Facing Debt and Winning

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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