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Author: Karen Haywood Queen

Karen Haywood Queen

I still remember the embarrassment. It was 1983 and I was working as a cub reporter fresh out of the University of North Carolina and making little more than minimum wage. First I needed $170 — my weekly salary — in dental work. Next, I needed new tires for $175. I had no savings and no options. I charmed (OK I cried too) the dentist and the tire company into allowing me to pay $25 a week until I paid off my debts. There had to be a better way. I built my credit history and got my first credit card, a Visa, on Jan. 9, 1987. Since then, I have covered business and government for The Salisbury (North Carolina) Post and gone undercover as a teenage cruiser and underage drinker. I then moved to The Associated Press in Richmond, Virginia, where I covered business, state lawmakers and a prison riot (not so different from the state Legislature). Now I’m the boss of myself. In addition to CreditCards.com, my work has appeared in AARP Bulletin, Bankrate.com, Better Homes and Gardens, Credit Union National Association magazines, Forbes.com and many other publications. I also teach piano and play in a jazz quintet. I live in Williamsburg, Virginia, with my husband and two nearly adult kids.