My story began in 2003, when I decided to go to college without a plan as to how I was going to pay for it, not knowing how much it would REALLY cost, and the mis-education of how student loans work.
All I knew was I wanted to go to Art school and I needed a degree to get where I wanted to be career wise.
Two Art schools, three private student loans and a handful of federal student loans later, I was looking at over $100,000 of debt, with interest mounting.
Fresh off graduating in 2008, married just a year, I had delusions of grandeur… that I’d get that great job they tell you is out there just waiting for YOU, and I’d be set, no worries.
A few weeks post-graduation we found out we’d soon be parents! My husband, Josh, had just been honorably discharged from the Marines and was about to start school himself (yes, more student loans).
I was concerned no one would hire me knowing I was pregnant. Well… it took 5 months after I graduated, and I was 2nd choice for an internship, part time, $10 an hour and no benefits.
A month later the student loan bills started rolling in, I had to choose between our living expenses and paying the student loan bills. Of course I chose the former, and
we all know what happens next. Missed payments led to debt collection calls, letters, lawyers and terrible credit (not just mine, but my cosigner’s as well).
After our first daughter was born we decided it would be best if we moved back to Hawaii and live with family once Josh was done with school. So we moved, thinking it would be easier to get a job back home, we will have help with baby, NO WORRIES.
When we first moved back in 2010 we had told my parents give us 3 months and we will be out. But the reality was, neither of us had jobs. This time it took me 8 months to find a job! But I was able to start making small payments on SOME of the loans; however, it was never enough.
We were always behind and living paycheck to paycheck.
We were sure once Josh got a job everything would turn around. WRONG. The debt hole just got bigger. And no matter how hard we tried no one would rent to us, and buying was completely out of the question.
Josh became a Master Technician and with that he needed tools and tool boxes, I knew we couldn’t afford these things, but with the pressure of not having what he needed to work, Josh made the decision on his own to take out a personal loan and open lines of credit with various tool vendors.
We were in over our heads and at each other’s throats!
4 years, 2 kids and 1 layoff later, the bottom dropped out, Josh was diagnosed with PTSD and a host of other mental and physical disabilities. He was fired from his job in 2014 for breaking a phone during a PTSD breakdown.
We were drowning in debt and were down an income.
Then the dynamics with my family changed for the worst. May 2015 my mom demanded that we move out. Our only other option was Josh’s family, and there we were asked to find our own place within 3 months.
I was beyond stressed at this point and our marriage had been tested every step of the way.
In July of 2015 we went on our first family trip that we had planned earlier in the year because we had received a large tax return, and were tired of never being able to do anything fun with our money.
SO, we threw caution to the wind and went.
As fun and needed as the trip was, it ultimately dug our debt hole even deeper. After the trip, we were constantly overdrawn and started to fall behind on loan payments AGAIN. Everything was a mess.
Meanwhile, I had found God. I finally decided to let go of the wheel and lay may burdens down, to find rest in him. September 2015, I was driving home from work, weary and stressed, I began to cry and pray. Then I got a text from Soriah…
“Sis, have you ever heard of 101 Financial?”
(YES, I still have our initial conversation!)
I told her I had just been praying for help in every aspect of our lives. She sent me Alan’s video workshop and I watched and was intrigued… until the end when the tuition amounts popped up! I told Soriah, it sounds great, but I can’t afford it. Her response? Let’s not worry about that yet, we will figure everything out, I’m going to help you and it will be beautiful! I decided to give it a try…
We tried to start with the 101 Financial System, and I wasn’t completely surprised by the answer… DENIED… due to credit history, credit score, and debt load to income ratio. Even though I wasn’t surprised, I was still discouraged.
Soriah remained positive and suggested I start in the 99 Program first and work to get to the 101 Financial System. So we did, and I’ve been on fire since.
I paid off $2,000 while in 99 using better budgeting to get to a positive cash flow and save. Changing my credit utilization brought my score up.
Within 2 months I graduated 99 and qualified for the 101 Financial System!
Then I was able to get my first credit card ever with a $15.5K limit, and a month later we were able to move into a house.
We are currently renting, but had anyone asked me if this was possible a few years ago, or even a few months ago, I would have laughed, then cried and said, no it’s not.
BUT, with 101, things you would have never thought a possibility before suddenly seem WAY more attainable.
I now have control over our finances; I know where all our money is and where it goes. Best part is, I’m now eliminating our debt, about $20,000 so far. We are also planning for our 2nd family trip, and this time I won’t have to worry one bit while we’re on the trip or how it will affect our finances after the trip.
I feel so absolutely blessed, and I continually thank the good lord for answering my small prayer, by sending me Soriah with the love in her heart to share Alan’s vision.
– Nohea Betham