"I thought I couldn't be one of those people who gets caught up in credit card debt. It turns out I can."
Goals Put on Hold
Credit card debt is shrouded in stigma that prevents many people from seeking the support they need.
That was the case for Jason Rabalais, a support supervisor at MMI since 2010. Even as Jason counseled people on debt recovery, supplementing his own income with credit cards happened slowly and all at once. Before he knew it, he had a personal financial crisis on his hands. He amassed $30,000 in credit card debt spread out across multiple credit companies.
The consequences were severe. In addition to putting his family's financial plans on hold, the debt negatively impacted his health and well-being, causing significant anxiety that prompted him to make a change once and for all.
Getting Started and Getting Stuck
Jason and his wife purchased an affordable starter home shortly before he joined MMI. "We planned to sell our home and upgrade to a bigger house within five years," Jason explains.
Those plans came to a halt when creeping credit card debt left them stuck. As a result, their family grew while their house remained the same size. Jason recalls, "We planned to be out in five years, but credit card debt made that impossible. We stayed in a house that was way too small for my wife and I with our two kids and dog."
Payday was especially challenging. After covering essential expenses, including their mortgage payment, insurance premiums, and food, the rest of their paycheck had to be divided among numerous credit card companies.
“By the time I was done juggling credit card payments, the next pay cycle would begin,” Jason remembers, “The stress of picking and choosing who I can pay was unparalleled.”
Jason relied on a spreadsheet to keep track of their household debt, and the ultimate outcome of their financial circumstances became clear. “The credit card balances aren’t going down, and I’m going to be doing this for the rest of my life,” Jason recalls.
As difficult as it was to live in cramped quarters while trying to keep up with mounting credit card payments, a routine car repair became the impetus for change.
“We had to make car repairs, so I applied for a Firestone credit card,” Jason notes, “When they ran my credit check, I qualified for just enough to cover the repair cost. I was surprised by how little credit I could get. I went to my other credit card companies, and no one would extend my credit further.”
Jason was overloaded with credit card debt, and companies were increasingly less willing to extend credit lines.
Ultimately, Jason had to spread out the cost of the repairs over three credit cards. It was a wake-up call that prompted a search for support. Jason laments, “I realized we were in trouble, and we were never going to get out of this. We made minimum payments, but those payments continued to increase while our income remained unchanged.”
Reflecting on this moment, Jason recalls, “We absolutely needed help. We could not do this by ourselves.”
As a support supervisor at MMI, Jason knew exactly where to turn. He enlisted MMI’s credit counseling services to develop a personalized debt reduction plan.
Most importantly, by turning to MMI, he was finally able to start moving forward. Describing the process, Jason says, “Before joining MMI, I was seeing very little progress in my debt reduction goals. When we go into MMI, the credit cards close and limit fees stop.”
Jason started by identifying his past due amounts, paying those obligations first before settling into a fixed credit card payment each month. Even though Jason was paying the equivalent of a brand new car payment towards his credit debt each month, the relief was palpable.
“I knew what to expect each month. I wasn’t juggling payments. Instead, I had a fixed amount that I paid each month, and I knew I was going to make progress.”
The results were worth the monthly expense. “Every payment I made was one less payment I would have to make down the road. The feeling of having set everything down is unparalleled, and I experienced such a sense of relief. Finally, I could stop focusing on my credit card debt and give my attention to other things,” he explains.
While seeking support was difficult at first, finding help has been worth the risk. Today, Jason and his family are not hurting for space. They’ve sold their starter home, moving into an affordable but more spacious home that perfectly suits their needs.
Now more than six years past their battle with credit card debt, they understand that credit card debt can happen to anyone. They also know that freedom is possible, and it feels better than they ever could have imagined.
Jason is a real client. His success is a result of hard work and dedication. Similar results are not guaranteed.