5 Debt-Dodgers You Need to Know About
Debt is a serious issue and it’s one that many of us share. Hundreds of thousands of people across the nation are carrying debt with them. Some by choice and some by accident.
Though all of us may have some debt, it’s not always bad. Taking on debt through your education or buying a house to grow your credit aren’t negative debts, but without the right planning or strategy, debt can turn into a monster.
Likewise, debt is still an immediate issue but isn’t always treated that way. College grads, new car owners, and new homeowners wear debt like a badge. We, as a society, have started to normalize having debt or getting into debt, unfortunately.
Taking on debt knowingly and without a plan in place to pay it off is risky business.
Debt is something that should be dealt with as soon as you the means to deal with it. Instead, many of us neglect or fail to recognize our financial states and then debt can quickly become a pair of handcuffs.
Everyone, at some point or another, has had this problem. You are not alone.
Here are some stories about people just like you and me who knew that their debts were a problem and resolved to make a change. They all entered debt in different ways: education, credit cards, cars, houses, divorce, or just overspending. It doesn’t matter how debt and you started sharing a paycheck, but it’s time to take your wallet back into your own hands.
These people did it, and so can you. Plus, if you’re like me, a few of these stories can sound frightening similar to your own.
#1. Deacon Hayes from Well Kept Wallet
Deacon and his wife did all the typical things. Graduate school, get a car, get a house, get a job- the whole nine yards.
An outsider looking in probably thought they were “winning” the game of life. In reality, the couple was crippled with nearly $52,000 worth of debt from the combined sources of a car, school, and house costs.
The couple quickly realized that this was a serious situation and began researching successful stories and techniques that were used to get yourself out of debt- and fast.
Soon enough, a little education later, they were implementing these rules into their everyday lives, and it was showing some success. In just 18 months, they had paid off all $52,000 worth of their debt and only owed money for the house they lived in.
This short span of time changed their lives, and now Deacon is committed to helping others get out of debt the same way he has combined with ways that work for others.
#2. Ms. Montana from Montana Money Adventures
Ms. Montana started where most people do – married and in debt. It’s such a common phenomenon that often people think of this as a rite of passage into adulthood. Get a job, get married, and then fight about money.
She and her husband determined that they didn’t want to live that way. Life didn’t have to be that way. They wanted to live, travel, and be free from the 9-5 slavery that most of the population walks gratefully into.
With well over $50,000 of debt hanging over the altar with them on their wedding day they knew they need to defy the odds and make a change- a serious one.
With some small changes and some more drastic ones, this couple was knee deep four years later. Knee deep, this is, in money and no debts. Just four years after being married they were completely debt free. Not only that, but they had saved and amassed around 100k!
Mr. and Ms. Montana realized that the situation they were handed due to credit cards, homes, and schooling was not the end- it was a challenge. A challenge they took head on and came out victoriously.
Ms. Montana’s advice on debt and financial freedom: “A rich life isn’t just dollars and cents. It’s relationships, adventure, passions, and generous living that make us feel rich… A life that looks rich in the numbers and feels rich in the substance.”
#3. Marian & Dave – Interviewed on Our Debt Free Family
Marian met Monica, the creator of Our Debt Free Family, on their Facebook group. Hundreds of people were sharing their stories about getting out of debt, their advice to one another, and inspiring others to keep going.
Marian Nguyen and her husband Dave were in debt and a lot of it. About $120,000 to be in the ballpark. Marian shared her story on the Facebook page and it caught a lot of attention.
They were living paycheck to paycheck and could not figure out why things weren’t matching up. Making decent money each month but only left with double digits in the bank account and mountains of confusion on how it happened right in front of you can be extremely troubling.
After convening together and having a tough and completely necessary conversation about bills, credit cards, and car loans, they realized that they needed to change. Lifestyle changes, extra shifts, and many overtime hours led to a final state three years later being completely debt free.
The couple says there were many lonely nights and that three years seemed like an eternity, but it was necessary to endure to reach a positive financial state. With their children growing quickly and having learned so much in three years, the couple also started to implement money-smarts into their conversations with the kids. Including them in the conversation to create better spending habits than mom and dad had to help the kids’ future in living a (hopefully) debt free life.
