Just 25% of Americans claim to be debt-free, but don’t let this statistic discourage you. This is the story of Jackie Beck and her $147,000 mammoth debt. Including her mortgage, student loans, and credit cards, here’s how she paid it all off. Life after debt is treating Beck well too – she’s now a full-time blogger and has her own app.
The Slippery Slope
Speaking to NerdWallet, Jackie says, “I got into debt by being normal.” She started borrowing by using credit cards to build her credit rating. Then she got a student loan, and one for a car too. How do you buy a house? Take out a mortgage. It seems as if taking a loan is an answer to every money question. But then, she lost her job.
Beck says, “Miles (her husband) and I owed more than $147,000: my $10,000 student loan, his $15,500 car loan, our $95,000 mortgage, a $10,000 home improvement loan — and credit cards for both of us.”
The Loan Obsession
It’s easy to see how this debt racks up, but Beck soon took a different approach. She says she had a big realization after she still owed 50% of her student loan, 9 years after taking it out. Jackie says, “I became consumed with paying off my student loan.”
After living on just $200 child support from month to month Jackie had no hope of paying off any debts until she got a job. Then, she started earning over $2k per month and ‘felt rich’. Jackie got obsessed with repaying the debt. She paid off $5,359 of her student debt just 5 months after committing to her debt-free challenge.
By taking on extra jobs like freelance writing, online surveys and odd jobs from Craigslist, Jackie nervously used her emergency fund to pay off the remainder of her student debt. And she felt amazing afterward.
Inspired by Jackie, husband Miles then proceeded to pay off a huge chunk of his car loan. Then it was the mortgages turn. An intimidating $95,000. Jackie’s key to repayments was obsessively making extra payments – no matter how small. She said there were times when they made 8 payments a month.
But the 10-year journey paid off. Jackie’s debt actually led to her new career, as well her blog JackieBeck.com, she says “My obsession over debt inspired me to create a debt payoff app and sell it, which also gave me extra money.” You can find Jackie’s app, here.
Since 2012, the couple has been debt-free and reaping the rewards. Jackie says, “Once we paid off the mortgage and were completely debt free, we spent the next year saving for things we wanted. She continues, “I took a trip to Antarctica, a dream of mine since I was a young child.”
Feeling inspired by Jackie’s story? Share it with your friends!