Our Journey of Financial Freedom – Part 1

“At its highest, we were $119,123 in consumer debt.”

If you’re reading this, chances are you’re buried in debt but not sure how  to get out. They say that “hope is not a strategy,” and while that’s true, sometimes what we need the most is hope. We need to know that there is a light burning bright and clear at the end of our tunnel.

My wife and I want to share our story with you. Why? Because the tunnel we were in was very long and dark, yet if we could make it out, we have faith that, equipped with the right behaviors and beliefs, you can too. Let’s begin.

The Debt Snowball

After graduating college in 2000 with over $10,000 in debt, I worked at a youth ministry in Texas for several years, where the job was amazing but the pay was…well…not so much.

In 2006, I bought a foreclosed home which involved a major remodel. I took on a car loan for $9,000, since I “needed” a truck for the remodel work, which, due to my lack of experience, went over budget by $15,000 – all on credit cards.

I married my beautiful wife Beth in 2007, and we paid for our honeymoon ($4200) on credit cards, which seemed small compared to the $33,000 school loan my wife brought to the marriage. We also bought about $3000 of new furniture for the house on credit.

Reality Check

2008 brought with it stress and frustration. My wife and I knew that there was a deeper purpose to our lives, yet we felt like we were slaves to our debt. While we both enjoyed our jobs (mostly), each paycheck brought frustration as we were barely making the minimum payments on our debt.

At our current income level, we knew we would be spending years of our future to pay for our past.

 

So in 2008, Beth and I took a huge calculated risk and quit our jobs to take an opportunity to work as insurance adjusters in Houston after Hurricane Ike. We actually went further in debt as a result, as I had to purchase several items which had been provided by my job (laptop, cell phone, printer, etc.) Since we didn’t have any savings, guess who paid for it? Papa Visa.

In 2009, we made ends meet for the first few months of the year, living mostly off of the money we made in Houston. Knowing that we would soon run out of savings, I took a job as a door-to-door roof salesman, working on 100% commission. My wife is a trooper, and we were committed to make something happen. However, after knocking on over a hundred doors with zero sales, we knew we were in trouble.

To be continued in Part Two…

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