When Bibi K. was growing up in South America in the 1960s, she had no idea that there was a different culture in North America about credit cards and credit card debt,but that changed a decade and a half ago when she was hired at Consolidated Credit.
“I’d never heard of credit card debt or debt consolidation before I moved to Florida,” she says. In her native Guyana, “We don’t make debt, we don’t take debt. The only types of debt I knew of were either a mortgage or a car payment.”
Do you use credit cards?
“I sometimes use my credit card, but I pay it off at the end of the month,” she says. “I always advise people and my children to not buy stuff that they can’t pay for. You want to buy something on credit, go ahead and do so but make sure you have money to pay it off at the end of the month.”
What’s a lesson you’ve learned since becoming a client service rep?
“You hear some of the clients’ stories and they will tell you they have kids in college, they don’t get financial aid and they have to help their children financially,” she says. “These stories have made me realize that you have to start saving for your children’s education early.”
What inspired you to become a client service rep?
“It was an opportunity to help someone and make a difference in a person’s life,” she says. “I also had the pleasure of listening to the head of the company speak about the business and how we got started. I said if this man will be manning the business, I’m in because he’s a very efficient person. His honesty made me realize that I want to work for him and for the company.”
There’s always a reason why people fall into debt. What’s the most common reason you’ve heard?
“Poor money management, job loss and people overspending especially during the holidays,” she says. “With a job loss, you find areas in their budget to help them cut down. With the holidays they’ll say, ‘Well, I have to buy something for my grandchild, I promised them this and that. I know I don’t have money but…’ I try to encourage them to buy something inexpensive or do something that does not require spending money.”
What’s the most humorous reason people have given you for falling into debt?
“My husband or wife did it.”
Has anyone cried upon completion of the program?
“Yes – tears of joy,” she says. “They often say, ‘I can do this or that now. I can breathe easier.’ Hearing that makes me feel very good. You feel that you’ve really made a difference in someone’s life.”
What advice do you have for people who are drowning in debt?
“I advise anyone with credit card or debt issues to come on the program because I know the benefit that they will be getting by doing so.”
Are you deeply immersed in the culture of debt?
Has credit card spending, a job loss, the poor economy or paying for your kids’ college tuition, left you with a heavy debt load? You don’t have to carry it alone. Consolidated Credit has certified credit counselors who can help you streamline or cultivate a budget to suit your unique situation. Call us at 1-888-294-3130 Or, to find out how much debt you’re in, request a free Debt & Budget Analysis online.