thank you for joining me on another
edition of the SeedTime Living Podcast I’m your host Bob Lotich and I am
thrilled that you are here today with us and I am also really thrilled that I get
to bring on one of my role models I’ve looked up to for years and who has just
had a really big impact on society as a whole in terms of helping people pay off
debt anyway without any further ado her name is Mary Hunt and she is
best-selling author who sold millions of books which is really interesting to me
as I’m working on writing my first one this year so and you might know where
from her website Debt Proof Living which has been helping people get out of debt
since forever basically anyway so Mary thank you for
taking a few minutes of your time and joining me on the podcast Bob this is my
pleasure I am so excited to be here and hear you your comments it’s very
humbling to me and I’m glad we finally were able to to make this podcast yeah
yeah definitely Debt Proof Living I understand that was like I mean old
school like almost before the internet like you were doing it as like a
newsletter is that correct that’s right it started as Cheapskate Monthly you
might remember that that name we changed it because I discovered that this whole
journey is more than just being about cheap you could have a reason just spend
less than you earn and so the whole idea of Debt Proof Living it’s a way of life yeah great so I want to ask you a few questions and talk a little bit about some of the
things that you overcame personally and then also just how we can better help
people live without debt I mean that’s something that has been really important
to our family like we paid off all of our debt and all things being equal I
much prefer to live debt-free and with debt and I just think that’s a really
great way to live and anyway first question for you and this is kind of I’m
just coming at you right out of the chute here okay what I can handle it
okay great so what I’d like to hear from you is a decision that you made or a
change in maybe a belief that you had and over your entire financial life like
which one or two have been some of the most important ones
that’s such a difficult question because for me in one moment my life changed it
didn’t happen overnight that I became so enamored with money as a child and I
think that there was something’s lacking and we’ll never know for sure and I
don’t choose to regret at all but I think that I grew up with a hole in my
heart you know most people would say well that’s where God needs to fit and
that’s absolutely true but I was raised in a pastor’s family so it wasn’t that I
was void of spiritual training but in some way I tried to fill a very empty
lonely sad place in my life with money and as a you know as a 11 year old child
how do you do that so I dreamed I planned and I fantasized about money and
when I would get away from home and boy I’ll tell you something even as a
believer which I’m I’m sure that I had an experience as a child but it wasn’t
as much much older that that became very real to me and Jesus Christ became the
lord of my life but it was through all of that that I realized that I was
trying I could never make enough money to make my said you can’t make yourself
happy with money I mean you cannot fill that part of your life and and boy did I
try and I nearly ruined my life nearly ruined my marriage and everything
but came to that point where I had to just realize that and this was tough one
the pain of the debt had to become greater than the pleasure of the
purchasing and the spending and I’m telling you something that pleasure
principle for me was just overwhelming and I have learned over the years that I
don’t think I’m alone our society culture doesn’t do anything to stop that
it makes it so available so I just got really wrapped up into a very very
kind of horrible place in my life and of course it pains me to even say the words
because it’s just so emotional to me but I was I drifted farther and farther and
farther from the Lord because what I was doing in deceiving my husband and
running up his horrible debt in lying to creditors to live living this terrible
double lifestyle was so contrary to God’s Word of course I would flee from
that you know the last thing I wanted was something that would remind me that
was a very long answer to a very short question no no that’s great I love that I appreciate you sharing all that so if I remember reading right you paid off over a
hundred k of debt like as you kind of transitioned right absolutely and it
that my turning point I can tell you the exact date was September the 17th 1982
I mean you know I can just I can tell you right when it happened was when my
whole life fell apart and I thought there was no redemption and God I think
I had to get to that place where he could finally get my attention and it
was an overnight experience for me I can’t say that the debt was paid back
didn’t even know how much debt it was my husband and I neither one had a job we
were unemployed we had two little boys for whom I was trying to live this rich
lifestyle for them of course it was terrifying and Bob it was a point that
I knew God had forgiven me all the scripture verses I had learned as a
child came pouring back to me my grace is sufficient if you only confess your
sins I am faithful to just to forgive your sins in and I had to look at it
that way but but you know what he didn’t land $100,000 on my front porch which is
the amount well it was actually more than that that I had run up in unpaid
credit card debt now who knows how much I had yeah you know but that that’s
where we were and no jobs it was a completely hopeless situation and as the
world would say the only thing we should have done was to file bankruptcy which
we didn’t it was too embarrassing no it wasn’t it was not a thought in my mind
to ever do that I made a promise to God that I would do whatever it took to pay
back the debt and Bob first time of my life I really meant what I said I was in that much pain and and I was so assured of God’s forgiveness and it was a long journey we didn’t tell
anybody my husband’s parents my parents none of our families none of us none of them knew what we had I went back to work they knew that we had lost a business
