About 20 years ago, we were pretty “Normal”. Dan was working and earning an income that was a little less than his outgo. After living like this for a number of years, he had acquired approximately $31,000 in credit card debt. Following conventional wisdom, he filed Chapter 13 bankruptcy and spent the next 5 ½ years with his checks garnished to pay off the bankruptcy. During this time, he found Dave Ramsey on the radio and halfheartedly listened to him. After “hearing” him for about three years, he finally started “listening”. He soon began attempting a monthly budget and actively started saving.
During the same period of time, Ann was financing her way through college and subsidizing her living with student loans and credit cards. She worked multiple jobs but always outspent her income. Living paycheck to paycheck and working the credit card available balances became a way of life. She tried debt consolidation twice but after each time, worked herself back into the cycle of debt. Robbing Peter to pay Paul was exhausting, but she didn’t know another way. When she graduated college, she had amassed approximately $95,000 in unsecured debt.
We met in the summer of 2001. Once it became apparent the relationship would progress, Dan introduced Ann to Dave Ramsey’s radio show and books. At this point, Dan had been working his new financial plan and had significant forward momentum. It was extremely important to him for their relationship to have this common footing. Once Ann learned more, she was hooked! It was such a relief to have a plan that would actually WORK!
By the time we married in 2004, Dan’s bankruptcy was discharged and Ann’s debt was down to approximately $75,000. We were both working full time and we made a decision. To the best of our ability, we would live on one income and use the other to become debt free. Thankfully, this plan was fully in motion when we learned we were expecting our first child 4 months into our marriage. This really kicked us into high gear because we deeply desired for one of us to be able to stay home with our children. Following Dave Ramsey’s sound financial principles, we successfully paid off all debt except for a $36,000 student loan and stockpiled cash to pay for the baby, hospital bills and such. As Ann transitioned from full time (paid) employment, we committed to maintain as much intensity as possible and eliminate the remainder of the debt. This was a little more difficult as we then had half the income as before. However, we had learned the pivotal principle: Managed money goes farther. About 18 months after our baby was born, we paid off the remainder of our debt!
As we navigated our own journey, a passion developed inside of us. We truly desired to see people utilize the knowledge and experience the freedom we found! In 2005, we began facilitating Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University in our church. Almost immediately, we noticed the need for a more personalized approach. Financial Peace University is an extraordinary class and every time we have led it, we have seen lives changed. But, oftentimes you need someone to know YOUR situation, YOUR struggles, YOUR goals and help discover the best strategy for YOU.
In 2010 (after leading Financial Peace University six different times in two different states) we had the opportunity to attend Dave Ramsey’s Financial Counselor training. What an incredible six days! During that time, we were equipped with the tools and knowledge to provide individualized coaching and Blueskies Financial Coaching was born. We are blessed beyond measure to do this work and through it witness dreams and goals achieved and lives being transformed!