Debt is a burden that millions of Americans carry on a daily basis. In fact, the average family spends 20 percent of their household income paying down debt. But the scary fact about debt is that it doesn’t just impact your finances.

No one knows the far-reaching impact of debt more than Sharon, a former client of the nonprofit organization, Money Management International (MMI). Sharon struggled for years to stay current on more than $40,000 of debt, but eventually found a solution for overcoming the financial burden that she had faced for so long. Sharon, as well as others in similar situations, share their experiences and their journey throughout the debt repayment process through MMI’s new podcast series.

“I’m just a normal everyday mom who goes to work and tries to raise my kids,” Sharon said. “At the end of the program I paid off $40,000 in debt. Paying off my debt felt unbelievable; I was as happy as I was the day my kids were born.”

The financial experts at MMI have found that stress caused by financial worries can be detrimental to your health. Your emotional and mental stability, as well as your personal and professional relationships, are all at risk when finances feel out of control.

“You have a job to do at work, but you still have to come home and perform there as well. Receiving the collection calls is embarrassing. Dealing with debt was a major distraction,” Sharon said. “I felt inadequate. I felt like I was failing.”

According to an MMI personal finance survey, 24 percent of Americans blame financial hardships for health-related issues such as depression, anxiety, and problems sleeping. Financial stress can also be linked to failed relationships. Twenty-seven percent of Americans feel their marriage is impacted the most by financial worries.

With such far-reaching impacts, tackling debt can feel like an overwhelming process, which Sharon described as “trying to dig out of a hole that I was never going to get out of.”

This is why MMI wants to make the process as easy as possible by offering consumers free debt and budget counseling. As the largest nonprofit credit counseling agency in the nation, MMI has helped consumers pay back more than $740 million in debt in 2010 alone. Because we know that getting out of debt does more than improve finances – – it improves lives.

“My outlook on life has really changed,” Sharon said. “My confidence is through the roof. I feel like I can do anything. I’m not bound by credit and debt.”

About Money Management International
Money Management International (MMI) is a nonprofit, full-service credit-counseling agency, providing confidential financial guidance, financial education, counseling and debt management assistance to consumers since 1958. MMI helps consumers trim their expenses, develop a spending plan and repay debts. Counseling is available by appointment in branch offices and 24/7 by telephone and Internet. Services are available in English or Spanish. To learn more, call 800.432.7310 or visit

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