- A man appeared on a budgeting podcast to seek help and raise awareness for mental health issues.
- Duncan, 26 from San Antonio, said his Bipolar 2 disorder contribute to his dire finances.
- He told Hammer he owed some $57,000, with minimum payments taking 40% of his $2,150 monthly income.
A man struggling with huge debts appeared on a budgeting podcast last week, saying he was an example of how ignoring mental health can lead to financial problems.
Duncan, 26, from San Antonio, Texas, told appeared on the “Financial Audit” run by YouTuber Caleb Hammer. He didn’t give a second name.
Hammer and Duncan worked out that he owed a total of $57,000 across loans and credit-card debt, with high interest and minimum payments so large they took up more than 40% of his income.
Duncan said he was a delivery driver for the cookie shop Tiff’s Treats, and worked the occasional manager shift. He said he was averaging 32-34 hours per week and bringing in $2,150 per month.
He said the store was struggling and that his hours might be cut — which would not only reduce his income but also take him under the cut-off or health insurance.
He was “bustin’ my ass” trying to find another job, he said. “It’s been very hard, you know,” he continued, starting to tear up.
Duncan told Hammer he knew he was in a dire straits but had been “scared to look” at his debts.
He admitted spending heavily on Uber Eats and other fast food — Hammer calculated those costs came to around $766 a month, 36% of his income.
“I don’t see one single purchase in here that’s not just bullshit spending,” Hammer said.
Hammer also went through Duncan’s debts, finding $16,000 in federal student loans and three Sallie Mae student loans totalling $14,251, two with 10% interest and one with 14%.
Duncan also had a Toyota Camry, paid for with a loan of around $16,500 at 10.45% interest rate. He also had late fees of $1,137 over the past year.
He said he had three credit cards that he defaulted on, leading to the debt being taken on by a collections agency.
$1,324.12 was on an Affirm credit card which dated back to 2021. “I just stopped paying it,” Duncan said.
Duncan also previously had a Visa credit card and a store credit card from Kohl’s — those two totalled around $3,000.
In addition, Duncan had overdue payments on three pay-later apps — $240 on PayPal, $63.23 on Afterpay, and $91.45 on Klarna, due to “a series of really, really bad decisions,” he said.
He also listed a $1,400 personal loan from last year, and $4,500 he owed his grandfather from being in a car accident with no insurance.
Overall, Duncan had $57,303.85 of “really bad debts,” Hammer said.
His minimum monthly payments were $880.65, which came to 41% of his income.
“It’s been a really, really bad situation I’ve been in for the past couple of years,” Duncan said. He said he had tried to budget in the past, but kept making “stupid decisions” as he was struggling with his mental health.
He said he was diagnosed with Bipolar 2 disorder, and had recently started medication. He said the condition contributed to him making “the worst decisions of my life.”
“When COVID hit, it was so terrible,” Duncan said. He said he was working 50-60 hours a week, and sales were up, so he was making good money.
“I just kept being so careless with it,” he said. “I realize how just how much it’s affected me over the last few years.”
Starting medication helped, he said — like “taking blinders off a horse.”
Hammer said the good part was that he had come onto the show and they could make a plan. Hammer said he had also struggled with an anxiety disorder, which had been debilitating to his life.
“It doesn’t make you any less of a person,” he said.
Hammer suggested an aggressive budget to pay down the debt, but it still came in $173 over what Duncan was making. He recommended side hustles such as short-route trucking, or shifts at Walmart.
“You just need to make much, much, much, much more money,” he said. “We’re grinding every single second we can.”
After four years, by the time he was 30, Duncan could be in a much better spot, with an emergency fund saved up, Hammer predicted.
If he did that, he would be “well above” the average 30-year-old, Hammer said.
In the comments under the video, people praised Duncan for coming on the show and being open about his mental health struggles.
“His honesty about his anxiety is so admirable, it’s refreshing to see someone confront their issue rather than making excuses,” one person wrote. “I respect him so much. I’m truly wishing him all the best and I believe his can get out of this!”
Duncan also commented, saying he was encouraged by the support.
“I wanted to be on here to specifically platform how not treating your mental health issues can lead to massive financial strain that I’m in,” he said.
“Guys, if you have anything with mental health that you need to deal with, anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, trauma, PTSD, etc. Please get help.”
He said reading some of the comments had made him cry, and said he would “work my ass off” to follow Hammer’s plan.
“Thank you guys for the outpouring of support it means so much,” he said. “And it’s made me feel more motivated to do better than I have in years. Thank you all, truly.”