• Personal Finance Basics

Can you tell us a little about yourself?


I am a 50-year-old corporate executive that found herself in financial trouble about 5-6 years ago.


How much debt did you have?

The debt that I was carrying was approximately $46,000.00, give or take a few dollars.


Can you talk a little bit about getting the debt?

This was a situation that kind of crept up on me through a couple of poor decisions and choices that I had made, such as thinking that a credit card I had included the appropriate insurance in case I was ever in a position to not be able to make payments. I found out that that was not the case when I made a claim.


I also made the very poor decision to purchase a brand-new car and allowed myself to be convinced to go with the car dealer’s finance, rather than the finance I had been pre-approved for. I got slammed with all kinds of fees etc. that inflated the monthly repayments.


The car loan repayments ended up being much higher than I had anticipated. For the first year, I was managing it and the repayments on my credit card as well. But I then made a very spontaneous decision to quit my job (that is a long story as to the reasons why that isn’t relevant, so I won’t go into that). When I quit, I was offered some ‘freelance’ contract that would have doubled my income, so I committed to this, only for it to fall through literally on the day I was scheduled to have my first scoping meeting with my clients to start the work they wanted done. That was devastating, and I was left in a precarious situation.


I could support myself for two weeks before I had to find another job. Thankfully one came along; it wasn’t ideal, but it was the right amount of salary for me to get by, so I took it. But, leading up to the start time, I let a few bills start to slip; I then stupidly obtained another credit card to survive.


The new job started and things were O.K., but I was living pay-to-pay. Then, I was unfortunately involved in a car accident that left me injured, needing time off. I had a rather unsympathetic boss at the time, who was not willing to give me the time off that I needed to heal. I came back to work to soon and struggled; fast forward, the result was that I felt I had no choice but to leave that job, to keep my sanity and gain back good health. I did not have another job to go to. I just had to be confident that I could find another job. In the meantime, I lived off credit cards and small personal loans, for a couple of months. Very poor choice to make, I might add.


What did you try to clear the debt before working with us?

I thought I had my debt under control, and I thought by contacting my creditors and explaining my situation, that I might be able to get a deferred payment plan going with each of them. I did initially, but then the repayments needed to start again. Accrued interest on credit cards didn’t stop, so this ended up maxing out the credit cards and I was on a slippery slope to never being able to catch up.


I ended up in quite a slump, feeling totally stuck and I just didn’t know what I was going to do. I kept making excuses with myself about how far down the debt slope I had gone. I kept telling myself that when I get a new job, I will be able to get back on track. I did try and keep communication going with my creditors, but they were becoming increasingly difficult to deal with.


I did a lot of soul searching as I was struggling to find another job. This was back in 2015 and because I am quite specialized in what I do, I was struggling to convince potential employers that my skills were transferrable; so, I was out on a limb. I decided to go for a complete career change. I have a passion for travel so decided that I would pursue a career in the travel industry. I ended up on a third of the salary I was on previously; life just felt like a mess.


Was there a ‘light bulb’ moment? What made you decided you were going to get debt-free?

When I came to the point of total despair and not being able to dig my way out of debt, I felt like I was plummeting further. I just could not carry on like that. I needed to know that I could just put an end to the stress. So, I started looking around for places that could assist me with working through the debt I had got myself into. Before coming across Beyond Debt, I was attempting to work with another ‘debt consolidation’ business. That was probably the biggest mistake I had made to date. Turned out they were making credit enquiries on my behalf for debt consolidation loans, not a debt agreement as discussed.


Then quite by chance I stumbled across Beyond Debt while looking for jobs online; a little Google ad popped up for Beyond Debt. I did a bit of digging around and decided to give them a call. Best decision ever! The lady I spoke to when I called Beyond Debt was so kind and understanding and very respectful. She explained very clearly my options and the process involved. I literally felt the weight lift from my shoulders just from that one conversation.


How did you stay motivated?

Knowing that Beyond Debt was dealing with all of my creditors, and a payment arrangement within my means was being established, I knew that within a few years, I would be debt free. The biggest motivator was knowing that I could pay off the debt and not have to go bankrupt.


What have you learned along the way?

I have learned to really assess my financial health and ensure that my spending is within my means. I have also learned that life happens, and situations arise that can lead us to financial trouble. This does not define who we are as a human being, but rather that situations can escalate when ignored, but there is help at hand, and we should seek the help we need without fear of judgment.


Knowing what you know now, what would you do differently?

I would certainly not rely on credit cards or personal loans unless they had an absolute purpose, and I had the disposable income to cover repayments.


The job thing can be tricky; but having the confidence to actively look for better employment rather than suffering through something I hate until I was pushed to the edge and then making impulsive decisions based on emotions would be a better option.


What advice would you give to people with debt who don’t see a way of getting debt-free?

My advice would be to not bury your head in the sand on this. I know from experience that this is what we do. We just hope that somehow it will go away, or that something or someone will come along to fix it. Debt can escalate quickly, even if we are making regular payments, the creditors don’t stop applying interest and so on. By working with professionals like Beyond Debt, whom have the capacity to pretty much make the creditors leave you alone, it will be the best and most freeing decision you can make.


Trust me, there is light at the end of the tunnel. These guys, Beyond Debt, are on your side and they will make you feel empowered to tackle your debt, because they are developing a plan for you to move towards being debt-free.


Now that you’re debt-free, is there anything you’re going to do now that you couldn’t do before due to debt?

Well, I got used to the monthly repayments going out of my account for the past 5 years, and I have learned to live without that amount of money. I have decided that I am going to put that same amount in an interest-bearing savings account each month. I know that I can do it. I survived perfectly well without it, so I will continue to do so, but watch my savings grow.


Do you have any final words of wisdom for the readers?

Just know that there are people out there who have gone through what you are going through now; we survived it, we worked out a plan with Beyond Debt and every single month we made progressive steps towards being debt-free.


I completely understand the feelings and emotions that come with being in debt. The feelings of shame, despair and overwhelm are all very real and valid. Just know that Beyond Debt are extremely respectful of a person’s situation, they are compassionate and genuinely want to help you. There is no judgment at all. So, if you are in a situation financially that seems like there is no way out, I urge you to give Beyond Debt a call. It will be the best decision you make in this regard.

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