From Holding Hands to a Helping Hand

Profile of Cheryl

How Consolidated helped Cheryl get a grip on her debt

For 15 years, Cheryl S. ran a nail salon in Seattle. She spent her days focusing on her clients hands. Little did she know that one day, she’d need a helping hand from Consolidated Credit.

Business was good until one awful day led to a few awful years.

“It began when my husband and I got divorced. I went to work at a grocery store as a checker for about two years.”

Then her father suffered a terrible accident.

“He fell down the stairs of our basement and broke his neck. He lived for 49 days.”

During that time, she skipped a lot of work to help her mom care for her dad. Totally spent from the experience, Cheryl left the workforce.

A promise to her father put the focus on family…

“I retired after my dad passed away. That was part of my credit problem, too. I moved in with my mom because her health really went down. I promised my dad before he passed away that I would take care of mom. And I did.”

While she was able to help her mother and heal, she was also without a steady source of income. As a result she added $3,900 in credit card debt that she couldn’t pay off. Even worse, high interest meant the debt was quickly growing because she could only make minimum payments on her six credit cards.

It’s problem that often occurs on a minimum payment schedule. Once your balances exceed a certain amount, the high interest rates applied to your debts each month eat up minimum payment amounts, leaving little to reduce the actual principal debt owed. As a result, even though Cheryl made payments every month, she wasn’t making any progress in eliminating the debt.

She realized she couldn’t do it alone…

A debt management program rescued Cheryl

Cheryl knew the situation wasn’t going to change unless she facilitated that change by doing something different. So she called Consolidated Credit.

“Before calling Consolidated I was very depressed. I was scared. I knew I needed some help.”

Like many clients, Cheryl was nervous about calling and even embarrassed to reach out to someone else for help with her debt. But she worked through the nerves and negative feelings to take the action she needed to take to regain control.

“It’s a hard call to make, but by the time I was through, it was such a relief. I felt comfortable and very reassured. I didn’t get a scolding, like, “Why did you do this and that?” I didn’t feel judged and that was very important to me.”

The staff made the process painless…

Cheryl’s journey started with a confidential consultation with a certified credit counselor. Cheryl and her counselor reviewed her budget and debts to make a plan for paying back the debt that would work for her budget. Once they had a plan that would work for Cheryl, the counseling staff contacted her creditors to negotiate lower interest rates and get their signoff on Cheryl’s new payment schedule.

Once her creditors approved, Cheryl enrolled and was referred to one of Consolidated Credit’s Customer Service Representatives in case she need anything from additional assistance to just getting more information.

“Let me tell you, Henry was fantastic! He spent so much time with me, answering all my questions. He was very easy to talk to. He’s one of the nicest people I’ve spoken to over something like this ever. I told him that this has been the best decision I ever made.”

During the program, Cheryl learned better financial habits…


During their conversations throughout her program, Henry directed Cheryl to a range of free financial resources that taught her how to budget, how to use credit without risking stability, and – perhaps most importantly – how to say no.

“You have to learn to live within your means and just say, ‘No – I don’t need it that bad.’ Pulling out plastic just isn’t worth it most times because the interest can get pretty outrageous. But that’s all behind me now.”

And when it comes to offering others insight on how to overcome challenges with debt, Cheryl has one key piece of advice…

“Call Consolidated for help!”