Caleb Hammer spoke with Insider about one of his most extreme interviews.
A woman named Teryca Brooks-Long said she had $250,000 in student-loan debt to pay off.
Hammer said her story haunted him and "continues to terrify me."
When the financial YouTuber Caleb Hammer looked back on all the interviews he'd done, he said one person's story stuck out as "one that terrified and continues to terrify me."
He told Insider Teryca Brooks-Long was one of the first people he invited on his show "Financial Audit," where he helps people deal with their debts.
With Brooks-Long, he worked out she had over $250,000 of debt just from student loans, with a host of other obligations on top of that.
"It's going to be a million dollars before she knows it," Hammer told Insider, reliving the filming of the episode, which went out on June 15.
"She's not making progress on it," he said. "She got into credit-card debt and car debt as well. So I mean, that is just dire. That's where it gets to the point where it feels like it's impossible to get out of."
In the interview, Brooks-Long told Hammer she had four jobs: a virtual assistant for a realtor, an enrollment advisor for an online university, work at an ad agency, and modeling and acting gigs.
She said she spent at least 50% of her week working at these various roles and that she brought in around $3,500 a month in total.
Brooks-Long said she split her bills with her roommate, who's her cousin, but sometimes had to pay more because her cousin didn't have a job.
Hammer told her she couldn't do this anymore because she was spending almost double what she was bringing in.
She had also paid 13 overdraft fees in one month.
But the biggest issue was the private student loans Brooks-Long took out for her family- and consumer-sciences undergraduate degree at Baylor University.
She had initially taken out three loans worth $176,000 in total from Sallie Mae, but that ballooned to $250,000 with interest and fees. The smallest student loan was $37,000.
In total, the loans cost $1,694 in monthly payments.
"This is going to absolutely balloon, isn't it?" Hammer told Brooks-Long. "This is going to be half a million before you know it, then a million."
Hammer told her she needed to make double, if not triple, what she was making to have any hope of paying off the debt.
"If you don't, you're not going to be able to do anything for the rest of your life," he said.
He also recommended Brooks-Long sell her car, which she had taken out a $13,500 loan on. But she refused, even though it was costing her $300 a month, she had paid late fees, and it had sunk her credit rating from 720 to 549.
"You literally cannot afford this car," Hammer said.
But Brooks-Long stood firm, saying the car was not the problem. "It's this," she said, gesturing to the student debt.
She said a family situation to do with contested inheritance meant she wasn't able to access federal loans, leaving her with only expensive private options.
Hammer spoke with Insider this month about her situation and said he didn't have an update.
He told Insider he hoped Brooks-Long didn't have a variable interest rate because repeated rate hikes over the past year would make the payments more expensive.
At the time of the video, the interest rate on her three loans was 11.75% on the two larger ones and 9% on the smaller one.
"That really sticks with me," he said of Brooks-Long's story. "That was a scary one."
Read the original article on Insider