Their advice, “Create a spreadsheet, outline what you need, what you have, and what you bring in and set goals to get out of debt.”
Simple as that, right?
#4. Carrie Smith – story told on And Then We Saved
Carrie Smith runs her own money-minded blog on Careful Cents but is telling her story with the audience of And Then We Saved.
“I’m going to tell you the whole story. All the dirty details.”
Carrie wanted the American Dream, as many of us do. But we chase this “dream” at what cost? We have grown up in a world, a society, that has told us that these things are normal. Everyone has credit card debt; everyone buys new cars, everyone takes out loans for a house, everyone accrues college debt expenses- it’s normal, right?
Technically, yes, it is. This statement is fundamentally correct, but that doesn’t make it right.
After buying a home, via a huge loan, and trading in an older car for something nicer and newer, Carrie was feeling a little financial pressure from her decisions. But it wasn’t until a nearly-fatal car accident that she was literally shaken and became acutely aware of what she had done to herself and her finances.
Her marriage failed, her car was destroyed, and her house made her, “asset rich and cash poor.
She knew it was time for a change.
With a change of mindset, an aggressive spending and saving plan, and the realization that it’s also completely normal to live debt free, she was ready to make the dream a reality
Three agonizing years and $150,000 in debt less, she was finally free. But Carrie also reminds us that being debt-free isn’t a destination- it must become a lifestyle change.
She comments, “I can’t express how great it feels to wake up every day and know that my bills will be paid, that my car is mine and that I’ve created smart financial spending habits that will last me a lifetime.”
#5. John Corcoran – Interviewed on Get Rich Slowly
John Corcoran, owner of Smart Business Revolution Blog, shared his story with Get Rich Slowly about his debt journey.
College and graduate school are one of the largest and easiest types of debt to acquire, and for John, this was no exception. Not only that but after graduating those institutions, life comes faster. Weddings, honeymoons, children, homes, cars, and more and the next thing you know, you’re stuck and in over your head.
John was stuck. Him and his wife had both ended their expensive educational stints, got married, purchased a rental property, lived in a condo, went on a honeymoon, and bought a new car which all totaled up to right around $755,000 in debt.
That’s a big number. As John puts it, “We were educated, but making dumb financial decisions.”
After graduation, most people expect a job that will pay well based on the grand sheet of paper that tells you how much you worth, right? Only that’s not always the case. Struggling to find a job is hard and then to find a job that pays well can be even harder.
John and his wife knew something had to change or they would be in serious trouble. Slowly, but surely, they made a list of their debts and determined which to tackle and when. Lifestyle changes, with the help of his already frugal wife, were just the beginning of their debt-free journey.
Prioritizing their debts, doing some planning, and taking the first jump toward freedom was quickly escalated by the news of a new incoming mouth to feed. They were now expecting, and things needed to kick into high gear.
Within the first two years of their son’s life, they were able to pay off almost all of their debts and John was able to quit his job to be free from the 9 to 5 grind. Working for himself and with his life back on track, John and his wife are a great example of people who did something that was incredible and incredibly difficult and were still successful.
Being Debt Free Is True Freedom
Take it from the experiences of others, no matter where you fit on the spectrum of “indebtedness,” if that’s a word, that it’s not the end of the road.
I can only hope that you are as inspired reading these stories as I am. It’s not that debt is okay, it’s not. But debt with a plan is still better than debt with no plan.
It’s like taking a small boat out into the ocean when you already have the bottom filled with heavy rocks of every size, shape, and color. If you aren’t dealing with debt in a strategic and disciplined way, then it’s likely going to sink you.
Each of the people in these stories took a different route, found different resources, and faced different obstacles. You can do it, too. These people have been in the hole and climbed out.
Not all of us can do what they have done, but we know that there is wisdom to be learned from their experiences.
Being debt-free is always the goal. How, when, or why you get there often doesn’t matter, but in the end, your financial stability will be worth the discipline and struggle. It takes hard work to plan a strategy that will ensure that you are free from debt and back in control of your life.
And, trust me, you can do it, too.
Author: Haddie V.