“It is costing Americans half as much to live beyond their means as it did ten years ago.” – Chris Brady
According to several sources, a baby born today will shoulder $39,500 worth of debt by the time it is born due to the government’s inability to spend within its means – a poor habit that has also been developed by millions of Americans today. Even worse, by the time that child graduates from college, his share of the U.S. debt will be a sickening $142,000. That number is unattached to any lifestyle and personal financial decisions made throughout those years. To say that we are in a “debt crisis in America” is an understatement. Americans today are in a debt epidemic. An unknown quote that’s been floating around social media states, “Modern slaves are not in CHAINS; they are in DEBT.” Orrin Woodward shares some of the truth behind these cultural changes in his book, The Financial Matrix. Thankfully, the Financial Fitness Program is helping people to break this cycle of of poor financial thinking in order to get out of debt and stay out of debt.
That is why it is so inspiring to hear the stories of people whose lives have changed because they decided to apply new information to get different results in their finances. Check out Mike and Karen Burns Financial Fitness journey, written by Mike:
Our journey began in 2012 when we were first introduced to Life Leadership. My initial desire was to learn how to create an additional income. My wife and I purchased the small green box called The Financial Fitness Program. She read the book (in 2 days), while I listened to the audios. Within those two days, we began to realize that we had found a way out of the mess we had made of our finances.
30 years ago, as a young couple just getting started out in life together, Karen and I had followed what we believed and witnessed from the generation before us. We were never taught in school or by our parents how to handle money or budgets. We purchased/financed a home, we drove nice cars, we had nice things and we did all of this because it was all that we knew.
“We were taught, if you can afford the payments then you can go ahead and buy it; these purchases were ‘investments’ in our future; debt was something you lived with, as long as you could manage it. We didn’t understand and were naïve to what we now know as the Financial Matrix and it had a firm grip on us. We had become a slave to our payments; just barely getting by was the norm.”
As the years went by, and the debt grew out of control, the frustration began to build. I continued to ask myself what was going on?! What were we doing wrong?! When looking at our situation, we realized we both had good paying jobs/careers, however, there never seemed to be any money left at the end of the week or at the end of the month. I remember comparing myself to others in our circle who appeared to be in the same economic position as us and yet they had even nicer cars, went on more vacations and had even more toys!
What we know now is that one of two things were going on: they were either stretched thinner than we were – financing – making higher payments more frequently, OR, they had better financial information and discipline than us. Unfortunately, most of these people were in more financial debt than we were. But we knew we couldn’t help others until we helped ourselves first. Because we had so much debt, there was never any thought of saving money; we were only making the minimal payments on our consumer loans.
The Financial Fitness Program literally opened a door of fresh financial air. When I brought the pack home and showed it to Karen she took the book and immediately started reading it. I knew then that we were going to win at this because we both wanted the same thing: debt freedom and financial freedom.
We started on the basic concepts of paying ourselves first. It took a lot of discipline. Then we noticed the small sacrifices were paying off huge in a very short amount of time. It snowballed and now the little disciplines are second nature to us and it no longer feels like a sacrifice.
We used the principle of “snowball” payments to work on the loans and before we knew it, one was already gone, then another, and finally in January of 2016, we made our last car payment. We had managed to pay off three cars and a motorcycle to the tune of around $50,000 in approximately 18 months all the while putting money into a savings account, which we had never been able to do before. We have also been able to pay down medical bills and other miscellaneous consumer debt.
It has been documented that the average American has less than $500 in a savings account. That was us before Financial Fitness. By practicing the basic principle of paying ourselves first, we were able to grow an actual savings account 5000% that just a few short years ago would have been the equivalent to winning the lottery for us. It’s just crazy what a little financial literacy can do for you. The best part is we are just getting warmed up. Imagine what we can do in the next couple of years.
It’s a shame that so many others still believe and are blinded by the Financial Matrix. That is why our mission is to lead as many people to the Financial Fitness Program so they, too, can have the hope that we now have.
Mike and Karen Burns are becoming true heroes in a society that has bought into a completely different set of principles. They are paving the way for so many others to follow in their footsteps and we are proud of them for applying the Financial Fitness Program into their lives in order to get out of debt and stay out of debt.