From a 20-Something Girl Dealing with $25,000 of Debt, to a 30-Something World Traveller

August 1st, 2015


Imagine being in your 20’s and having $25,000 debt on credit cards and a line of credit. It happens more than it should, and this time it was happening to Carolyn O.

Realizing you have debt is often something that takes time to acknowledge. For Carolyn, it was time to take back her life and enjoy the things she loved again.

When Carolyn turned 18, she received her first student credit card. She was always diligent in paying back the full amount each month, until she started to accumulate small bills which snowballed into a giant blunder.

Carolyn admitted that most of her overspending was triggered by emotions. “Going and eating out, or buying a new sweater doesn’t make you feel good,” said Carolyn.

“Around the age of 23, my limit had been increased to $5000,” said Carolyn. “Then I had a phone call from the bank who offered me a line of credit.”

BANKING NIGHTMARES

Originally Carolyn said no to the line of credit, assuming it would be a bad decision. However, her bank pressed on and insisted this would be good emergency savings. The line of credit they had offered Carolyn held a $25,000 limit.

“He had a very convincing argument at the time, and because I had very little financial knowledge and already felt quite nervous around my banking abilities I said yes,” said Carolyn.

Eventually realizing the interest rate on her line of credit was lower than her credit card, Carolyn transferred the credit card debt over. Before she knew it, she had suddenly racked up $25,000 of debt and didn’t know what to do.

“At the peak, I think my minimum payments were around $700 a month,” said Carolyn. “It was keeping me from doing so much in my life, I mean that was almost like a rent cheque.”

WHY MONEY MENTORS

“I remember being sick to my stomach when I opened up my mail,” said Carolyn. “You have a fear and anxiety looking at your bank account and realizing what you’ve gotten yourself into.”

Carolyn explained that she chose Money Mentors for the confidentiality. She felt lost, and didn’t want to share her financial difficulties with her relatives.

“I realized I could get third party advice from the company without having to feel like anyone was trying to sell me more banking products. I felt I could get a fresh perspective on what my situation was and how I could rectify it,” said Carolyn.

Carolyn spoke to one of Money Mentors financial counsellors about her financial situation and they broke things down into a reasonable budget allowing her to move forward on her own.

“It made me feel that all wasn’t lost. That there was a light at the end of the tunnel. It made all of the difference in the world to starting my journey,” said Carolyn.

Money Mentors Credit Counselling helps to review your income, expenses, assets and debts to help you determine your needs and discuss all of your options with you.

“It was really beneficial. When you take someone who is so lost with any type of financial literacy, giving them someone to talk to with no judgement means a lot,” said Carolyn. “Money Mentors was a great solution for that.”

HAPPILY EVER AFTER

In 30 months, Carolyn became debt free. “I respect money so much more than I ever would have not going through this,” said Carolyn.

Currently saving money for retirement and a yearlong trip around the world, she thinks back on what helped motivate her through this journey.

“You go from this place in your life where you think you don’t have enough money and you’re just over drafting all the time, to learning how much things cost and how much you should expect to live off of,” said Carolyn.

“I used to dream of what my life would look like back when I was in debt and it seemed like such a crazy pipe dream. Now that I know it’s more than achievable, I’m living it.”

Her advice for anyone going through a similar situation? Keep moving forward. She urges people to understand that they will eventually get to their destination.

Carolyn also shared her favorite quote: “If you continue down your current path, you’re bound to get where you’re headed”.

There are many options when it comes to financial difficulties and Money Mentors encourages anyone who is curious to come for free counselling or money coaching.

“The one thing that pushed me to be very serious about my debt repayment was that I wasn’t going to be in my 20s forever, I was going to be a little old lady. I was essentially robbing myself of a future,” said Carolyn.

“I’ve learned a lot about my ability to be patient and how to withhold desires to do things.”

Money Mentors would like to congratulate Carolyn on being debt free and having the courage to share her story with us.

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