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Checking Up on Our Guests

When Carmen spoke to Vanessa and Harris 10 days ago, the new couple was suffering from a loss of hope in the face of their mounting debt. Between New York rent prices, two jobs that don’t bring in much money - Vanessa as a public school teacher and Harris as a chef – thousands in student loans from Vanessa’s education and skyrocketing food and gas prices, the couple was running a deficit of nearly $2,000 every month; digging themselves deeper into debt every single day.

So Carmen, on last Monday’s show, advised Vanessa and Harris on how to take control of their debt. Taking ownership, she said, is the first step in digging yourself out of the hole. For this couple, who owe roughly $60,000 in credit card debt and another $80,000 in Vanessa’s student loans, the road back to the American Dream is going to be tough, but it’s absolutely something they can do.

Carmen started by suggesting federal student loan forgiveness to Vanessa, a service offered to public school teachers who have served for two years. She also recommended they acquire a non-profit credit counselor to help them get their interest rates down. Finally, the couple will need to make a serious decision to stop running a monthly deficit: either find a way to bring in more money or move to a less expensive home in a less expensive area.

This week, we received an e-mail from Vanessa, thanking Carmen for her guidance and keeping us posted on the progress she and her husband have made. Since the appearance, they’ve contacted a debt relief agency, which has lowered their interest rates from 29-32% to 8-9%, while putting them on a five-year plan to becoming debt free. Vanessa has also filled out her Teacher Loan Forgiveness Application, and is about to mail it out.

There’s still a long road ahead for this young couple, but with Carmen’s help, they will get there.