Bankruptcy is NOT your only option! Take it from me, and take it from the Hildebrandt’s… personal responsibility beats a bailout any day!
I am a big fan of personal debt reduction testimonies and love reading about them. In the past I haven’t posted them to DFA but today I just couldn’t resist. I knew I needed to post this story once I received a 2nd email from a friend about the Yahoo article posted today.
A Proper Perspective on Debt
Russell and Kandy Hildebrandt have paid off $106,000 in high interest consumer debt in less than 5 years! Thing is, their story is much like that of many others I have read. They weren’t unbelievable spendthrifts, but were simply walking the same path as our leadership and most other Americans – then before they knew it were dealing with massive amounts of credit card and other high interest debt.
The big difference about this couple is… THEY DIDN’T FILE BANKRUPTCY! That my friends is the key to this story. Rather than take a bailout, Russell secured a 2nd job, his wife transformed into a Frugal Queen, and they resolved to work and sacrifice their way out of debt. They did it the old fashioned way – they earned their way out.
Here is a snippet from a recent TwinCities.com article:
“For more than four years, Russell Hildebrandt has worked about 100 hours a week. He sometimes slept in his car between jobs because he couldn’t afford the gas to get back home. His wife Kandy Hildebrandt and their three kids went without new clothes and some months they weren’t sure where the groceries would come from. But because of their perseverance and sacrifice, the New Richmond, Wis., couple managed to pay off more than $100,000 in debt in less than five years.”
Sound undoable? It probably does to a lot of people in our culture, but the thing is… a lot of times the best thing for us is the thing we least want to pursue. Regardless of what we want, self sacrifice and personal struggle may be just what the doctor ordered! It was for the Hildebrandt’s.
Motivation to help you with your situation…
“We did it. We made it. And there’s a sense of pride there,” Russell Hildebrandt said.
The Hildebrandts owed $89,000 to 11 credit card companies and about $20,000 to other creditors, including family. The Hildebrandts maintain they weren’t leading a lavish life. Their debt accumulated slowly over 15 years and was compounded by medical bills. Up to a certain point, they were able to make the monthly payments. But as the debt rose, so did the interest rates. Bankruptcy just wasn’t an option. It didn’t feel right and “it’s not our character,” Kandy Hildebrandt said.
“I always thought, ‘We’ll make it through this,'” he said. “But everybody hits a point.”
In early 2005 Kandy Hildebrandt reached out to the consumer credit counselors at FamilyMeans, a Stillwater-based non-profit. They set up a repayment plan and followed it to a T, said Linda Humburg, a consumer credit counseling service counselor manager for FamilyMeans. In fact, they were so committed to getting out of debt, they finished eight months ahead of schedule, increased their credit score and managed to buy a home. On top of everything else, they had a son two years into the program. Humburg called them “dream clients.”
“They did everything we talked about,” Humburg said. They found ways to increase their income and decrease expenses. “If they didn’t have the money for something, they simply did without,” she said. “That’s what it really takes. That focus.”
What About You?
What are you waiting for? If they can do it… you can do it! All you have to do is find the resolve. Now roll up your sleeves, get motivated, and get ready to destroy some debt!
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DFA is passionately dedicated to helping people break the bondage of debt and work toward financial freedom using biblical principles.