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When Karen and Scott got married, Karen had nearly $50,000 of non-mortgage debt. Scott, who was a Chicago firefighter at the time, jokingly referred to it as "a reverse dowry."
Years - Meeting - Scott - Karen - Breakup
Several years before meeting Scott, Karen had been through the breakup of a relationship she thought was headed toward marriage. "I decided that if I'm not getting married, at least I'm going to have a nice apartment. I can remember standing at the counter of a furniture store unrepentantly handing over my credit card. I thought, I deserve this couch; I'm going to get it. It didn't bother me one bit that I didn't have the money for it."
Making matters worse, Karen's freelance work made her income inconsistent.
Scott - Extent - Problems - Beginning - Turnaround
Telling Scott the full extent of her financial problems marked the beginning of her turnaround. "He was incredibly supportive. He said, ‘I'm not the guy who can rescue you, but I can walk through this with you.'"
Karen developed a personal budget, cut up her credit cards, accepted a full-time job with one of her clients, and started putting as much money as possible toward her debts.
Karen - Scott - Debt - Karen - Remembers
Once Karen and Scott got married, they began tackling the debt together. Karen remembers, "I kept referring to it as ‘my debt,' but Scott would correct me and say, ‘It's our debt.'"
One other notable part of their story is that they gave away 10 percent of their income throughout their journey of getting out of debt. Their experience provides powerful lessons for anyone wondering how they can give generously while paying down debt.
Commitment - Circumstances - Priorities - Karen - Scott
Make a Commitment: Instead of letting their circumstances dictate their financial priorities, Karen and Scott followed their commitments. As important as getting out of debt was to them, they understood the biblical teaching on "firstfruits" generosity (Proverbs 3:9), so they arranged their...
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