I wasn't traveling, I wasn't being extravagant. I was just trying to live month to month. I think I paid at least one or two months of rent with a credit card. Then gas, [then I] purchased some furniture for the house that we bought...but it started to get away from me. I was just paying what I could each month so I didn’t go delinquent on anything. Before it got too ugly, I decided to try to get some help.
I didn't want to go to my bank and try [to take out] a second mortgage on my home. I did not want to declare bankruptcy. I got some paperwork from Beyond Finance in the mail, did a little bit of research on it, and gave them a call. They laid it out for me on how it would work.
[My wife and I] made a call and got hooked up with one of their counselors right away. I can't remember his name, but he was really friendly. He was trained really well. And we told him which credit cards we had and what the amount of debt on each one was and he was able to give us an idea of:
“You might owe $4,000 to [this creditor,] but we can probably negotiate it for half of that. And your monthly payment to pay this one off would be this...”
He took us through each of [our] credit cards to let me know [which ones] they could negotiate.
We probably spent over an hour talking to this guy on the phone. [The man we talked to] was very understanding and knew what we were going through. I was listening really carefully. And each step along the way during the phone call I just started to feel more confident. And my wife [was also] feeling more confident.
The thing that sold me [on the program] was that a monthly payment to them would get me out of my debt in 36 months or something like that. It would be two and a half years of really, really, really keeping an eye on my spending and everything I spent, but then I'd be out of debt in that two and a half year period. It was cheaper for me to go with Beyond and get it done. 'Cause if I'd have kept paying the minimums to all those different credit cards it'd be 20 years [before I paid it off].
Off the bat, [working with Beyond] was a very easy process. It was very streamlined. They told me not to answer any phone calls from any credit card companies. And then any mail that I got (from the credit card companies), I was supposed to scan and basically send to Beyond.
I've been calling [Beyond] for the past month and a half or so (fairly regularly) and I don't have to wait more than a minute or two to speak with somebody...they're easy to talk to, they're polite, they're understanding, they explain things well. If they have to put me on hold to go and communicate with somebody on their end, I usually don't have to wait very long. It's been –I think– very good communication.
And it's apparent that they have lots of notes in their system so that ... who ever I'm talking to knows my background. They send me the monthly statement and when I do have questions, they're always there to answer them well.
I really like the program because it was easy to get into and the monthly payments are things that I can manage and they're going to get me out of my predicament in a lot less time that if I try to do it all by myself.‡ Editor’s Note: This interview has been edited for length and clarity.