Margaret's giving heart gives her debt problems

Client Profile: Margaret K.

When compassion and altruism lead to debt.

Margaret found fulfillment playing a modern day “Mother Theresa” – helping people made her feel good herself. From assisting someone set up a home and helping another buy a used car, to charging a coat for a friend so she wouldn’t be cold, Margaret used her eight credit cards to make sure family and friends had everything they needed. They promised to pay her back, but rarely did. Stuck with the close to $8,000 credit card debt, Margaret enlisted the help of Consolidated Credit to pay down the bills.

“Two years ago, I had problems with debt, trying to help everybody else out and I got stuck with the bills. You know how they say they will pay you back and then they never do,” she says. “I had credit cards here and there with a little bit on each. I helped one set up a house. I helped another get a used automobile – small things that add up. They attempted to pay me a couple bucks here and there but it was never what we agreed upon.”

As a result, one of her friendships grew cold…

“My friend needed a coat, she needed this and that so I charged it for her. I said okay, I won’t let a friend go without a coat. We paid the first $100 and then we kept on adding other items. She was a good friend for a number of years but the friendship is now ruined,” she recounts. “It hurts when they promise to pay you back and you know they’re working but they don’t even make an attempt – that’s the part that hurts.”

The interest rates on those credit cards also hurt her pocketbook…

“I was making payments on the card, but before you know it the interest rates shot up. I don’t understand how credit card companies can do that, that’s not okay.”

Margaret learned a lesson…

“It’s a hard lesson to learn but I will never do it again,” she says in reference to charging for friends and family. “I’m trying to straighten it all out. Slowly but surely I’m getting there. I’ve been a nervous wreck at times, but your representatives always go above and beyond to help me. They put me at ease, I felt comforted.”

Making the call wasn’t easy but Margaret is happy that she did…

“I felt embarrassed, ashamed maybe. I’m not one to ask for help,” she discloses. “I tried to figure a way on my own but I couldn’t. I felt I had no choice but to call Consolidated Credit. A load has been lifted off my shoulders. I am completely satisfied.”

Before calling Consolidated she tried to negotiate lower rates on her own but her creditors wouldn’t bite…

“I tried to make a deal with the bank but they wouldn’t work with me,” she says. “They give us such a hard time. The last time I talked to someone at one of the companies I said, ‘It’s either you accept the payment that you will get through the agency or you get no payment at all. I’m trying to pay you so I wouldn’t file for bankruptcy.’ That’s when they finally accepted the proposal from you guys. I couldn’t do the stressful job of negotiating that all you people do. You guys have to be commended because I know I couldn’t do it. Some of these companies are nasty.”

Consolidated Credit achieved for Margaret what she couldn’t on her own…

“A tremendous load was lifted after I called you guys because now you are the ones doing all the calling and setting up the program for me. What a relief!” she rejoices. “I only have to make one payment out to you as opposed to making numerous payments to multiple companies. I no longer have to figure out which bill to pay this month, which one do I let go and then catch up on later. You made it easy, convenient, and less stressful.”

The results are evident…

“Some of my interest rates were about 28.9 percent,” she remembers. “But when I consolidated with you all the rates were much lower so I could focus on paying off the debt. My credit score is also pretty good now.”

She wants everyone to experience the relief that she has since signing on to  Consolidated Credit’s debt management program

“I’ve referred a couple different people already,” she says. “I recently recommended a friend of mine who was in over her head. I told her you guys are helping me, maybe you can help her too.”

If you’re in over your head, Margaret says…

“Don’t lose hope. There is always an answer to some problem and if you don’t talk to the right people the first time, keep on trying. Just never give up. Like they say there are problems but there are solutions to those problems. You just have to take the time to listen to somebody, take the advice from somebody. There people out there who are always willing to listen to you. Swallow the pride; you don’t have to be ashamed. Ask for the help when you need it.”

Every story has a lesson. What has she learned?

“If you can’t afford it or don’t have the cash to pay for stuff then don’t buy it. Don’t rely on charge cards, because they can really add up over time. It just doesn’t pay to get into debt and then have to worry afterwards how you’re going to pay for it, how you’re going to get out of it.”

Her mantra…

“Don’t give up. I live by that every day,” she says. “My main thing is never give up there’s help out there and never be too proud to ask for help.  You hit rock bottom but you learn along the way and then you try to get up, make light of the situation and try to make it better in spite of any obstacles.”

Margaret is more wary when helping others…

“I’m always willing to help somebody, but never think of the consequences. That’s always been a problem with me,” she says. “I’m a caring and compassionate person and sometimes you get used and get pushed aside. Then you think, ‘Why did I even bother?’ It’s almost begins to seem like a bad thing that I’m too trusting. I don’t understand how some people can be so manipulative. They use you.  My conscience would bother me if I did that to people. It’s so wrong but like I said it’s a hard lesson and you learn as you go along the way.”

She swears off credit card debt…

“I could see having one credit card for an emergency I guess, but I won’t get carried away.  I will never get involved in that kind of debt again.”

In a few months she will be debt free…

“I will be relieved that I didn’t file for bankruptcy,” she says. “I advise people that if you get in a situation like that there are people out there willing to help you.  You just can’t keep doing the same thing over and over or you will never get out of that cycle.”

She’s incredibly thankful…

“I’m thankful that there are places out there like Consolidated to help people who are helpless and hopeless. That’s how I was feeling. You offer a good service and give good advice. I appreciate it from the bottom of my heart.”

Don’t let helplessness and hopelessness consume you

Before calling Consolidated Credit that’s exactly how Margaret said she was feeling – helpless and hopeless. Pride was crippling her, too, but she finally broke through that barrier, picked up the phone and allowed Consolidated Credit to get help.  If you’re suffering with credit card debt alone and in silence, muster the courage to seek the assistance you need to regain stability. Dial for free now, or to find out how much debt you’re in take a free debt and budget analysis online.

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"We are really proud to recommend Consolidated Credit" Kathleen Cannon, President & CEO of United Way of Broward County. Consolidated Credit Counseling Services, Inc. is pleased to announce our partnership with the United Way as a United Way Chairman’s Circle Organization.

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