“More powerful than the will to win is the courage to begin.” – Orrin Woodward
The following Financial Fitness testimonial was written and submitted by Judy DeShon:
I’ll never forget the first time I heard about the Financial Matrix. Orrin Woodward was speaking at a meeting on a Saturday night in Columbus, Ohio. It was nearly midnight, and I was wide-eyed and riveted by his message about willingly selling ourselves into slavery. “Yes! That’s true! That’s so true!” I thought. I was determined to escape the Financial Matrix.
Dave and I both came from intact, financially sound, (mostly) normal, wonderful families. Our parents took their families on vacation and while we didn’t live lavishly, neither of us went without. When Dave and I married, I became stepmom to Chris and Matt. As a blended family, we had expenses that I was certainly willing to take on for the sake of these sweet boys, but that made things tight for all of us from the get go.
Throughout most of our marriage, Dave and I lived paycheck to paycheck and subsidized our income by pulling out the credit card when there was still month left at the end of our money. We often began the next month further behind than we had been the month before.
A few years ago I couldn’t see ourselves living completely debt free. We had sort of tried to get mostly out of debt through an online debt elimination program, but it fell short and so did we. We put a few suggestions into practice and made a little progress, but nothing about our fundamental money views changed. Come to think of it, we didn’t even know that we had money views, let alone how to change them.
We had made some wise decisions. When our son Ben was born, I stayed home with him. What a blessing it was to be a homeschool mom and help lay a solid foundation! I treasure those years! While homeschooling didn’t add to our income, in many other significant ways it paid immeasurable dividends. Ben entered school in the fifth grade, and when he went to school, I did, too.
We had made some unwise decisions. When taking out a student loan to complete my education, they asked something like, Would you like fries with that? I wondered what that meant and then proceeded to check the box for the unsubsidized loan that they offered along with my subsidized loan. Another $20,000! Wow, that was easy! I knew enough to know that this wasn’t free money, but I think I convinced myself that it wasn’t that big of a deal, that when I had my degree I’d just get a great paying job and pay the supersized loans off. We’d be fine.
Anyone who has made a similar decision knows that making things easy up front tends to make things harder down the road.
We continued to be inconsistent in our decisions. We had paid off our mortgage at one point, but as great as it was to not have a house payment, we still had debt and our money views hadn’t yet changed. A family member who we respected advised us that he used the equity in his home like an ATM. We didn’t recognize that this might not have been the best advice for us. So why not take advantage of all that equity and take out another loan for a few improvements? Hello again, mortgage payments.
Lack of understanding, vision, goals, and discipline were at the core of our financial difficulties. Enter the Green Box.
The 47 principles of Financial Fitness have changed everything for us. Dave and I read and re-read the book, listened and re-listened to the audios, and began associating with others who were doing the same. We were among friends who wanted to improve in all areas of our lives. We weren’t too proud to admit that although we had done a lot of things right, we still needed to learn from others whose level of success in certain areas far surpassed our own.
The defense, offense, and playing field of Financial Fitness were so simply explained and the services were so comprehensive that all we had to do was apply the principles. We began to experience a shift, and compound interest was starting to work for us instead of against us.
Dave called one Saturday morning to let me know he had been in an accident and our van was totaled (it wasn’t his fault and thankfully no one was injured). Dave met with the insurance adjuster to talk about the amount of the settlement. There’s a lesson there because once Dave and the adjuster met face to face and our claim was more than just a number, the adjuster reconsidered the claim and offered a little more money toward a replacement. But it still was much less than what the van was worth to us, and its replacement would not be nearly as nice. We found a car that we could pay for with the insurance money and went to the dealer to purchase it. While there, the nice young man offered to let me test drive a cute red car. It was nice! But I didn’t have quite enough money for the cute red car and would have had to finance part of the purchase price. “Thanks but we’ll pass on the cute red car and take the not-quite-as-cute other car for now.” We drove away knowing we were out of the Financial Matrix for good!
We have eliminated $85,000 of debt: no credit card debt, no car payments, no student loans, no mortgage. We have “let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another…” Romans 13:8 That’s definitely the better way to live.
There are so many needs that in the past we had to leave to someone else to meet. Now we can help meet these needs. When I first read Gary Chapman’s book The Five Love Languages, I dismissed “gifts” as one of my love languages. Looking back, I think it’s because I just never felt I had the resources to fully explore the joy of gift-giving and because I didn’t give, I didn’t feel comfortable receiving. It turns out that “gifts” is right up there among my top love languages. What fun it is to give, especially anonymously!
The benefits of the Financial Fitness program are far reaching. Once we took care of “the money thing,” as Chris Brady puts it, we could take better care of one another. Our marriage is stronger. Now that we don’t have debt, we have more options. Dave doesn’t have to stay in his job. We are so excited about sharing the possibilities with others!
When you have a program that is designed to produce results and you follow the program, you’re going to get the results. If you want to take care of the money thing, Financial Fitness is that program.
Congratulations to Dave and Judy DeShon for all of your success with the Financial Fitness Program! Your story is an inspiration to many!