Client Stories: Mounting Credit Card Interest Prompts Action

Oscar T. Real Client
BY Aimee Bennett
Mar 9, 2022
Key Takeaways:
  • Oscar T. discussed the journey he has taken in his life and career, and with his finances.
  • Moving from a small town in the southwest to the largest city in the country came with big changes and big expenses that sent him to mounting credit card debt.
  • Oscar relayed how “the weight of the world lifted” for him once he began the FDR program.

It’s a long way from a small rural town in New Mexico to New York City.

For Oscar T., that journey propelled him to a successful career in architecture in New York – and into debt.

From an early age, Oscar had dreams of going to college on the east coast. He knew he would have to figure out the finances on his own, without family help.

His dream came true with a scholarship to Columbia University. He set off for New York to study architecture and art history – with classes that required specialty art supplies his scholarship didn’t cover. His answer: credit cards.

Oscar was shocked when creditors gave him what he now deems “ridiculously high credit limits.” At the time, armed with little personal finance education, he thought all was well. “I felt like I could do whatever I wanted: go out with friends, travel, have a great time.” 

After a few years of doing just that, he had racked up more than $60,000 of debt. At one point, the interest alone approached what he paid in rent. It was time to take action.

‘The weight of the world lifted’

“I was intrigued by Freedom Debt Relief (FDR) from the beginning,” says Oscar. “But the process* – which entailed defaulting on payments – seemed terrifying.” He got on the phone with an FDR debt consultant and went through the details. “Once I understood the whole program, and how I could work in a structured way to deal with my debt, I was ready.”

And when he got the news that FDR settled his first account, “the weight of the world lifted” and things quickly improved. 

On the other side of debt

After graduating from the FDR program, Oscar did not want to touch credit cards. But understanding that responsible credit card use can help build credit scores, he applied for a card with a low credit limit. He uses it sparingly, never charging more than he knows he can pay off every month. He is saving consistently and investing carefully. 

“I used to pretend my debt didn’t really exist. Now, I’m making conscious choices about priorities in my life. I’m so happy to be on the other side.”


To anyone trying to get out from under their debt, Oscar advises, “Don’t let fear dictate action or inaction. Learn to trust a helping hand.” He also explains that “forward progress is not always linear; sometimes you have to take a few steps back to get ahead.” In his case, his credit score was good, but only because he was making minimum payments. He eventually realized he was getting further and further behind as interest mounted – and that he needed a plan that would work for him long-term.

Oscar hopes that his experience will help others. “It’s through sharing stories like mine that we can give the next generation a chance to avoid what I’ve gone through.”

If you feel you’re on the wrong side of debt and are ready to take action, Freedom is here to help. 

Actual clients of the Freedom Debt Relief program. Endorsements received as a result of the clients' entries in a Freedom Debt Relief sponsored contest. Clients’ endorsements shown may be made up of paid and non-paid testimonials. Individual results are not typical and will vary.

We looked at a sample of data from Freedom Debt Relief of people seeking debt relief during June 2024. The data uncovers various trends and statistics about people seeking debt help.

Credit card balances by age group for those seeking debt relief

How do credit card balances vary across different age groups? In June 2024, people seeking debt relief showed the following trends in their open credit card tradelines and average credit card balances:

  • Ages 18-25: Average balance of $7,378 with a monthly payment of $209

  • Ages 26-35: Average balance of $10,797 with a monthly payment of $300

  • Ages 36-50: Average balance of $14,340 with a monthly payment of $405

  • Ages 51-65: Average balance of $14,364 with a monthly payment of $420

  • Ages 65+: Average balance of $14,837 with a monthly payment of $397

These figures show that credit card debt can affect anyone, regardless of age. Whether you're just starting out or nearing retirement, managing credit card debt can be challenging.

Manage Your Finances Better

Understanding your debt situation is crucial. It could be high credit use, many tradelines, or a low FICO score. The right debt relief can help you manage your money. Begin your journey to financial stability by taking the first step.

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