you know just your typical stuff that young inexperienced people went through
but no idea about the debt and we worked on this debt are you ready for 10 long
years before anyone ever knew crazy my husband a gift from God
you know he’s stuck with me we’ve been married oh I can’t even – I’m afraid to
tell you this we will be married 50 years in June congratulations and that is the miracle of God’s grace absolutely so it was at the end of ten years we still had
12,000 to pay back and that’s when we had by then opened up a real estate
company see God your life goes on our boys became teenagers they went one of
them went to college during those years we actually moved into another house
bought another house so life goes on we had a plan and a plan that really really
really worked and that’s joy of my life is to lead others out of debt yeah
the thing about bankruptcy because this is an interesting question that I get a
lot I’m sure you get a lot too particularly for Christians it’s easy to
just say you know a Christian should never filed for bankruptcy because he
should pay back what he owes we have you know scriptures and verses kind of you
know to reference with this but then for those of us who have never been to that
situation like that you know like I’ve been in debt like we had some good
amount of debt but that was never really something we considered we just never
got to that point I mean but the amount of debt you had is something is very
reasonable in our society to consider bankruptcy how do you talk to readers
who find themselves in a situation that you know for all practical purposes
isn’t possible but obviously we serve the God of the impossible but I mean how
do you handle that I tell believers and non-believers is
the same I think it’s the same if you have any other choice you dare not file
for bankruptcy it would be morally and ethically the wrong thing to do and as a
believer absolutely and when I say if you have any other way because our laws
too have changed over the years since I’ve been doing this they’ve made it
much more difficult to file for bankruptcy you have to go to a judge and
a judge your situation and often they put you into a rehab program you know
where you are restructured and all of that but I tell people that you have
many many choices that you may not have consent well maybe not many many but
there are choices here you may not have you looked at credit counseling have you
looked to refinancing of any of that if you know if you’re on that careless road
your credit score is probably trashed and a lot of options have now escaped
you but for people who say I don’t know let’s see shall I file for bankruptcy or
should I take out a home equity loan in the house or should I do this or should
I do that if you I should I should yeah you’re not ready
for that but let me let me be quick to say not
only do the laws in our country allow for bankruptcy I think that that is a
principle that goes harkens back to biblical times I mean God made a
provision for us and I think that as a as a person of faith if it comes to the
point where you are advised by counselors you know I don’t know who
those counselors might be but have wisdom and you trust and you believe
that they are honoring God and they are advising you to do this I think you
thank God for that escape route and then you humbly before him do everything you
can to make sure you never go there again ask his forgiveness and as he
blesses you in the future now this is just Mary Hunt talking this not the
Bible not this is not US IRS code or any of that I’m just saying I think you have
an obligation to pay it back now why your creditors might close the
book on that and they’re not allowed to take repayment because they’ve
already charged off or the IRS you know won’t open those books anymore there are
certainly ways that you can do this in the future
and I have known of people who God is blessed they have gone on to to have
roaring business or a great job where they are living below their means and they are
are giving back and they are helping people in remembrance of where they were
and the depth that they were forgiven yeah yeah I mean I it’s funny I I feel
the same way I’ve said the same thing and you know and again it’s one of the
things I say timidly because I haven’t been in the situation but that is my
belief that we can’t go wrong honoring God’s principles and so if God said to
do it and we do it I just I believe that he’s going to make a way you know in
that it’s going to be to our benefit you know exactly so yeah that’s right and
you know I have thought about this a lot and people talked to me about it and I’m
grateful I am so grateful that we were I’ll say it too stupid to think about
bankruptcy too emotionally thought too embarrassed too proud to be in whatever
it was because I’m pretty sure Bob had I not gone through the difficult times I
mean it was a it was a rough journey it was a joyful journey it was a healing
journey it was a life-changing journey but it was hard if I had not done that I
fear that I would have been one of the statistics say that once you filed for
bankruptcy statistically your chances of doing it
again increased by 50% and I would have been right back there because it would
have been too easy yeah yeah I mean and I think at least I noticed from a decent
amount of readers who emailed I don’t think they understand the long-term
repercussions of filing for bankruptcy like it it’s not just a quick fix and then
it’s done and you have a clean slate you know I mean that haunts you that follows
you for years and it affects a lot of different purchasing decisions that
you’re able to make you know for years and years and this is an education thing
where I think a lot of people just don’t know and they think it’s just clean
slate good as new you know and it’s like but most people assume and I did for quite awhile is that it’s reported to your credit report for 10 years but then at the end of 10 years
unlike a charge off unlike it 60 days late or something else that just
disappears bankruptcy is a permanent document it is on your record forever
