Debt Free by 40: Escaping the Debt Monster

How Did I Get Here?

If you are in debt it is likely that you have wondered to yourself, how in the world did I get here? What happened? Where did I go wrong? Sometimes there is a sense of guilt and shame over your financials. You don’t want anyone to know. Everyone on social media seems to be living their best life, what about me? This was me.

One morning I woke up and was overwhelmed by the weight of my debt. It felt like I couldn’t breathe. In most people’s eyes I was a successful young eye doctor. In my eyes I was a fraud. Broker than a joke, with a lower net worth than a homeless person (zero was more hopeful than -$500K!).  I had every kind of debt: student loan, business, mortgage, car loan, and credit cards. The only debt it seemed like I didn’t have was a payday loan! Where did I go wrong? Had I missed God’s voice or direction? Was this the life I was destined to live?

Making the Decision to Change

There comes a time in your life when you come to a crossroad. You have the choice to continue along the path that you are on or go in a different direction. It takes courage to change course. It takes courage to believe that your current situation is not your ultimate destination. Sometimes you are just  so tired that you are forced to do something else.

The LORD your God will bless you as he has promised. You will lend money to many nations but will never need to borrow. You will rule many nations, but they will not rule over you. -Deuteronomy 15:6 (New Living Translation)

Well this is what happened to me. I was working so hard to try and keep all the balls in the air and all the bills paid. I knew something had to give. I had been reading the Bible and I knew I was supposed to be the lender and not the borrower. However, the debt was so heavy I didn’t see how that statement could ever apply to me. I can say I am a pro at mustard seed faith. I always seem to have way more doubt than faith. However, I realize that just a little pinch of real faith can somehow be enough to get me to take the 1st step. Fortunately for all of us, that’s all God needs!

Doing the Work

It takes a lot of work to get out of debt. It requires self-sacrifice, self-discipline, budgeting, endurance, and prayer. There will be temptations, critics, and “haters.” There will also be the battle in your mind. You will question if it’s worth it and is it attainable.

My husband and I prayed, and I read finance books continuously to try to stay on focus. I started a small Facebook group and even started teaching finance classes at my church to keep my eye on the prize.  I did anything I could do to keep focused and not give up, or even worse encounter more debt. The method we used was the debt snowball and added any extra we could help it out. The Lord blessed our business and it started to prosper we put all extra toward the debt.  Before we knew it, the credit cards and car loans were paid. Then the business debt was paid. Next the student loan was paid and finally our mortgage was gone!!!!!!  Wow what a little pinch of faith can do!

The Fruit is So Sweet

If being debt free is your desire I encourage to walk out on faith, trust the Lord, and watch him go to work on your behalf. When the debt is gone, the freedom you feel is indescribable. You really don’t realize how much debt weighed, until it is gone.  The fruit you receive is called peace. It is ripe, sweet, and oh so delicious.   

My goal was to be debt free by 40 but God chose 38. As I soon approach my 40th birthday I am still amazed at the grace I have been shown. There is no other explanation other than Faith plus Divine intervention to explain the miracle that happened in my life. It was mathematically impossible. Fortunately, God specializes in impossible situations.  I want you to understand that there is nothing special about me. The good news is that if He can do it for me with all my doubts, He can do it for you.

My mission is to teach you how to manage money using biblical principles so that you can build generational wealth.

Join me on future blogs as we walk through this finance journey together. Like many I didn’t have family that knew about finances to teach me. My mission is to teach you how to manage money using biblical principles so that you can build generational wealth.

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5 Steps to Create a Get out of Debt Plan

In the blog, Living in Captivity, we were able to analyze our current situation and recognize whether we had been taken captive by the debt monster. If you realized you were a taken now is the time to plan your escape.

