From $42,000 owing, to debt free in 5 years
June 1st, 2015
In 2008, Robert Taylor had to face reality, and deal with his debt load of $42,273.50. Two years before this realization, Taylor and his family were struggling to make payments.
“It was during those two years that we basically couldn’t afford to live,” said Taylor.
His debt was spread among quite a few payments including credit cards, multiple loans, and Alberta Health Services bills. Taylor had to take on a night-job, which allowed him to stay home with his daughter during the days, until she was in school fulltime.
The job, although great for childcare costs, significantly cut the families income. “Things got out of control and I wasn’t able to look after it anymore. I wasn’t able to pay them back,” said Taylor, speaking about his creditors.
“I wasn’t out buying jewelry, quads and stuff like that, I was using my cards to pay bills and buy food.” Taylor did what he had to do to take care of his family, and the next step on that list was to clear their lives of the stress this debt was causing.
TIME FOR A CHANGE
That’s when Taylor heard about Money Mentors, and went in for a meeting with one of the financial counsellors. Although it might have been easier to declare bankruptcy, Taylor chose the tough path and decided to pay every cent back.
“I owe these people money, it wasn’t their fault that I was in the mess I was in,” said Taylor. He signed on for the Orderly Payment of Debts (OPD) program, and consolidated all of his debt owed into one monthly payment with an interest rate of 5%.
When asked what the best part of this program was for him personally, Taylor responded with a simple answer: “It was nice that the phone stopped ringing.”
Taylor admitted that he was receiving at least 10 phone calls a day, every single day, from creditors. Money Mentors took care of those phone calls, and dealt with all conversations directly.
Within 5 years, Taylor had all $42,273.50 of debt paid off. He now has a new job that pays well, and allows him and his family to live a more comfortable life.
Taylor now has a savings account, an RRSP that his work helps him to contribute to, and one credit card that he has never paid interest on. “I monitor my credit regularly and I keep my credit card balance at $0 each month,” said Taylor.
FAMILY FRIENDLY FINANCES
Taylor also passes financial literacy onto his children, including putting 10% of every paycheque or gifted money into their savings. “It’s a habit now, which I didn’t have when I was their age. Now for them, it won’t be such a big deal when they get older,” said Taylor.
“I find it’s easier to save, once your savings gets up to a certain point, once the balance starts to grow.”
Taylor explains that he has spoken to some friends about reaching out for financial help. He now has a relaxed economic life, with the financial literacy to back it up. “I live within my means. I don’t have an RV or a ski doo, simply because I don’t need one,” said Taylor.
His one tip: Don’t get credit cards.
Taylor finds ways to save money on essential household items these days, and has learned the responsible use of a credit card.
“You don’t need five credit cards, there is no use for that. You have to work at it.”
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