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Marriage Kids and Money

Are you looking to improve your family's financial wellness and create a life of true wealth and happiness? The Marriage Kids and Money Podcast is dedicated to helping you do just that. Each week, Andy Hill interviews millionaire parents, couples who have reached financial independence, and financial industry experts like Jill Schlesinger, Chris Hogan, Paula Pant, JL Collins and Rachel Cruze (the daughter of Dave Ramsey). These interviews are meant to provide you with easy-to-understand information and actionable takeaways you can use to give your family the life they deserve. With over 250 episodes and counting, Marriage Kids and Money has been the recipient of multiple awards such as "Best Family Finance Content" by Plutus and has been featured in major media outlets like US News and World Report, CNBC and Kiplingers. Show topics include everything from how to pay off your mortgage early to how to help your kids become future millionaires (who are generous). Join the family wealth-building conversation by listening to this 5-star rated family empowering podcast today!
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Are you looking to improve your family's financial wellness and create a life of true wealth and happiness?

The Marriage, Kids and Money Podcast is dedicated to helping you do just that. Each week, Andy Hill interviews millionaire parents, couples who have reached financial independence, and financial industry experts like Chris Hogan, Paula Pant, JL Collins and Rachel Cruze (the daughter of Dave Ramsey).

These interviews are meant to provide you with easy-to-understand information and actionable takeaways you can use to give your family the life they deserve.

With over 200 episodes and counting, Marriage, Kids and Money has been nominated as “Best Podcast of the Year” and been awarded “Best Family Finance Blog” by Plutus. Show topics include everything from how to pay off your mortgage early to how to help your kids become future millionaires (who are generous).

Join the family wealth-building conversation by listening to this 5-star rated family empowering podcast today!

Feb 10, 2020

Being neck-deep in debt can make you feel like all the odds are stacked against you, especially when you reach almost the seven figures!

Today, Andy talks to Wendy Mays on how her family is climbing out of nearly $1,000,000 of student loans, home mortgages, car loans, and other consumer debt. Wendy is the host of the House of FI podcast, a part-time work-from-home lawyer and a mother to six children. 

We talk about how she and her husband accumulated their debt, the turning point that led them to fix their situation and their progress on their journey to financial independence so far. 

https://youtu.be/oM965CZVM3Q



How they accumulated their debt

Wendy and her husband went to college and amassed a huge amount of student loan debt. They started their marriage with six-figures of debt, believing that they would eventually be able to pay it all off.

Wendy went to private law school and her husband earned degrees to support his teaching career. When it was all said and done, their total student loan debt was $330,000.

Every time they made more money, they would spend it. They ended up getting a beautiful house in San Diego with a $550,000 mortgage. On top of that, they had a few car loans and borrowed money to renovate their house. By the time they reached their 40's, this brought their total debt to nearly $1,000,000.

What made them want to improve their financial situation

After adopting four children, Wendy realized she wanted a lifestyle change so she could stay at home with the kids.

Wendy Mays and her familyWendy Mays with her husband Curtis and their six children

But she couldn’t figure out a way. Without her income, they wouldn’t be able to pay the debt. She felt very stuck and hopeless.

Her situation led her to Google a “laptop lifestyle”. One thing led to another and she discovered The Mad Fientist. After doing her research and learning as much as she could about financial independence, she figured out how she could save 50% of her income and improve her situation.

What steps they took to fix their situation

The first step was to reduce expenses. Wendy knew they had to be intentional with their spending. They eventually cut $10,000 from their monthly budget, while she was living on her lawyer's salary of $180,000 - $200,000 per year. Here's how they did it.

Build a Budget and Question Every Expense

To cut their spending down, they need to get aggressive. This meant looking at every dollar they were spending and finding ways to reduce it or eliminate it. By budgeting their monthly spending, this process became a lot clearer.

Reduced Spending on Food

Spending less on groceries and eating out became one of the first areas that they tackled. Their family, even with 8 family members, spent around $2,000 per month on food. It was too much in Wendy's opinion.

Erase the Debt

They attacked their debt with the Debt Snowball, and then they switched to Debt Avalanche for 2-3 years. The debt really took a huge cut after selling their house. 

Once the house was sold, the plan was to pay off all of their debt outside of their student loans and take what was left and get into real estate investing. They are now saving $1,100 per month on housing expenses by renting the place they live as opposed to buying another home.

Related Interview: 15 Ways to Save More Money When You’re Living Paycheck to Paycheck

Bringing the family on board

Was Wendy's family happy with this plan?

At first, Wendy’s husband was reluctant. But they had some important conversations about their future and eventually got on the same page. By sitting down and understanding their goals, they were able to work together. 

How about the kids?

Wendy and her husband have been teaching them about how to use money as a tool, about passive income and valuing experiences over material objects. By having little conversations here and there and talking about saving, she hopes they will grow up to be more financially aware. 

Related Interview: 5 Steps to Getting on the Same Financial Page as your Spouse

Their progress so far

When they first started out, their savings rate was 5-7%. Now it’s at a healthy 30%, with a goal to be retired at the age of 55.

They receive regular cash flow from their real estate properties (around $1,100 a month) and want to leave their retirement accounts as a legacy for their children.

Why real estate and not some other investment strategy? Because they found the financial independence movement in their mid-40s and realized that real estate investing would be the fastest method to get them to financial independence. 

In November 2019, Wendy retired from work (or semi-retired, since she has one client!) and is able to stay at home with her kids. Although they still have debt, it’s now their tenants that are helping them pay their student loans.

Related Interview: How We Paid Off $300,000 of Student Loans in 6 Years – with Okeoma Moronu

Wendy's advice for others tackling huge debt

If you’re someone struggling with a lot of debt, Wendy’s recommendation is to attack it as soon as possible. Look at your situation, evaluate your expenses and be willing to think outside the box. 

What is she hoping for her kids? She wants them to be able to get an education without drowning in student loans. She wants them to understand that saving is important and that you don’t need to spend everything you’ve got.

Wendy and her husband had a huge amount of debt but were able to fix their situation with intentional spending, careful planning and clever financial strategies. Their path to financial independence is now clear.


CLICK “PLAY” AT THE TOP OF THE POST TO LISTEN TO THIS INTERVIEW OR LISTEN ON:

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Carpe Diem Quote

"All the adversity I've had in my life, all my troubles and obstacles, have strengthened me."

Walt Disney


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Wendy Mays and her family


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