Most of my life I've been really good about my finances and saving money. I had a good credit score. I was usually rarely or never late on payments. I was in a relationship for a long period of time and then I purchased a house; we moved in, got jobs, all that stuff. Then we ended the relationship, and I slumped into anxiety and depression. I started making bad financial decisions. I wasn't really in the right mindset, I tried to get roommates to help out, but it was hard for me to trust people financially.
Coincidentally, at that time, at my job the overtime slowed down (we always got overtime.) I got in a car accident right after I paid off my car. I had to get another vehicle, and that was just another payment on top of all kinds of stuff.
I had tried to keep up as long as I could. One of my brothers had mentioned that I should maybe look into bankruptcy, but I didn't want to do bankruptcy. I really was trying to avoid that. I knew I couldn't do more personal loans, that would just be a bad idea. My depression almost [brought me] to the point where I wasn't trying enough to look into anything [to get myself out of debt].
My mother said, “Have you heard of this place [called Beyond Finance]? They helped me.” She mentioned [that] because I told her I was getting overwhelmed and I didn't know what to do.
I never really considered looking into a professional debt consolidation company...in my mind I always thought “I don't want to do that. That doesn't sound like a good idea, sounds like a scam to me.”
[But my mom] said “look, these people helped me, they can probably help you out.”
Then I made a phone call.
I called them and explained to them the debt I was in. They were super nice. I told [the man I talked to] about everything, and I didn't know if they could help me because I have so much debt. I told him I had never been late on the mortgage payment, I've just been having trouble keeping up with this or that.
I explained to him about my mental health at the time and how I had just made honest mistakes. I wasn't really this type of person but I was slipping and I couldn't get out. He didn't make me feel as if I was dumb for getting myself in this spot.
He explained how the process works and told me that if I [could] guarantee that I can make the payments to them, that they would handle creditor phone calls and all of that. It was a lot easier than I thought, and I was super relieved afterwards because he explained it in layman's terms for me.
All I needed to do was sign this and make the payments. And then even when he explained to me the payments, I was like, "Wow, that's really good." He was like: "Whatever you do, we'll help you. We'll do a lot. We'll send you information. We'll remind you of stuff."
It's been really, really easy... It's been a really, really huge relief. I didn't really know what to expect. The only reason I probably even did it was because it was recommended by my mother.
I don't want to say I expected something bad, but I didn't want to get scammed or anything like that. Like I said, I was referred by a family member, and I'm super glad [I was]. I'd say it's exceeded my expectations, that's for sure. I even get texts from them that say, "Oh, your payment is coming up soon," like I get reminders. [That’s] a really, really big help, because they'll [remind] me five days or a week before I make a payment. I think that's pretty cool.
I would recommend them [to someone dealing with debt]. I would tell them that it was the best thing that I've done financially.
They are a company that helps people who make mistakes. Because in my experience, life happens, and a lot of people forget about that. Whether your tires go out, or something's wrong with your car, or something breaks in the house. I'm a homeowner, so if something breaks, I’ve got to pay to fix it. There's no landlord, you know? And I think Beyond is a very family friendly place that just helps people who make honest mistakes. And they help them with debt in a very simple and easy way.‡ Editor’s Note: This interview has been edited for length and clarity.