Jaime: Changing Financial Behaviors
From debt consolidation to financial freedom
Growing up in a low-income immigrant household, Jaime’s parents took care of their friends and family. Whenever they received a paycheck from the mechanic shop where his father worked, they spread the money around because money was for spending, not keeping. When his parents divorced, finances got even tighter. His mother in particular faced long bouts of unemployment and struggled to support Jaime and his younger brother and sister.
At the age of 16, Jaime got his first “real” job at a department store, a huge deal for his family. When his employer issued him a store credit card, he was filled with pride. He started collecting store credit cards because it made him feel good. “They were pretty,” he said. “I had a binder where I would store them.” He kept these first cards in his room, treating them like a collection of Boy Scout badges or rare stamps. When Jaime got another job working as an intern for the city, he was issued a credit card for the credit union. This one he used to finance a trip abroad. He charged airfare and lodging on a long trip across four countries. Like a lot of young people, he figured he would deal with it when he got back.