I was recently inspired to ask another passionate debt free blogger to share his story on Enemy of Debt for all of you to enjoy. His comment was filled with passion, which you know I love, so I had to send him an invite. I know you will be as inspired by his debt free news as I was by all of his recent comments.
Have a wonderful DEBT FREE weekend!
Check out Steven Williams’ awesome debt free story. I think there’s a “bondage-free” revolution happening right now, won’t you join us?
His mission is to show families how to get out of debt. On his website he provides Four Videos and Workbooks absolutely FREE that will walk you step by step through the entire process. You can follow him on Twitter @thedebtsolution, or subscribe to his email updates.
Have a great weekend! 🙂
The Enemy of Debt Questionnaire – Steven Williams
How much debt did you have and how long did it take you to pay it off?
Our total debt was over $300,000 it took us 5 years to eliminate it, from 1994 to 1999.
How does becoming debt free actually feel? Does it feel better than you imagined it would?
Being debt free feels great! It feels better than I thought it would. My wife and I knew that we would have less financial stress when we became debt free.
But the unexpected results have been better health, more time with family, and no arguments between my wife and I. We only have small disagreements about some of the things our children do.
We’ve been able to home school each of our 3 daughters. We’ve been able to travel and see places that we’ve always wanted to see.
What were some of the struggles that you had to deal with along the way? Was there ever a time where you almost gave up?
When getting out of debt we struggled on how to do it at that time the internet was booming and there really wasn’t anyone talking about how to get out of debt.
Several times we wanted to give up because if you don’t have a plan it will make it very difficult. At the time we didn’t understand that we had to “Confess Our Debt” this is what I call it now. When I “Confessed My Debt” I admitted that I bought things to make myself feel important, to show off, and to feel better about myself.
By doing this I learned that I needed to feel good about myself without all the stuff. I also confessed that I was not paying enough attention to my wife, kids and to things that should be more important.
What would you consider to be the most important key to becoming debt free? What helped you the most?
The mental changes in my mind, were the most important keys to becoming debt free.
- Stabilizing our household. It doesn’t matter how much debt you have, how many debt collectors are calling your home, work or neighbors. Goal #1 must be a stabilization of the household. Figuring out how to pay the necessities such as rent/mortgage, electric, groceries and transportation. If these are taken care of that’s the foundation of starting a debt elimination program.
- Understanding why I was in debt. Accepting it without excuses.
- Setting personal and financial goals. By doing this I had no excuse for my spending. When we wanted to spend money, if it didn’t fit into our written personal and financial goals, we understood that we should not buy it. The other benefit to having the goals written down…is that it will counter-act the urges to spend when you really want to just buy something to feel good.
- Understanding how much we really owed and putting together a plan to pay it off, sell it, or just give it back.
There are more steps but these steps laid a great foundation.
It seems a lot of people have bought into the idea that debt is essential in order to prosper, what do you have to say to those people?
I say it’s absolutely not your fault! I was brought up the same way. We were taught that if you wanted something now get it on credit. This was passed down by our parents and other people we respected. We’ve been taught that it takes money to make money. So if you don’t have money you need to get a loan to get the money.
We were taught by car dealers, credit card companies, department stores, appliance stores, etc., that it’s only a small monthly payment, but we were never told that those SMALL MONTHLY PAYMENTS can add up and eat up all of our paycheck!
So I would say to anyone don’t take my word just do this very simple exercise. Take out a piece of paper and write down all the monthly payments you are making to consumer debt. Add them up and look at that number. Now I understand that most people can’t buy a house or a car with cash, so let’s just look at the payments on credit cards, furniture stores, department store cards, etc.
Even if that number is only $500 to $1,000 that’s a lot of money! And from my personal experience when you save that money more opportunities to save money will come your way.
What was the biggest sacrifice you would say you made in order to become debt free? What about you changed the most?
There were many sacrifices. At one time we had SIX vehicles. We sold four and gave one back (we had to pay the difference). I purchased a beat-up Subaru for $800 cash, and it was embarrassing.
We sacrificed on buying new clothes and we just stopped spending on things that we use to think were important.
