Happiness is a pretty good advertisement

Throughout Financial Literacy Month, the blog will give voice to consumers who have overcome financial challenges. Through their own words, these consumers will tell you about what it was like to be in and repay unmanageable debt. They will also share inspiring words about the many ways their lives have changed as a result of their debt repayment efforts.

While many clients volunteer to share their identities along with their stories, MMI greatly respects clients' need for privacy. In fact, confidentiality is one of the fundamental benefits of our counseling services. Following is a letter from a client in Texas who wants to share her story, but preferred not to be identified by name.

Paying off our credit card debt was a beginning for us. We are close to having everything paid off now (house $4800, car $5400, truck $14000, and 2 loans through our pensions to consolidate the last of the bills). In about 18 months I will be able to retire and go back to school. We are at the stage now to not have to live paycheck to paycheck, and we still help our family (we've bought 4 used cars and multiple computer systems plus an outlay of cash) whenever we can. So getting a handle on the credit card debt was a beginning of a dream for me.

My stress level also came down drastically. I stopped micro-managing everything and just let it fall naturally. The lines between my eyes relaxed as the tension dropped away. A girlfriend of mine was so impressed with how happy and peaceful I was that she asked for your information and made up a debt management plan for herself and her husband. Happiness is pretty good advertisement.

I'd love to pass on this feeling of accomplishment to others. I know how desperate I felt before I found you, and that desperation is gone now. We think you have a good thing going. We liked your approach of giving us control over our own destiny. I think the anonymity of doing it all by fax and over the Internet actually took the embarrassment out of having to ask for help.

Anonymous

Check back often for more stories about real people who have overcome the burden of debt. And don't forget to visit our Financial Literacy Month section for a wealth of information about improving your own financial situation.

Kim McGrigg is the former Manager of Community and Media Relations for MMI.

  • The Consumer Federation of America (CFA) is an association of nonprofit consumer organizations that was established in 1968 to advance the consumer interest through research, advocacy, and education. Today, nearly 300 of these groups participate in the federation and govern it through their representatives on the organization's Board of Directors.
  • The National Council of Higher Education Resources (NCHER) is the nation’s oldest and largest higher education finance trade association. NCHER’s membership includes state, nonprofit, and for-profit higher education service organizations, including lenders, servicers, guaranty agencies, collection agencies, financial literacy providers, and schools, interested and involved in increasing college access and success. It assists its members in shaping policies governing federal and private student loan and state grant programs on behalf of students, parents, borrowers, and families.

  • Since 2007, the Homeownership Preservation Foundation (HPF) has served as a trusted, neutral source of information for more than eight million homeowners. They are partnered with, and endorsed by, numerous major government agencies, including the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Department of the Treasury.

  • The mission of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is to create strong, sustainable, inclusive communities and quality affordable homes for all. HUD works to strengthen the housing market in order to bolster the economy and protect consumers; meet the need for quality affordable rental homes; utilize housing as a platform for improving quality of life; and build inclusive and sustainable communities free from discrimination.

  • The Council on Accreditation (COA) is an international, independent, nonprofit, human service accrediting organization. Their mission is to partner with human service organizations worldwide to improve service delivery outcomes by developing, applying, and promoting accreditation standards.

  • The National Foundation for Credit Counseling® (NFCC®), founded in 1951, is the nation’s largest and longest-serving nonprofit financial counseling organization. The NFCC’s mission is to promote the national agenda for financially responsible behavior, and build capacity for its members to deliver the highest-quality financial education and counseling services.