From ruined to rescued, broke to prosperous, shattered to whole.

TRIUMPH(ed) is the story of how my wife and I are climbing out from under a mountain of debt, poor credit, and far too many mistakes to claim the reward He has promised.

Follow us on this journey. Witness the trials, failures, doubts, frustrations, and ultimately the TRIUMPH firsthand. In real time.

 Everyone’s fighting a battle you know nothing about. This one is ours.

And we’ve already won!

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December 8 – Down Into the Rabbit Hole

I’m sitting here working out a budget, trying to figure out what kind of genuine mess we’re sitting in. For the most part, I’ve had a terrible habit of turning away from this stuff, burying my head in the proverbial sand (which is actually more like the most vile wretched waste you could imagine), and ignoring it.

Diane’s credit score is in the tank (thanks to my complete depravity), sitting somewhere along the south end of 500. Mine isn’t that much better. Once is was around 430, then 670, but I made the big mistake of trying to grab some credit without being financially secured and it’s likely back into the mid 500’s at the moment (I’m not interested in finding out right now … I couldn’t handle heart failure just yet).

Our debt is estimated at about $90k. That’s $90,000 and no, a mortgage isn’t part of the equation. It’s mostly comprised of student loans I defaulted on, child support arrears, and back taxes we still owe. (If you’re a freelancer or plan to be one, it’s absolutely essential to be responsible with your budget because you don’t know how much you’ll bring in from one week to the next.)

I’ve most definitely not been responsible.

And I’m paying the price.

There are also credit card accounts that have been closed, charged off, or hanging on by a thread in that total. We also owe a former landlord a few grand.

Why did we allow things to get so bad?

Irresponsibility. Trying to ignore the pain. Not thinking about the value in getting it right.

I don’t write this to be berated, ridiculed, mocked, or even supported. I only admit this for the sake of transparency and honesty.

If you know what we’re up against from the beginning, then you can truly follow us on this journey.

Many Americans are mired in debt. The average household debt in the U.S. in 2017 was $137,063 and no, the bulk of that is not just mortgages (USA Today). Average household debts include:

  • Credit cards: $16,883
  • Auto loans: $29,539
  • Student loans: $50,626
  • Mortgages: $182,421

Sure, mortgages are huge, but look at the other numbers. Student loans, auto loans, and credit card debt, averaged per household, total $97,048. We’re actually below average when you think about it, but we’re behind on everything.

So, what’s the plan?

While $90,000 might take about 10 to 15 years to pay off for the average person, we’re going to do it in less than two. By this time in December, 2024, Lord willing, Diane and I will be debt free. I honestly believe it’ll happen even faster than that based on certain factors, but this book will be done by then, either way.

What you’ll witness if you continue on this journey with us is how we go from our current income, our current minimal budget needs, to getting level with our creditors, navigating these different companies and collection organizations, and rebuilding our credit score to somewhere in the low-to-mid 600s within the next year.

“It’s not reasonable,” is a comment I’ve heard. It’s not reasonable.

Neither is a God willing to offer His Son as a perfect sacrifice in order for those who truly repent (leave their life of sin) and trust in Him to be reconciled to Himself.

Lots of things in this world are unreasonable. Why should this be any different?

The question is: is it possible?

My answer: watch.

With man this is impossible, but with God, all things are possible (Matthew 19:26, emphasis mine). This verse is often taken completely out of context. But when it comes to being content in our circumstances, when we understand the importance God places on fiscal responsibility and paying our debts, we know He’s with us.

He’ll provide the opportunities.

And through this, I hope and pray that one of you, too, will come to trust in Him (more or at all) and see the incredible work He can do with even “the less than the least of all the Lord’s people” (Ephesians 3:8), which I have been.

That’s the plan. Next comes the planning.

Read Chapter 4: Sittin’ on the Dock