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Debt is nothing new, and access to credit offers consumers the ability to increase buying power and make purchases outside of their normal spending habits, but this play-now-pay-later spending strategy comes at a price. And in the wake of the worst effects of the Great Recession, African Americans, like Americans as a whole, are getting their balance sheets in order and paying down debt.

According to debt expert and credit advisor Kelli Wright, the dilemma of consumers of color, is that as they try to stay afloat financially after racking up the debt, they are reluctant to seek assistance or take advantage of resources to keep them from going under.

“Currently I am able to live a more fulfilled life, because I was able to get out of that [financial] bondage,” says The Treasure Trainer Founder, a credit and debt elimination service. “But, when I got out of it, I thought what good is it for me to live the kind of life that I have been afforded, and not help other people experience the same freedom.”

Wright says consumers often find it difficult to admit that they are bombarded with debt and they just don’t know what resources are out there to help them.

“That’s why I created this company, because I was one of those individuals as well. I didn’t seek help when I found myself with over $100,000 worth of debt because I was embarrassed and ashamed that I had been so irresponsible,” she confides. “But it took me 10 years to get out of that debt because I was still trying to keep up with the Joneses,” said Wright. “Family members were asking me for money and I still felt like I had to play this role that I was graced financially. I didn’t completely focus on debt elimination because I was still trying to play the part.”

The affable debt expert says she could have decreased that 10-year drama to 3 years had she followed through with a debt elimination plan and stuck to it. And by ‘stick to it’ she means sacrifice.

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