Recovering from alcohol or drug addiction is one of the most outstanding accomplishments a person can ever make. Once you finish drug rehab, life becomes better and better every day. In many ways, recovery from drug and alcohol addiction is like improving your financial status, meaning, it takes time and effort, and in the end, we know the payoff is huge! Life in recovery is rich.
However, learning to manage your money clean and sober requires patience, it is like the twelve steps, one step at a time. The good news is that once a person is in recovery their potential to make a decent paycheck, save their money and even become wealthy does happen.
There are many successful recovering addicts who ended their addictions and have become very wealthy. The Chronicle Herald reports that “Joe Roberts, known as the Skid Row CEO, went from living under a bridge as a heroin addict in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside in 1989 to becoming a Canadian millionaire before he turned 35” (The Chronicle Herald). What was Roberts secret? He got clean and sober.
Recovering Your Finances After Rehab
Whether your goal is to become rich, pay your bills on time, or to make enough to put some away into savings and buy a new car, the process to achieving those desires begins with steps, however only three, not twelve. Like step one in recovery, asses your financial status and recognize where you need help and how and where your finances are unmanageable.
Step one: Get a credit report. These days credit reports are free through most banks that you have an account with and there are many providers who offer free reports. You can get a free report every 12 months from each of the three major credit bureaus:
Once you have your credit report check them for mistakes. The most common mistake for people who are starting over is that they do not study their credit reports. The types of errors that are typical include payments marked late when you paid on time or negative information that’s too old to be listed. After seven years, most negative items will simply not be listed any longer. Yet, realize that the seven-year mark does not erase the actual debt, it still needs to get paid back but it is unlikely it will be listed on your credit report.
Step two: Dispute the mistakes and begin having them removed. Doing this will undoubtedly improve your financial status. Wrong information in your credit reports can cause your credit scores to be lower than they should be. To dispute credit report errors, thoroughly check your credit reports, then gather evidence that there are errors that you can dispute and file a dispute. Fixing errors will save you money and improve your credit score. FYI, by law credit bureaus must respond to disputes within 30 business days.
Rebuilding Your Life From Addiction
Another issue that recovering addicts and alcoholics often see with their credit reports is that debt has gone into collections. Having any type of bill or account in collections is a big deal and will reflect negatively on your credit report for seven years. Address any collection debts immediately. Note these items before you begin paying off collectors:
- Verify that the collection agency owns the debt and the amount owed is roughly the same. Collectors do include fees so ask what they are and how they can be lowered.
- Paid-off collections factor into some credit score agencies immediately. Like, FICO 8 credit scores, the ones most widely used in lending decisions.
- Make an agreement to pay off the collection monthly, this will also remove any further fees or eliminate the possibility of further legal action.
Step three: Start saving, even small amounts add up. A common complaint newly recovering addicts and alcoholics make is that in their addiction they lost control of their spending and lost all their money. Granted it was the addiction making all decisions, versus the person underneath. The good news for recovering addicts is that spending hundreds a day on things one can’t afford is insane and they no longer do that. This is the opportunity for opening a savings account and watching it grow.
The best banks to approach for a second chance savings account or for any type of account for someone who has less than average credit or financial history are actually the major ones. Smaller banks that are less known often take advantage of people with less financial means and or bad credit. Consider these major banks as a place to start. Make sure to explain that you are rebuilding your financial history and ask for help on how to take the right steps!
- Wells Fargo
- Bank of America
- Chase Bank
If you or a loved one are still struggling with addiction, reach out to our specialists around the clock for a confidential assessment.