So here we are-in Debt Management. I'm two years into my Debt Management Plan and some days I still find myself thinking: "This is crazy! How, how, HOW did I get here?" We all have our stories though, right? I know for me it helps to read about other people's experiences, frustrations, minor celebrations, and major miracles (which is why I'm so grateful for you folks in the CareOne Community!). It truly is a hard-won journey, and there is comfort in knowing there are others forging the same path. So, here I am, to contribute my story in the hopes that we can vent a little, tuck away some bits of wisdom, and maybe even have a few good laughs.  

My chapter one began with the housing market crash of 2008. I was 32 years old and managing a well-established branch office of a large title insurance company. I had just bought a house in January and took great pride in having been able to do that entirely on my own: no spousal income, no down payment gift from my parents. It was all me. And then... the housing market went BOOM. Shortly thereafter, my office went BOOM. No more office. No more job. Yes, there was severance and surely unemployment, but since a third of my income came from sporadic bonuses and notary fees, the amount of my unemployment benefit was calculated without those considerations. "Not to worry!" I thought. I was sure to bounce back and find another job at my leisure. After all, I was highly educated, had years of experience in my field, and had management experience to boot! Watch out, world! This was gonna be a snap.  

Suffice to say, there was very little snapping involved. In fact, there were no snaps whatsoever. I exhausted the entire six month period allotment of unemployment benefits to the very day. My fondest memory of that time period was reading the entire Harry Potter series in succession from start to finish. Other than that, it was honestly a very demoralizing and depressing period. Before all of this, I had a reasonable debt load for someone of my demographic. I bought nice shoes on my Discover card from time to time, but really at no point would I have considered myself out of control. I just had some bad luck that knocked me out with a one-two punch.  

I dug myself into a very black hole during those six months and once I was re-employed I knew it was going to take some serious work to claw my way out. But, as we all know so well, I was stuck in the vicious cycle of juggling what I would pay on time and what I would pay late, only ever being able to pay the minimums, and failing at being able to provide even basic stuff like, oh... groceries. Pet food. Medical care. And then I found CareOne... 

I started the Plan in August 2008 with about $35,000 of debt. Almost two years later, I have chopped over $10,000 off of that figure and paid off three creditors. The snowball effect is starting to accelerate. I've learned so much in my time with CareOne and I'm not here to say it's easy, in fact it is extremely difficult! But I do know for sure it is nothing to be ashamed of (and I struggled mightily with that). Can we struggle together to make some meaning out of this mess? Won't you join me on this wild ride?