Last week I read an article and got fired up, more on that later. Back in 2009 my wife and I were buried in debt. Pamela and I both came from very little so when we landed excellent elementary education teaching positions our future couldn’t have been brighter. But in New York teachers are required to have a Masters degree… and a couple of those in the State of New York do not come cheap, especially if you go to Nazareth like Pamela did at $768 per credit hour.
Add in undergraduate loans, a couple of car loans, a mortgage, home equity line of credit, personal loan and credit card and we were buried in over $200,000 in consumer debt. The cost of which was over $2,700 a month with more than 33% of that going to interest i.e. making the bank rich. Hardly the American dream… or was it?! Keep in mind I started teaching August 2001 and Pamela was hired in August 2004.
Bond 2009 monthly consumer debt
As you can imagine, over $200,000 in debt just after college is a difficult position to be in on a couple of teachers salaries. Being the competitor that I am… this monthly spreadsheet wore me down until I couldn’t take it anymore and I went looking for answers. It was at that time that my friend Nic introduced me to Dave Ramsey.
He suggested we start by reading the Total Money Makeover so we picked it up. I remember flying home from Florida that April and Pamela was reading the book on the plane when a gentlemen across the aisle leaned in and said, “Dave Ramsey, my wife and I completed his work… it was the best thing we ever did!” So Pamela and I set out on a mission… debt snowball and get to cash. I have to admit we were outside our comfort zone but I’m going to be honest… after reading another book by Dave Ramsey called Financial Peace we were sold.
Now listen, Dave’s one heck of a salesman… you read his books and you’ll see what I mean. But the guy flat out makes you want to get out of consumer debt. He makes you hate the banks… he’s like a professional Tyler Durden and man does that movie ever kick butt. Dave gets you so fired up you’re willing to change your lifestyle, location and even career to buck the trend. Honestly… it gives you a different way of looking at money and to be quite frank, I found it refreshing.
So my wife and I put our minds to it and after 2 long years of hard work we were 100% cash. Zero consumer debt and no open lines of credit. Our credit scores read N/A. This of course meant we couldn’t get a mortgage… everyone knows you must have an 800 credit score to get the best interest rates. So we rented a nice townhouse here in Fairport for the last two years. As you can imagine family and friends said we were throwing money down the drain but I knew better and focused on what was important… building a massive business to set us free.
After reading Dave’s material, I still laugh when people tell me having a mortgage isn’t the same as renting. They truly don’t think about the billions of dollars in advertising that went into making them think that way. But you can’t get a word in with these people… they are stuck unwilling to open their mind that the government actually wants you renting from the banks… and for 30 years at that or 40 if you read the article above. Did you know Japan has a 100 year mortgage? As Dave would say, “Do you really own your home? Try not making 3 mortgage payments and see who owns it!” I’m going to be honest, I’m not where I am today if Nic didn’t bring Dave Ramsey into my life.
Which brings me to my new house. Recently I wrote a check and bought my house cash. It’s not a big house… just a 3 bedroom colonial with 1 and 1/2 baths but at 35 years old I’ve completed the debt snowball and am building wealth for the first time in my life. If I can do this, you can do this. It was only 3 short years ago that I was buried in consumer debt, lived paycheck to paycheck, read Dave’s books and I decided to take control of my future by changing careers and bucking the trend. My service is designed to help people grow their portfolios… my hope is that if I’m successful in helping you… Dave Ramsey might help you figure out where to put those profits.
Bottom line… if you want financial freedom you have to fight for it… otherwise the government and big banks will bleed you out because it’s what’s good for them and not what’s good for you.
This isn’t the first time I’ve written about controversial topics like this and it won’t be the last. I have my beliefs and a platform, I’m going to use it to teach and help others, the way Tyler, Nic and Dave helped me. This is one of the longest blog posts I’ve ever written but I’m telling you, attaining financial freedom was one of the hardest things Pamela and I have ever done… but it’s worth the time and effort it’ll take you to get where I am today and I truly hope my service helps you get there.
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Well said, Jason and good luck to you both. I’ve said for years, no one ever really pays off a house and you have done it the correct way.
Great article for all of us to read and learn from even though I’m on the down hill side, I agree with Dave.
Great post. I’ve read Ramsey’s stuff as well. Love it. Steps in place and churnin forward! Thanks J. Hope this reaches many!
Oh, and nice work getting “Gazelle Intense!” 🙂 Seriously though. Nice work.
Heck ya Matt I’m stoked you like Ramsey too. Pamela and I did the online course too. “Gazelle Intense!” is awesome!!! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bowhyaBy1fo I took the free mallo cups in college when they had me sign up for the credit card ha.
Great Article Jason. For the past 2 years, my husband and I work to be debt free, no credit card, no line of credit, no car payments and no mortgage. The only thing we have left right now is just our mortgage under 100,000. Can’t wait to be debt free. We are working toward this. Our small business is also debt free. We operate on cash basis only. It requires a lot of works to be debt free and gain financial freedom. We haven’t read the book you mentioned. Sounds very interesting and will probably get it. I only set aside 5000 to trade for now, which eventually I believe will grow through your swing trade system and taking advantage of your affiliate program. Thank you for sharing your experience, and your knowledge and your intention to help your subscribers gain financial freedom.
God Bless You and Pamela
Excellent Christine, one small obstacle left and I know you’ll accomplish it. Dave’s books are very good and would be a solid support for you on that journey. The swing strategy works, small wins and roll the money over… it’s not a get rich quick system but neither is getting out of debt and going to cash. Anyway, thanks for helping me build my brand… the affiliate program can be a cash cow.
