A Michigan couple that paid of $92,000 in credit card debt in 5-1/2 years has been honored with an award by a national debt relief organization.
Jerry and Sue Bailey, from Jackson, were awarded Clients of the Year this week by the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC), a nonprofit association of credit counseling agencies that help consumers manage their finances so they can get out of debt.
Between 1992 and 2005, the Baileyâs racked up $92,000 in debt across 17 credit cards paying for things like weddings for their daughters, car repairs, and home repairs. Everything they paid for went on a credit card. “We got caught up with ‘More is better’ and ‘How much is enough’,” Jerry Bailey said (âMichigan Couple Honored for Paying off $92,000 Credit Card Debt,â Fox Business, Sept. 28, 2011).
When they were faced with putting the cost of their daughterâs wedding reception on a credit card, they realized how much debt they had.
And then came the mail and phone calls from creditors.
When the couple sought help from their local credit union in 2005, they were eventually referred to GreenPath Debt Solutions, a nonprofit credit counseling service and NFCC member based in Farmington Hills.
Credit counseling agencies provide clients with debt relief by enrolling financially troubles consumers in debt management plans. In debt management plans, the agencies typically negotiate affordable monthly payments with creditors. Clients then make monthly payments to the agency, which in turn distributes the money to creditors each month until the debts are paid off.
The Baileysâ debt relief program, combined with stubborn budgeting, sacrificing, and taking on extra work to earn more income, allowed the couple to finish paying off their staggering debt in October 2010. When Jerry Bailey got the call from his credit counselor that they had completed the program, he couldnât believe it. âI had her repeat it because I wasn’t sure,” he said.
The couple offers simple advice for those who may be in the same position they were six years ago: save a little bit from each paycheck and get rid of all but one credit card and pay it off each month.
Sue Bailey also recommends that people think hard before buying something. “If you don’t have money to buy something,â she said, âthen you have to ask, do I need it or do I want it and can it wait until later.”
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