it’s like a divorce decree it’s like a birth certificate it is always there and
forever even on a job application they used to be able to ask you I don’t know
if they can anymore have you ever filed for bankruptcy you
will always be on a mortgage application you will always be on a car finance
they’re always going to ask you and it doesn’t say in the last 10 years it says
ever so it’s a black eye forever yeah all right so I want to turn this just a
little bit and go a little bit of a different direction here here’s what I’d
like to find out from you because of your unique experience working with so
many people who have paid off debt I would like to know what some of the
common denominators are of people who you have seen who have successfully paid
off debt oh this is quite easy they do not live from paycheck to paycheck they
have some money in the bank it may be enough to pay their expenses for
three months like we hear is pretty common what you need to have but even
some amount of money in the bank changes your attitude even if you aren’t willing
to say that you feel dirt poor you feel that way when you have no money
in the bank and you’ve got a lot of debt and our emotions play a lot into it so
money in the bank some amount and I don’t mean in your sock drawer
I mean really truly in a savings account even if it’s $400 $500 that is like an
anchor it’s like a life preserver out in the middle of the ocean it’s something
to hold onto so that that’s one characteristic the next characteristic
is that they are willing to take it slow now I know the one thing we want to do
is we want to get out of debt so fast and so we go on these binges it’s almost
like a crash diet where we’re never gonna eat out again we’re never having
your clothes whenever the kids are you never gone on vacation we’re never gonna
do Christmas all of that until we’re out of debt you can white knuckle that for a
little while but I have seen this happen so many times it’s like going on that
diet where you’re never ever gonna eat another carbohydrate you know you can’t
do that forever it’s not sustainable and getting out of debt I think needs to be
like a slow cooker not a pressure cooker it’s got to be a slow cooker and you’ve
got to have a plan that you’re willing to stick to and there has to be joyful
moments along the way I alluded to that it took us 20 13 years to pay off the
$100,000 plus all of the interest and then it took us another seven years to
pay off a mortgage but we like you were debt-free and I’m telling you oh my gosh
it’s more than just joyful it is life-changing it has impacted ours
anyway so that’s the second character they’re willing to take it low and slow
the third characteristic is they have a way to be accountable now I don’t mean
having to meet with someone and check it off but I have found this place people
find me as their accountability factor people who’ve never met me I mean they
they adopt my rapid debt repayment plan they become members of my depth of
living website and also I have a free site called Everyday Cheapskate which is
more fun than anything but anyway they find me there and they
write to me and over the years I have spent countless hours just communicating
back and forth with people here I’m here I know where you are I’m so happy that
you you paid off one more credit card and we have little love fests and that’s
important it’s important to know that you’re on a journey and you’re not alone
and so any way that you can do that and some people are hesitant to be that open
with a person like you know money is very personal to many of us and so that
that’s the next thing is that you’ve got to have some money in the bank to keep
you afloat you’re not gonna use it it’s just there because it changes everything
you’re gonna go slow you’re gonna go according to a plan you’re not gonna go
crazy like when you get your tax return you’re not gonna throw it all to that
one visa bill just to get it no you’re gonna stick to your plan because every
dollar that comes into your life according to the debt of living plan
has a purpose and you treat every single dollar in the same way and that is the
way that’s sustainable and I see people take longer than I did longer than ten
years but they made it and I’ll tell you what they’re never going back yeah yeah
our plan was very much like that and we definitely made some major sacrifices
and life changes but I’m really thankful that I was thinking along those lines in
terms of having milestones having reasons to celebrate and while we did
cut back a lot we still celebrated by going out to dinner here and there and
that was essential for us and you know I’ve noticed absolutely this is one of
the things where I’ve been doing learning more and more about the
Enneagram lately like you know so many people and I’m fascinated by some of the
different personalities that we all have and yet I’ve noticed that different
people respond differently so some people who I’ve talked to kind of help
them work through paying off their debt have a stronger tendency towards maybe
the rabbit in the tale of the hare and the tortoise where I just want to run as fast as I can and then they
just kind of get distracted yeah and I bet you that they’re that way in other areas of their life too you know like taking a course going to school health diet gymnasium all that kind of thing one thing that I really want people to hear
especially if you have a family if you’ve got children as you’re going
through this you’re not gonna get those years back
and so to sacrifice birthday parties to sacrifice Christmas to sacrifice family
vacations I am just so adamant about this that we don’t eliminate any area of
spending from our lives unless you’re you know a gambler or something I don’t
know something nefarious like that but you don’t you ditch entertainment until
you get out of debt these years you’ll never be able to relive them you make
your vacations fabulous but very very frugal the kids don’t have to know about
all this and don’t you know I don’t want parents
to put this load of guilt and debt onto their kids well we’re in debt so we
can’t you know no that’s way too much for kids to carry so the joy of my life is to help people figure out how to do this and it gives me a great boost as