The urges never go away! When we go to the mall sometimes I don’t buy anything. My daughter thinks I’m crazy but I’ve noticed that she’s doing the same thing when she’s out with her friends.
That’s very important because we learned from what our parents did. They could tell us not to go into debt, but if we saw them do it we were more likely to do it. CHILDREN LEARN FROM WHAT WE DO NOT FROM WHAT WE SAY.
What has changed the most about me. I’ve learned that I am really a giver! I support my mom which was a goal. I supported my wife with her goals (Arabian horse farm/business). I supported my daughters with their goals. I make the time to share with others how they can become debt free using what I’ve learned.
Something else that I learned by having enough money to do almost anything I want, was that I really didn’t want to do some of those things that I thought I wanted to do before. Such as: own a bunch of businesses, I only do businesses that I want to do regardless of the opportunity.
There are certain vehicles I thought I wanted but I still drive my 1994 Mercedes Benz S600 Coupe. (we still love cars my wife has a H2 Hummer and I also have a Land Rover but we live in Wisconsin we have a real winter season here. LOL 🙂
Did your friends and family give you a hard time about your new mission to eliminate the debt from your life? If so how did you deal with it? Do you think you inspired others by your journey?
My friends and family supported us with our decision. I always focus on the Christmas of 1994 because that’s when we decided to become debt free. We actually called my mother and mother in-law and told them that we were not going to use credit cards for Christmas that year.
If we couldn’t pay cash we were not going to buy it. They completely understood and the gifts were not a big deal to them. These are the little lessons that we learned about spending what you can afford to spend.
The mindset of a person that wants to buy something for someone else, is that if I don’t buy it they won’t understand, but they will understand if you tell them you can’t afford it. Remember there are probably things they can’t afford to buy so they will probably open up and tell you their financial problems too.
At that time my mom was struggling, I told her to only send my children a Christmas card and she told me to only send a Christmas card. We still have this agreement to this day. But I do send my mom money to make her life easier every month.
Getting out of debt is not only about money its about opening up and being real with your family and friends. They will understand and if they don’t they are not a good friend or family member.
I know I inspire others because people have told me I do. I’ve had business partners, and family members open up and tell me about their financial situation and I’ve helped them find a solution.
I have a mantra that I say daily part of which is: “I inspire those around me”. I’ve written that statement for 6 month’s more than 1,000 times including the rest of my mantra statement. My routine is to say it out loud 10 times a day and write it 10 times a day. I subconsciously believe this statement now.
What is next for you? What financial goals do you plan to accomplish?
I started a company called The Real Debt Solution, Inc. and I will be making a transition from my advertising magazine business to this new business.
My mission is to help families get out of debt and build wealth. My goals are very big.
- I want to give away $1,000,000 in financial information products and services. I’ve started that process with my video series. I’m going to reach out and network with as many people in the debt industry to find more solutions for families to utilize when working on becoming debt free.
- My overall financial goals are to see if I can make a $100 million dollar business. I want to challenge myself to see and feel the reward of working my body and mind to accomplish something really big.
Before I go I would like to thank www.enemyofdebt.com and Brad Chaffee for the opportunity to share my Debt Free News. When I got the request it really made my day!
Debt Free News From A Debt Free Reader Series
Debt Free News: The Kick Off – yours truly
Debt Free News From A Debt Free Reader #1 – Kelsalynn
Debt Free News From A Debt Free Reader #2 – Nick
Debt Free News From A Debt Free Reader #3 – Paul
Debt Free News From A Debt Free Reader #4 – Peter
Debt Free News From A Debt Free Reader #5 – J Money
Debt Free News From A Debt Free Reader #6 – Dustin
Debt Free News From A Debt Free Reader #7 – Fabian
Debt Free News From A Debt Free Reader #8 – Don
Debt Free News From A Debt Free Rreader #9 – Deacon Bradley
Debt Free News From A Debt Free Reader #10 – Golda
Debt Free News From A Debt Free Reader #11 – Clair Schwan
Debt Free News From A Debt Free Reader #12 – Jackie Beck
Debt Free News From A Debt Free Reader #13 – Steven Williams
More to come…but only if I get some new submissions! 😀