how we got out of debt and never looked back


Y'all! We were in a heap of mess and didn't even know it.  It was September 2008 and we had just bought our first house and a brand new Mini Cooper S both with no money down.  The bank approved us, so we must be credit-worthy, right?!  I was a Lieutenant in the United States Public Health Service and Andre had just been activated to deploy to Iraq.  Everything was fine and good until a friend suggested I listen to the Dave Ramsey podcast.  It was entertaining listening, but it didn't hit my heart at first.  What Dave said was logical, but did it really apply to me?  Was I really in a mess?  Then I finally calculated our debt:  $68,000 not including the house!  I was sitting in the waiting area at my gate at Stewart International Airport when it hit me - I need to stop all retirement savings immediately and pay off this debt like my life depended on it, because it did.  Andre and I could email each other pretty easily but phone calls were fewer and farther between while he was in Iraq.  I emailed him my crazy idea to get out of debt while I lived in PA on two incomes and he lived in Iraq with no income.  I made a budget and stuck to it month in and month out.  Crazily enough, Andre's Chaplain in Iraq was running a Financial Peace University course for the soldiers and Andre was interested.  Maybe when he came back, we could attend a class.

Fast forward a year and Andre has returned safely (thank God)!  We got on board with a budget we both approved and went full speed ahead to get rid of our debt. By June 2010, we were coordinating a Financial Peace University class with some friends from church who had taken me up on my challenge to live debt-free.  During that class we did our Debt-Free scream along with three other families who had totally eliminated their debt except for their mortgage.  In the process of getting out of debt, we cut up and closed every credit card we owned and have not looked back.  We have had no need or desire to get back into debt by borrowing money from a company that makes more on interest than we make at our local bank.  

Since 2010, Andre and I have hosted two more FPU classes and continue to walk with friends as they get out of debt.  I can't wait to meet you and help you on your journey to debt-freedom and financial peace!

Rachel and Andre Rivera - Vera Financial Coaching: Hamilton, Robbinsville, Trenton, Princeton, Mercer County, New Jersey