Ramsey rocks…cash is king…debt is a task master! This continues to prove what you are about JB…and those that find your service and are able to commit time and resources will be successful. You are doing a honorable and stellar job JB…well done bro!
Thanks Joseph I appreciate you saying so.
wow, excellent post!!!! For my wife and I it was Trent Hamm of The Simple Dollar fame. When I found his website we were barely able to make ends meet. Fast forward now 7 years we just bought our second car cash, have no debt and savings in the bank. Thank you so much Trent!
Awesome Rob, great story and thanks for sharing.
Good luck to you and congradulations on your new house.
JB – I am new to your service and, at 28, a young investor. I just want to thank you for sharing this transparent story and recommending the book. Gonna pick it up this weekend. Your dedication to our success is clear, and your accomplishments are the ROI of your hard work. Congrats on the new house and thanks for the motivation to follow in your footsteps!
Thanks Darren, keep me posted if you have any question, I 100% honest when I say it was the best financial book I’ve ever read… but that’s probably because I was buried in debt at the time.
It’s funny how coincidence works. I stumbled accross Dave Ramsey’s book around the same time I stumbled on your website. I ordered two of Dave’s books right after I joined JBP (same spot….a few minutes appart). And now, reading this post from you, I know that something is definitely in the works for my future financial well being. At this point we have cut up all our credit cards but one….have paid off one of our cars and using only cash….refinanced our mortgage to a 4% rate from 6.75%. We are using the savings on the mortgage to snowball pay the credit cards. We are getting there slowly but surely.
Thank you for sharing this story, it really made my day. Now you’re not only my role model in investing but my all around financial independance role model….I cannot wait that day when I’ ll walk into my bank and pull out my checkbook and write a check for the balance of my mortgage.
Again thank you for the inspiration. God Bless and congrats on the new house.
Excellent and good luck Thierno… I’m sure it can be accomplished 8)
Hi Jason Bond, what i am about to tell you and your readers will probobly shock and amaze you !!!! I was a HUGE and I mean HUGE Dave Ramsey listener, I used his baby steps method to get out of debt, I did it a little differently because I had discipline, I transferred all of my credit cards to ZERO % offers and every single time I did a BALANCE TRANSFER they never once asked what I owed !!! They really didn’t care , so once I was out of credit card debt, I tried a little scheme which was totally 100% legal. I took a ZERO% credit card and called them on the phone and said I want to do a balance transfer to my credit union visa card, I sent $20,000 to that credit union card that I didn’t even have a debt on !!!! Now think about what I just said !!!! I called the credit card at my credit union and said send me the $20,000 to my house in a check !!! Now I had $20,000 cash in my hands at ZERO % money which usually they charge 20% cash back !!!! But since I figured out this loophole I got the cash at ZERO% in my hand !!!! I did this over and over and over and took out $250,000 on 7 credit cards and all at ZERO % money !!!! I took the money and opened up a 5.5% C.D. and made around $10,000 profit the 1st year. This was about 5 years ago when all the ZERO% money was around and so were the high 5% CD’s . THOSE WERE VERY GOOD TIMES !!!! So the moral of this story is cut up your credit cards like Dave Ramsey says BUT if you are disciplined MAKE A HECK OF A LOT OF MONEY FROM YOU CREDIT CARDS by LEVERAGING SAFELY !!!! GOOD LUCK !!!!
Being debt free is great but there are times that “paying rent to the bank for 30 years” makes sense.
Inflation and perhaps hyperinflation is likely to affect America for the next decade as it inflates its way out of its massive debt. During times of inflation it makes sense to purchase an asset that keeps pace with inflation, money in the bank or your trading account is not likely to do that unless you are fully invested all of the time.
A very successful strategy to build wealth during times of inflation is to purchase an investment property (with the help of the bank if necessary) and as inflation works its magic the value of that asset will increase as will the rent you get from it to pay the mortgage and other holding costs. After a suitable period of time you withdraw equity from that property to purchase one or two more investment properties. Inflation continues to do it thing and you repeat the process. At the end when you have ten or more investment properties you sell one or two to pay out the remaining debt on the other properties and you end up debt free with an extensive property asset base.
This system was used by many people in Australia in the 1970s and 1980s during times of high inflation to build wealth with the help of the bank. The debt owed to the bank that seemed so large at the time becomes inconsequential because of the affects of inflation and you now have multiple assets that have increased in value rather than losing their value because of the affects of inflation.
LOL congrats JB. Getting everything in cash definitely does have its benefits, but I prefer using and building up credit IF I could have got it cash anyway, then you can keep leveraging your cash as a tool. All cash in house means no trading after all. Of course that’s the mentality that started Americans into this mess and soon rolled into house = ATM to buy flat screen TV’s at peak prices that you don’t need etc. instead of credit as a means to make money. I’m gonna make the exception on the house since my home is my base and I lose big when people can mess with that. I’ve definitely learned that the hard way.
Anyhow, I still stop by every now and then, but learned the first time to come back with at least a 5 figure bankroll to really get the most out of your strategy. That might happen this month. Fingers crossed 🙂
Not that you should carry a balance if you don’t have a way to generate and grow capital at a higher rate than the rate of interest (adjusted for risk), but mortgages are great.
Save up a year worth of rent payments and use that to buy a 2 bedroom house/condo/apartment and get a roommate who pays you rent and after the 12 months of savings or whatever, the amount saved every month will easily pay for itself in 3 years time including the time in which you are saving the money.