Payroll Deposits can be setup to automatically send a portion of your paycheck to this special savings account so that when the bill comes at the end of the year, the money will be there to pay it. The same account could be used to save up to pay for homeowners insurance, school tuition, or anything that you only pay once or twice per year.

Another option is to take out a loan to pay taxes. That’s probably a good option if your name is already on the list! Either way you go, loan or savings, take the time to sit down and map out proactively how you plan to spend your money in the coming months. Then stick to your plan!

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3 Responses to Keeping your name out of the paper

  1. Jim Bruene says:

    What a great way to write about budgeting! I continue to be impressed with your posts…keep up the great work.

  2. I was just talking about doing this with a coworker today! As a coop, shouldn’t every [member] be able to see how it is performing? What if, as a condition of membership, a CU posted all of the delinquent loans on their website, who owed money, and how much? That’d be kinda scary, but I wonder what it would do to the dq rate for the CU…

  3. Dan Veasey says:

    Thanks for your comment Robbie!

    I thought about that on the way home last night, and I’m sure our collector, Beverly, has thought about it too. It is scary. I was thinking of publishing them in our newsletter because that only goes to credit union members. I bet it would work at getting accounts paid up, but it would completely destroy any chance of keeping the member’s loyalty when they get things back on track. I’m sure you know that the credit union exists to help members in times of plenty as well as in times of want. So to try and shame them into payment just doesn’t go with our mission or the mission of any true credit union for that matter. (not to mention, I’m sure you know it would open a huge can of privacy law violations!)

    Members can view our financial statements anytime they want to. They’re posted in our lobby and don’t contain and personal information about members but will give an idea of how the credit union is performing financially. They’re online at NCUA too.

    Of course if any credit union member wants to see who is past due they can just volunteer to serve on the Supervisory Committee or the Board of Directors. Those persons have access to that type of information. In fact charge-off loans must first be approved by the board at our credit union. Any they do want a good explanation of why the loan went bad.

    What surprised me about our local naughty list was that our newspaper reported that over the last 20 years the city’s collection rates is 99.97% without publishing names in the paper and that they just want to collect on it faster. I don’t know off hand what our past due collection rate is at Piedmont CU but I doubt that it’s even close to 99.97%!

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