Facing Debt and Winning

After letting credit card bills pile up for years, Casandra Roache mustered the courage to face her financial fears

Casandra Roache

Casandra Roache decided not to let credit card debt get the best of her

Debt can destroy more than just your credit—it can take a toll on your physical and emotional health. Casandra Roache, 28, saw just how quickly small money worries could transcend into a mounting mass of stress and anxiety when left unsettled.

But financial stress was new to the Florida resident. She came from a household where living within her means, saving, and homeownership were taught. When she got her first job out of college working for a nursing travel company earning $10 an hour, she consistently saved $25 per paycheck. She also stuck to a budget, became a homeowner at 23, and used her credit wisely, resulting in an 800 FICO score.

“My mom is the person I saw buy houses, manage tenants, and build equity and wealth. She would take me to the bank with her to deposit money and open accounts. She was showing me [financial responsibility] through her regular life,” explains Roache.

But shortly after purchasing her home in 2007, Roache drifted off course when she started charging items on her credit card for a man she was dating.

“It was just a simple, ‘Hey can you charge this for me?’ It started with a laptop, and then clothes, then plane tickets,” recalls Roache, who was 24 at the time.

A year later, she had accumulated more than $14,000 in debt on two credit cards with interest rates ranging between 14% and 25%.

“I kept putting paying the debt off because I kept saying to myself, ‘He’s going to pay me back,’” Roache explains. “These are items I would have never charged for myself. I would only buy items on my credit card when I knew I could pay it off right away or to take advantage of reward points.”

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