“Some debts are fun when you are acquiring them, but none are fun when you set about retiring them.” -Ogden Nash
According to Credit.com, the average American will spend over $280,000 on interest (to service debt) in their lifetime. That is a staggering number considering most people work hard their entire lives and will never see or have access to that hard-earned money.
However, when someone makes the decision to get out of the Financial Matrix, it’s as if the victory has already been won and they are no longer a debt-statistic. Orrin Woodward recently tweeted, “Whatsoever you have to do, put your whole mind into it and hold it there until it is done. This will make you successful in nearly anything.” The people who are learning the principles of financial truth taught in the Financial Fitness Program are doing just that, and completely changing their financial future.
One hundred percent of the people who are applying the 47 principles taught in the Financial Fitness Program are getting out of debt. How is that for a statistic? Stories are flooding in daily of people who have disciplined themselves and have made the decision to be a part of the debt-free club! Check out the most recent story featuring Richard and Cari Arnaud, shared through the voice of Cari.
Richard and Cari Arnaud’s Financial Fitness Success Story:
The beginning of our financial story begins in 2008, when our 10 year-old boys introduced Richard and I to each other at a summer hockey camp. Richard was newly divorced and living life as though he still had two incomes and was very attached to some of his things–the cars, motorcycle and ATV. I, on the other hand, had been a divorced single-mom since 2004. There had been many struggles and curve balls tossed along the way, but I had adapted to my lifestyle of living on a one income budget. As we got to know each other, we realized that we had very different viewpoints on money and spending habits.
Richard was quickly introduced to my single-mom grocery and thrift store shopping habits. We now view this as a great scavenger hunt. He reluctantly allowed me to take over the finances and we believe this kept us above water. In July of 2013, Richard became unemployed; but despite this set-back we moved ahead with our plans and took the plunge and got married. We were back to living on one income because of Richard’s job loss and had a bigger family to support now; but we learned to live within our means in order to stay afloat.
Around December of 2013, we were invited to a meeting that discussed some of the principles taught in the Financial Fitness Program. Several concepts were shared that evening, but I was particularly interested in the getting out of debt portion of the meeting. Richard was excited about the potential hope for a better financial future.
Shortly thereafter, Richard landed a job in our local area and we were back to two incomes. It was such a breath of fresh air. However, the luxury of an increase in income caused our spending habits to get out of control.
“We had officially fallen off of the wagon, and our spending and consumer debt had dramatically increased. We knew it was time to make some changes, so we invested in the Financial Fitness Program.”
We started by tracking where all of our money had been going for two months in order to determine what our spending habits were. Additionally, we started implementing a few other rules such as only paying for gas at the pump – this helped us cut-back on soda or snack purchases at the gas station. We were also able to compare the difference from having one income versus two incomes and how that impacted our budget. We cut out the unnecessary spending, such as eating out and cable TV. We drastically tightened up our budget and continued to apply the principles. The first hurdle was paying 10% to YOU, Inc (ourselves). It was a challenge for us to set that money aside and not touch it. We questioned whether our checking account could survive without it! There were a few bumps along the way but we found that the 10% became easier as we continued to apply the principles in the Financial Fitness Program. Richard’s new job had the potential for a bonus and we had originally planned to go on a trip to Mexico with a group of friends; but with the information we had been learning, we decided that it was not the best decision if we wanted to meet our goals. So, instead of going on a trip with Richard’s bonus, we were able to pay off our first credit card. This began the debt roll-down process.
“Richard has been a huge support for me throughout this entire process and he would often remind me that we needed to delay our gratification. His support and dedication has helped us both. He would likely say he only followed the rules we had determined to apply, but it’s been so much more than that.”
On our debt-freedom journey, we decided to have a finance meeting every 2 weeks and review and re-group on our spending; since we got paid every 2 weeks this worked best for us. Richard would often state, “If we delay now, we will have great later.” We are currently driving older cars that are completely paid off and still run great. Without the information and mentoring we have received, our old thinking probably would have cost us an unnecessary brand-new car and more debt.
With additional mentoring and many discussions, we decided to cash in a previous company stock to speed up our debt pay-down. Prior to this we had already paid off two credit cards; but by making this decision we were able to pay off every bit of interest bearing payments on any purchases we made–and we were finally able to get the $30,000 debt monkey off of our backs. We are now completely out of the Financial Matrix! Because of the Financial Fitness Program, we were able to free ourselves from the matrix several months earlier than we had originally planned. We are so thankful that our thinking and mindset has changed, and we are certain the path that we have chosen is the right one for us.
This has been an awesome life journey so far for us! Our next goal is to be able to live on half of our income!