Part of my credentials as a financial coach comes from my own experience in my family’s mission to become debt free. It wasn’t easy, but we did it — twice. I would like to share my story with you.
Our Debt Free Scream on The Dave Ramsey Show!
The video above shows a culminating moment of our four-and-a-half-year journey to becoming debt free for the second time. The moment captured in the video was the moment we got to tell the world that we did it. We paid off all of our debt. We were unburdened once again, revelling in our FREEDOM. That freedom didn’t come easily though.
We were totally debt free in 1999, the year we started our construction business. The real estate, building and housing markets were all doing well. In 2006 we bit the bullet and got into business debt with real estate. We were told that business debt is different from personal debt. Little did we realize the only difference is that business debt is just a LOT larger.
Along came the housing market crash in 2008, turning what we had originally thought of as smart investments to duds. We had paid down loans on several houses and some land from 2006 to 2008, but it wasn’t looking pretty.
Our son began college in 2007, just before the market crash. Only by God’s grace and mercy were we able to pay for his college without taking out student loans. But, that meant this cash that was going toward college was no longer being used to pay down debt.
In 2009 we knew we had to change our financial position if we were going to make it. After leading several of Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University classes we started pushing really hard to pay down our debt.
Over the next four-and-a-half years we scrimped, pinched and didn’t do nearly as many fun things. We would make tiny strides to be able to pay a chunk when possible, all while trying not to get so hung up on the BIG NUMBER.
We continued to pay for our son’s college education during this time, and amazingly we managed to pay for all five-and-a-half years of his schooling.
Every step of progress we made also had its share of setbacks. One of those setbacks came in March, 2012, as our son was getting ever-so-close to graduation. My husband, Jonathan, injured his shoulder while working. He had to have surgery to repair the damage.
Fortunately, we had worker’s compensation to pay for the surgery itself, but Jonathan was unable to work for the next four months as he recovered his shoulder through physical therapy.
We had recently completed several kitchen remodels. Through the sale of the used cabinets, we were able to purchase groceries and have electricity. Somehow, we made it through without dipping into our emergency fund. God truly cared for us during those long months.
We kept plugging along as our business continued to be profitable. On November 13, 2013 we took the very last of our debt payments to our bank. While it would be nice if the bank would shoot off fireworks at such an achievement, our immense success was rewarded with a payment receipt and a “have a nice day” instead.
We were left to decide how we wanted to celebrate being debt free. We had taken our role in teaching Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University as a kick-start to our debt-free journey; so what better way to celebrate than to tell the world of our success with a debt-free scream on the Dave Ramsey show!
Our grandchildren began regularly practicing their debt free screams long before we made our last payment. We had asked our five-year-old granddaughter if she’d like to go with us to Dave Ramsey’s show when it was time. She was eagerly awaiting the day.
On the day we took the last payment to the bank, my husband excitedly told our granddaughter that we were debt free. She started crying, though, because she thought that meant we had gone to the show without her.
On April 28, 2014, about five months later, her dream and ours became reality when we traveled to Brentwood, Tennessee and announced our freedom to the world in our debt-free scream.
Launching my financial coaching business is so like God for perfect timing. My most recent experience with pushing to meet such a tremendous financial goal has renewed my passion and excitement for helping others succeed as well.
During our debt-free push, we were still mindful of making giving a priority. We couldn’t be more excited to say that not only did we meet our personal financial freedom goals, but we also met our giving goals. Meeting our goals in giving was such an added blessing to the entire process! We continue to make giving a priority.
If you, as we, have ever wondered where to begin with your finances, please know that we have walked that path. I would be honored to help you achieve your financial goals. I want to be an encouragement to you wherever you are in your financial journey. It’s with passion, compassion and lots of love that I share this with you.