well yeah so talking about some of the people who you have seen fail and I
think they’re the obvious reasons for failing might be some of the opposite of
what you just said in the previous one but are there any other mindsets
attitudes or things like that of those who fail that need to be resolved yes I’ve never seen it
fail yet that didn’t start this way it happened we didn’t know it was going to
have we had an emergency and you know whether that’s a pregnancy which you
know first yeah getting out of debt you find out you prayed well especially if it’s
your first she got the nursery and all that kind of thing you know parents or
the refrigerator went out on Christmas Eve we had to buy any one put it on
finance you know it’s that one little slip up but when it stems out an
emergency I say you didn’t have a good plan because there are very very few
emergencies that we cannot anticipate even things that may never happen I mean
that’s why we have car insurance okay we no one intends to have a car wreck but
we have that kind of insurance and so you have to look at everything in your
life you know Christmas is coming you can never call Christmas an emergency
anymore you know these things you prepared for them and that’s the beauty
of debt proof living plan is that we’re only a plan to get out of debt but we’re
a plan to sustain to anticipate to hand credit to do all of that in fact that’s
my book seven money rules for life is all about I mean if you follow these
simple seven rules that fit on the back of a business card I’m not kidding you really
do you don’t have to print very small either if you will just stick to these
seven simple rules those things aren’t gonna happen you’re gonna be prepared
and you will not find yourself falling back but but what I’m saying it’s not
you know falling off the boat to buy a 10 thousand dollar speedboat or
something you know I shouldn’t say falling off the boat falling a plan to
do that it’s emergencies things that we think
well I had me with a choice I had to do the car we needed tires we had to put on a
credit card yeah that’s a doomful thing yeah alright so for people who might not
be even convinced that it’s worth the fight or the challenge to actually pay
off their debt because that’s one of the things that’s been surprising to me
because to me it’s like why would you not want to be out of debt that just
seems so logical and common sense to me but I have encountered many people who
just kind of like it’s not worth the battle what would you say to them well
I’d say that you’re falling into what our society is directing you to do yeah
you’ve become a puppet you become a puppet because that’s what the whole
financial industry Wall Street always been Bank on is that people will live on
beyond their means borrow money pay interest keep them in in you know in the
big bucks and that’s what student loans are based upon all of that when you
realize that someone else is manipulating you to that for some people
that that speaks but I find it to the younger generation debt credit card debt
student debt has become just a way of life well yeah who doesn’t have it I
mean they justify it in that way I don’t know a better way to help people see but
to scare them maybe you don’t sometimes we just need to be scared to death
because if you have all of this debt if you have taken out a an equity line on
your home if you have done all this and one thing goes wrong because usually
people who are deeply in debt don’t have savings 78% of Americans now admit to the fact that they don’t have any I think it’s
what went less than $1,000 available well that’s not gonna get you
too far all of a sudden your lifestyle is no longer going to be optional like oh I
carry the dead or I won’t carry okay I’ll talk
next month I’ll think about it again no you won’t have those options they’re
gonna come after your house you will not have food you are going to have a
very painful life and then it may be hard for you to turn that back
especially if you’ve lost your job so I don’t know I publish a lot of
turning-point stories that we call the people’s real life stories of how they
did this how badly they were off and that has been very very instrumental in
many people’s lives too to understand real life like that to kind of grow up
that’s what it is you got to grow up yeah all right I just want to kind of tie things up with this question suppose you tell the entire world one thing
about money or debt or you know any financial related thing what would that be spend less than you earn that’s the key folks spend less than you earn
never spend it all and then we go into the next you’ll save some from every
single thing comes into your life give some of it away if you will follow those
rules I’m telling you as difficult as life can be you will have margin in your
life and that’s what we all crave we want margin and we don’t want to feel
like we’re smothering and that is the first money rule for life and as far as
I’m concerned spend less than you earn don’t spend it unless you’ve earned it I
don’t know how many ways to say that but children can understand this I have a
three-year-old grandson he understands this because he’s got the I wants you
know I don’t know if your kids have that yet yeah they’ve got it and and they’re not the minute they got the I wants every I want everything I see then they could start
learning about this important principle that we saved the money first then we
spend and that’s really failure to follow that rule sure all the trouble
comes from – all right well I appreciate you taking the time and sharing all this
yeah I yeah just really really good and I thank you so much for joining me and I
hope we can do it again sometime Oh Bob I’d love to really let’s do it again all right well I hope you found this helpful we had a good time having
this conversation and it was beneficial for me to have this conversation and
yeah I just love to hear what your thoughts are on all that and also if you
have any other suggestions for podcasts you would like to hear let me know over
on Twitter or reach out to me over on the website have a great rest of your day be blessed and I’ll see you next time