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Have you ever climbed a hill that was just too big?
After years of struggling with depression, addiction, poor health and short-term disability, Robert faced an even harder obstacle: debt.
“When I suffered a heart attack and injury at work, I started relying heavily on my credit cards,” he explained. “And then I fell deeper into depression and addiction. Once I eventually overcame my drug and gambling addictions, I realized just how much debt I’d accumulated over the years. There was no way I could do it alone.”
Luckily, Robert’s mother worked for Catholic Family Services, a local non-profit that has referred its clients to Money Mentors before. Aware of how Money Mentors helps Albertans struggling financially, she recommended us to her son.
“From the very start, Money Mentors didn’t judge me,” Robert reflected. “My counsellor, Willem, validated my feelings, my experiences and my financial situation. He made me feel really safe and understood. I finally felt hopeful.”
What Robert loved most about the Orderly Payment of Debts (OPD) program was that he didn’t miss out on life while paying off his debts. Willem showed him that by budgeting properly, he could still go out and enjoy time with family and friends.
Eight months before the program’s end date, Robert managed to pay off his remaining debts. However, despite his amazing triumph, Robert was left with another emotion that took him by surprise.
“Finishing my program with Money Mentors gave me anxiety,” he shared. “After so many years of monthly debt payments, I all of a sudden had $700 a month for myself again. I didn’t know what I was going to do with that money, nervous I’d slip into my old ways.”
Thankfully, Willem helped Robert learn how to navigate life post-OPD program. He encouraged Robert to find something else to focus his attention on, to start saving for more financial goals. And Robert has done just that. Over the past eight months, he has managed to save up enough money for a down payment on a new house―an incredible feat that he never once thought was possible!
“I currently have more money in my bank account than I’ve ever had in my life!” Robert said happily. “It’s eye-opening, too, thinking how easy it would be to lose all that again if Money Mentors hadn’t helped me build a solid budget and develop strong personal finance skills.”
Looking back on his time with Money Mentors, Robert’s biggest takeaway was learning how to budget and understanding how credit works. Having lived paycheque to paycheque from age 16, Robert never knew the importance of paying himself first until now. Thanks to Willem’s ongoing support and our free online courses and resources, Robert has been able to slowly rebuild his credit by paying off his monthly balances, as well as understand his financial limits.
So, what would Robert say to someone else going through similar financial struggles as he did?
“Live within your means! Have financial goals in mind and save. Don’t rely on your credit cards. And please, don’t be afraid to ask for help. I used to be so embarrassed about my debt and my other problems, but I’m not anymore. I’m thankful that I realized the hill in front of me was far too big to do it alone. I can’t believe how far I’ve come and where I’m headed. Thank you, Money Mentors!”
Money Mentors would like to thank Robert for sharing his story. Congratulations on becoming debt-free!
If you would like to share your story, please contact our Marketing Manager.