Girl dad streamlines debt to take his daughter on a dream vacation

By Jackie Lam

Reviewed by Kimberly Rotter

Feb 22, 2024

Read time: 2 min

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You can hold a steady job for years and feel like you're barely chipping away at living the life you always dreamed of. Such was the case for Jeremy, a veteran deputy sheriff in Louisiana.

He and his wife had always dreamt of taking their 10-year-old daughter to Disney World. But the credit card balances kept racking up until their debt load felt like a massive ball and chain—making it harder to save for those far-reaching plans. 

At one point, Jeremy's credit card balance was nearly $9,000 across 5 cards. Plus, he had 3 unsecured loans which put his debt load at a grand total of over $50,000. Even though Jeremy was putting  all his extra income toward paying off his debt, the balance hardly moved down each month. 

"You feel like you're just spinning your wheels and you're not going anywhere—like being a hamster on a wheel," he says.

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The answer was just a phone call away 

Jeremy was tired of feeling shackled to his debt. He decided to give Achieve a call to talk about consolidating high-interest credit cards and possibly saving some money on interest.

When he reached out to Achieve, a licensed Mortgage Advisor responded right away and took the time to understand his situation. His advisor presented multiple options that could help him get rid of his credit card and loan balances more quickly. The options they offered were ideas he hadn't considered before or even knew were possible. 

His Mortgage Advisor reviewed all of his debts and crunched the numbers. He explained that Jeremy could streamline his debt and get a much lower monthly payment with a special kind of home equity loan called a fixed-rate HELOC (HELOC stands for Home Equity Line Of Credit). He also showed Jeremy that he’d pay less in total interest charges by paying off his debts with a lower-interest loan. (A lower interest rate doesn’t always result in paying less interest, particularly if you take longer to pay.)

"He brought up how we can pay those debts off by taking some money from the equity in our home, and the light bulb went off," says Jeremy. 

After weighing his options, Jeremy decided to take out a 10-year fixed-rate home equity loan to consolidate his high-interest debt. He had refinanced his home in the past and expected a headache. He couldn't believe how smooth and speedy the Achieve process was. 

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Space to make your dreams come true 

Jeremy says a  huge weight was lifted when he realized that his home equity loan afforded him the opportunity to pay off his other debts and feel like he was making real progress.  

"I was a prisoner to those credit cards," he says. "I mean, you know, I'm paying a lot, but the balance was only going down a little.” His debts consumed all his extra income. The interest rates were so high, he couldn’t get ahead of it. Now he feels free from the ball and chain that was his debt. 

Because home equity loans are secured by the home itself, they tend to have lower interest rates compared to other kinds of loans. Jeremy saw an enormous difference in the interest he was paying. 

The icing on the cake? Jeremy made his daughter’s dream come true. He took some additional funds out with his HELOC to take his family to Disney World. 

"It's the best feeling in the world,” says Jeremy. Streamlining his debt gave him the freedom and power to do the things that are most important to him. 

Jackie Lam - Author

Jackie is an Achieve contributor. She is an accredited financial coach (AFC®) who has written for Business Insider, BuzzFeed, CNET, USA Today's Blueprint, and others. She coaches artists and freelancers.

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Kimberly is Achieve’s senior editor. She is a financial counselor accredited by the Association for Financial Counseling & Planning Education®, and a mortgage expert for The Motley Fool. She owns and manages a 350-writer content agency.

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