I owned [a commercial] building, and the building needed work. There are bathrooms that had to be redone. The building was (and still is, I don't it have any more) it's 207-years-old. And the only way to do it was to use [my credit] cards...I went to three companies and I borrowed $25,000.
When all that started, then you're trying to say “Well, where can you cut?” And you really can't cut, because (at that time) we were living in New York, and New York state gas and electric is expensive. I also had farm animals that I was feeding, [and] the phone bill. That was all my responsibility. There's no way of cutting corners.
I got a letter in the mail from Beyond Finance...I called and they seem to be able to talk to creditors about taking care of [my debts]. I wasn't even looking, but when [the letter] came, I said ‘this is a good idea.’ It was like a letter from Heaven came...that's the way I put it.”
When I called, [the man I talked to] knew I was stressed by my voice. [He didn’t] say, "Oh. Look what you did with your life."
We were on the phone for a good hour. He explained everything from soup to nuts...he asked what my expenses were for the month, and I told him what they were. He was able to understand and explain how long the program was and what they do. He said I can call him anytime. He was excellent.
I liked that I didn’t have to call the credit company [because] Beyond work[s] with them. So I don't have to make any phone calls to argue with people. They take care of everything. That was appealing because when I got on the phone with these people, I sometimes have a bad temper (being from New York and being a teacher) and I say, "this is how it's supposed to be and I feel as though you're not working with me!"
Every month, the money gets taken out of my checking account. I remember that they called me when I first started, [then] called me almost every week to see how I was doing and to make sure certain numbers were right were correct. And that's good; They're not a fly by night company.
They took care of things right away. I mean within two weeks they were able to give me figures. I would give them a 10 [out of 10]. When you call, if you don't get who you want to talk to, everybody else can take care of your problem. They're on top of everything and they're very positive...they walk you through everything. There is nothing hidden, there's nothing there that's sneaky.
They were excellent. I'm telling you, they explained everything. It's a letter from heaven, and really seriously, if anybody complains about them...then you send them to me and I'll yell at them. It's the teacher in me.
Now, even though I get stressed, I'm happy. I don't worry. I know that [my debt issues are] going to be ending.‡ Editor’s Note: This interview has been edited for length and clarity.