Planning My Financial Future

After digging herself out of credit card debt, Brandy Williams is taking advantage of a clean slate

Brandy Williams

Brandy Williams learned that mistakes can offer teachable moments. As a college student at the University of Cincinnati, she used her eight cards to purchase “silly stuff —food, pizza, clothes. I crapped away $5,000,” says Williams, now 33.

“Back then, I remember getting cards in the mail pre-loaded. Other times I would use my card in a store and the clerk would say, ‘Hey, you should apply for our store card and get 10%, 20% or 30% off your purchase, so I was lured with the thought of savings,” she reflects.

By the time she graduated in 2001, her credit cards were in default. She got credit counseling from an agency that negotiated with creditors. It took her three years under the program, but she managed to wipe out a total debt load of $8,000, including late fees and interest.

“I was foolish and my mistakes hindered me from going to law school. I was trying to get a private loan and was turned down because of my credit. Several years later I went back to school to get my M.B.A., but I realized just how serious credit is,” says the Thomas More College graduate.

But Williams has stayed clear of credit cards since paying them off in 2006. “I rip up offers. I don’t want to go back down that road.”

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