If you were to look back at where you were just 5 short years ago, what would you see?
For past Money Mentors client Chris, he was struggling to manage $47,000 of consumer debt combined with a whole lot of stress.
Today Chris lives his life debt free, thanks to Kathy from the Money Mentors counselling team.
After several missed monthly payments and building a large amount of debt over a 6 year period, Chris realised it was time to seek help. He explained how large his payments had become each month, and said it was time to make a change.
“I kind of realised it was only going in one direction, and that it wouldn’t end well unless I did something about it.”
Chris had obtained a considerable amount of credit card debt, combined with other types of loans. He said that the debt had accrued through a collection of bad habits.
“We took some vacations that we shouldn’t have taken,” said Chris. “And the banks had a habit of increasing my credit limit. A $3000 limit turned into a $15,000 limit without me even asking.”
After a certain point, the interest rates sky-rocketed, and Chris was only able to cover the minimum payments.
“After I had paid my mortgage and utilities each month, I barely had enough to cover the rest. The interest alone had reached $2000 per month,” said Chris.
“Towards the end, certain minimum payments got missed, and then the phone started ringing.”
Chris found Money Mentors and called to set up an appointment where he met his credit counsellor, Kathy. The two decided that the best course of action for Chris would be Money Mentors’ government accredited Orderly Payment of Debts (OPD) program.
“We went over everything. We laid out the options. She gave me some very good advice that may not have felt natural, but I put my faith in her,” said Chris. “Kathy advised me to make extra payments as I could.”
Which is exactly what he did. Whenever Chris had a surplus of even $50, he would login to the website and make the extra payment. His favourite part of the OPD program was having the ability to go online and see the numbers decrease each month.
“It was great motivation,” said Chris. “There were months when I paid large amounts and there were months where I just paid the minimum.”
Over the 5 years Chris was on the program, he visited Money Mentors every 6 months to connect with his debt counsellor Kathy who helped him stay focused on his goals, remember his “why” and keep on track with debt repayment.
“So many things can change in that time,” said Chris, who went through two career changes, a new vehicle, and a marriage while on the OPD program. “My credit counsellor was able to help me figure out those things financially.”
After making his last payment, Chris felt relief to be debt free.
“I didn’t want to go through a consumer proposal or bankruptcy. I wanted to pay off the debt,” said Chris.
“And it was a huge weight off my shoulders, followed by a “now what do I do?” he joked.
Keeping in line with his new financial goals and management, Chris makes the same payments he used to put towards debt, into savings. Amongst saving up to purchase a new home and rebuilding his credit, Chris is looking forward to living his life debt-free.
His advice to others going through the same struggle with debt?
“Talking to someone at Money Mentors isn’t as bad as talking to someone at a collections agency,” said Chris.
“It’s free, and there is no pressure. My counsellor told me this is how you pay off your debt without Money Mentors, and this is how you do it with Money Mentors. The decision was left up to me.”
Chris also suggested that if you are unsure about making the commitment, to first check out one of the free Financial Fitness classes that Money Mentors offers.
“You can go anonymously, and first gauge whether the organisation will be right for you,” said Chris. “Bottom line is that it’s free advice.”
The fact that Chris managed to pay off all his debt is incredibly inspiring, but it’s only part of the story. By working closely with a Money Mentors counsellor, Chris managed to develop an entirely new relationship with money.
After he became debt free, Chris didn’t resort to his old ways of spending. He decided to keep making the same payments, but this time, into his own savings account. That’s what success really looks like for Money Mentors. To be sure, let’s get that debt paid off! But it’s not all about the numbers. As a non-profit, we are focused on people. Whether you go through the OPD program or not, our counsellors will always be here to provide you with free, unbiased financial advice.
With Money Mentors, you are not a number, or a prospect, or a lead. You are a person, with your own unique set of circumstances. Our job is to listen, to understand, and to help. If you have any questions at all, please pick up the phone and give us a call at +1 888-294-0076
Thanks for reading.
Money Mentors would like to thank Chris for sharing his story. Congratulations on becoming debt-free!
If you would like to share your story, please contact our Marketing Manager.