  1. Admit you are in captivity and understand there is no “good debt” – The first step to achieve anything is to first admit that you have a problem. If you don’t see that you have a problem and are content with your financial situation, there is no need to do anything.  The definition of debt clear. If you have borrowed money and you owe someone you are in debt. However, in society it is a tricky topic. There are all these talks of “good debt.” I would argue that there is bad and “not so bad debt.” I have heard business debt, student loans, and mortgages are all good debt for various reasons. Some argue in support of them for the tax savings. I have been advised to keep my lower interest loans in order to invest in the stock market instead. Both of these reasons are risky as tax laws change all the time and we all know the stock market has no guaranteed return. Those who look at you strangely and question you for to be totally debt free mortgage. Warning you have to question the motives of who is talking. We have almost been brainwashed about debt that it is good. When we are the only generation in the history of humanization that carried significant debt and thought it was good

2. No new debt: This one seems pretty straight forward; however it is one I must touch on. I was teaching a financial class and I was about a third in when a student raised their had and asked the question. So when do I stop using my credit card? I had made an assumption they that not taking out any more debt was understood. I won’t make that same mistake here. To get out of debt even in the planning stages you need to stop accumulating debt. If you are using a credit card to pay your normal living expenses and not paying it off fully every month you are still accumulating debt. That means you are spending more than you are making. The solution is to increase income or decrease your expenses.  to stop accumulating debt immediate.

3. Commit to freedom: Make up in your mind that you want to be free and that you will be free.

4.Find some weapons: The Debt Monster is strong and doesn’t want to let you go. He loves how hard you work everyday to make him happy.  You  make him feel good when you pay him his  fees and interest every month. You will have to get your mind together start gathering your weapons. You weapons this time are educational resources, support groups, accountability partners.    The Word of God, Dave Ramsey, Suze Orman, Dfree, Millionaire Next door

5. Pull the trigger: Its time to pull trigger and let the Debt monster know he has fight on his hands. That you will now longer silently remain his slave.

How to Escape the Debt Monster

Part 1: Living in Captivity

The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is slave to the lender.

Proverbs 22:7

The topic of debt is one that is very close to my heart, because I know the pain, shame, and fear it can cause. There was a time in my life where I had so much debt, I felt like I was drowning. No matter how I tried to float, I went down a little deeper. I had student loans, mortgages, credit cards, car notes, business loans, and even a timeshare! Yes, most of them have an (s) on the end because there were multiple.  I was smart and educated with a truckload of debt.  My family didn’t really teach me anything about money, so when the lenders offered me a free umbrella, I was easy prey. Prior to feeling the sting of debt, I was happy when I got approved. I was excited that the bankers believed in me. I believed they we on my side and would never give me a loan I couldn’t afford to pay.

One day I woke up and realized I had been taken captive by the debt monster.  I had been lured deeper and deeper into his cave to the point I couldn’t see any escape.  It had seemed nice at first, but soon I started to feel the chains and the weights he had put on me. I had become the debt monster’s slave.  I couldn’t miss a day of work, get sick, or take a long vacation because I had to pay the monster his money. At the height of my debt load I was paying $50 a day in interest. That’s $18,250 a year! Just flushing $18,250 a year down the toilet to keep him happy.

Total Consumer Debt: $13.51 trillion (2018)

If the stats are correct, then many of you reading this blog are also living in captivity. The debt monster has made debt seem so normal that many of us can’t even picture ourselves without it. The idea of owning a home without a mortgage or buying a car with no car note is hard to imagine.  In America debt is what we do, our National Debt reached $22 trillion in 2019.  Our total consumer debt including mortgages ($9.14 trillion), auto ($1.65 trillion), student loans ($1.44 trillion), and credit cards ($829 billion) now totals a staggering $13.51 trillion. [ According to the New York Federal Reserve in the third quarter of 2018]. The average American household carries $137,063 of consumer debt.

Part 1 of 5

If you are living in captivity and have the desire to be free this blog is for you. The blog, “How to Escape the Debt Monster” is divided into 5 parts:

  1. Living in Captivity
  2. Planning an Escape
  3. The Great Escape
  4. Debt Free Living! 
  5. Staying Debt Free

Tune in frequently, follow, share, and subscribe to our email list to make sure you and your loved ones don’t miss the next episode. Til next time don’t let the debt monster know that we will be “Planning an Escape!”

Dr. Sylvia Jones
Vision Provider

Dr. Sylvia Jones is a wife, mom, eye doctor, blogger and entrepreneur . She has a passion for training and mentoring others on how to build wealth and create their own strong economy. She is the CEO of Divine Family Eyecare, Inc and the Founder and CEO of Violet Eyewear, LLC. Come along on her journey as she builds her companies and shares her wisdom along the way.

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