Client Stories: Unexpected Life Circumstances Build Up To Debt Challenge

Geralene S. - Client Stories
BY Aimee Bennett
Mar 9, 2022
Key Takeaways:
  • Geralene talked with us about her progression from little financial know-how to building confidence in managing her money.
  • College expenses coupled with medical issues contributed to accumulating debt, a poor credit profile and low credit scores for her.
  • Geralene described how FDR’s debt consultants were communicative, supportive and helpful.

Geralene S. has a college degree, works in financial services and lives out her passion as a children’s book author. By all accounts, the New York City resident is a pretty happy person.

But her life hasn’t been a straight path to happiness. 

Without financial help – or a foundation of financial know-how – from her parents, she set off for college at age 18 with a plan that made perfect sense to her at the time: She signed up for credit cards, and put the costs of tuition, books, meals and travel on the cards. She found out quickly that she couldn’t pay it all back with her part-time retail job, and that interest charges were spiraling out of her control.

Then, after a major accident left her with nerve damage, she underwent several spinal fusion surgeries. Along the way, she dealt with a misdiagnosis of brain cancer, other surgery, and myriad tests, scans and doctors’ appointments.

And she had accumulated nearly $40,000 in debt. 

The trigger to take action

As big as that number was, she only realized the magnitude of the problem when she applied for a credit card she needed for a managerial job, got declined, and learned just how poor her credit profile and scores were. That was her trigger point: She had to do something.

The “something” was taking action after seeing a Freedom Debt Relief (FDR) ad on Instagram. She contacted the company and reviewed her situation with an FDR debt consultant. Then, after researching other companies and ways to handle debt, she ultimately decided the FDR program* would be best for her. The payments were manageable for her, and she valued the ongoing communication and support she received from FDR's associates. In frequent conversations with FDR debt consultants, she says she learned "so much important, useful information" about budgeting and use of credit.

Geralene worked through the FDR program methodically, graduating in about five years. Today, she uses credit sparingly and carefully as she works to build her credit. She is confident of her ability to manage her finances.


Geralene has emerged from the FDR program with some resolute advice for others in debt.

  • Credit profiles and scores really are important. Don’t ignore them. 

  • Communication works. If you’re having a hard time with payments, communicate and be honest with your creditors. They often are willing to work with you. 

  • Get help as early as possible if you are dealing with significant debt. “Don’t delay the process,” she warns. “I was ignoring the problem for years. That only made it worse.”  Many programs exist, she says. FDR worked for her*; another option may work for someone else. “Do your research. Find a program that works for you and then do it.” 

Now, Geralene has the chance to help a younger sister avoid the mistakes she made. She has talked with her sister about how to pay for college responsibly, including the option to work, save up and then continue her education. “Everyone has timelines in their minds about what should happen when they’re 20, 30 and so on,” says Geralene. “That kind of thinking can lead to spending and debt trouble. Life doesn’t work on a schedule that way. Figure out the path that works for you, and you’ll be much better off financially, have much less stress and be a lot happier.”

Ready to take control of your debt and your financial life? 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.