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In 2009, Mickey was going through a dark period in his life. Like most Albertans, he was a hard-working man with a full-time job in the oil and gas industry. Due to the nature of his occupation, he would often travel up north for his job. One day, this normal routine was turned upside down ― his wife of 21 years had requested a divorce over the phone. Married for over two decades, he found himself caught in a vulnerable situation and not long after this event, he suffered health issues, forcing him to leave his job.
“That was the last straw that broke the camel’s back for me. Every month it was [robbing Peter to pay Paul]. I was unable to keep up [on payments]and every month I was just getting more behind.”
Reflecting on the bills and credit card statements, he quickly realized he needed to change his daily spending habits. With stress increasing by the moment, he began researching how to get his finances on track. From debt management to bankruptcy, he started weighing his options. Referred by a friend, he called to schedule a free consultation with Money Mentors.
Seeking an alternative to avoid bankruptcy, Mickey met with a Money Mentors credit counsellor to assess his finances. Without realizing his spending habits prior to the meeting, his counsellor worked with him on building a monthly spending plan. He was given $100 every week and that was to last him from Monday to Friday.
“That was probably the best exercise I have ever done, because it made me think if it was a need or a want! When you’re standing in line at a restaurant, you open up your wallet and all that is left is 20 dollars ― it puts things into perspective. I learned to pay myself first and I never used to do that. Now I have $10,000 in savings and that was a lesson from the OPD program!”
The program mentioned by Mickey was in reference to the Orderly Payment of Debts (OPD) program, an established debt consolidation repayment program created by the Government of Alberta, offered exclusively at Money Mentors.
At the beginning of his enrollment into the OPD program, Mickey’s debt balance was over $120,000. On top of repaying his creditors, he was also paying alimony to his former partner and child support. Given five years to repay his debts, Mickey successfully paid off his debt in October 2014, an entire month ahead of his repayment due date.
Since repaying his debts, Mickey was also granted full custody of his son. Years have passed, but he still puts the financial exercises that Money Mentors have provided him into practice, with budgeting help from his new girlfriend.
“She has always been strong financially, always understanding the bigger picture ― that has definitely helped me.”
Regaining his financial freedom and living a debt-free lifestyle, he is currently saving for a family vacation in hopes to tour Ireland and learn about his culture.
Debt and finances can be a sensitive subject to discuss. If you would like to achieve financial goals or have questions about the OPD program, please call 1.888.294.0076or email Client Services at CSRmail@moneymentors.ca to schedule your free credit assessment today!
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