She's 35, single and has worked for over a decade. She earns $5,000 a month and has no mortgage to worry about.
And yet Lisa*, a publishing executive, barely has any savings to her name.
Oh, and she's $20,000 deep in credit card debt.
"It's been this way for years... I don't know when or how I'm going to pay that sum off ," she admits. She allocates about $3,000 each month to her rent, phone and utility bills. A large chunk of the remainder goes into paying off the debt on her three credit cards.
But to make matters worse, she's been regularly rolling over the amount owed for the past 10 years, which means the sum has been snowballing.
How did it get to this? Blame it on her shopaholic tendencies. She has a taste for designer bags and shoes, and enjoys eating at posh spots such as Mezza9, Otto Ristorante and Catalunya, easily racking up bills in the hundreds every time.
And when she travels? You can bet she's staying at five-star resorts in Thailand and Bali.
Sally*, 38, an accounts executive, owes her credit card company $7,000 even though she earns a comfortable $6,000 a month.
She splashes out on designer bags, expensive holidays to exotic destinations like the Maldives and Fiji, and fancy toys and clothes for her fi ve-year-old son.
Every month, she tries to dedicate at least $2,500 to servicing her credit card debts - but she always falls short. As long as she can remember, she's been struggling to pay off purchases she made months ago.
Worse, her sales manager husband - whom she calls the "conservative, frugal one" - has no clue. She borrows a few hundred from him whenever she's desperate, but only as a "last resort".
"The amounts are small, so he never suspects, but if he found out the whole truth, he'd be shocked," she confesses.
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