Often, when debt racks up, stress and anxiety seem to come right alongside it. Heather and Matt Schuster felt this firsthand. Heather carried a lot of guilt from bringing a large amount of student loan debt into their marriage. In 2015, she and Matt decided to join Financial Peace University (FPU) at Milestone. Through FPU they were empowered to take charge of their finances and pay off their debt. The Schusters found the financial freedom they were searching for and today they share how they got there.
We were married in 2011 just before Heather graduated with her master’s in physician assistant studies. We laughed often, talked about our day, dreamed of the future, and rarely argued. But underneath the surface, she carried guilt from bringing in over $145,000 from 24 separate student loans into our marriage.
Between 2011 and 2015, we purchased two cars, bought our first home, and learned of the arrival of our baby girl. All of these changes were exciting, but we were also concerned.
The mountain of debt wasn’t getting any smaller.
We heard about Financial Peace University through a friend and how it transformed their marriage and finances. We knew the commitment to attend would be a challenge, but we felt like God was telling us to take the class. We enrolled in Fall 2015 to better understand how to pay off our now $156,000 in student loans and 2 car loans.
During the first FPU meetings, we started to understand each other’s perspective and finally had a common language to communicate the stress of our finances. No wonder there was anxiety and disconnect! Not only did we start eliminating the weight of debt, but, most importantly, our relationship improved exponentially along the way.
Our communication improved, the anxiety dissipated, and we were united on the plan.
During the 9-week course, we paid off a car loan, cut up 3 credit cards, and started really budgeting. It was difficult, but we stayed with the principles and, in 2017, a huge financial blessing came…
Our house sold with a profit that covered the exact amount of remaining student loans. Only God could orchestrate a transaction that beautifully. The weight of the $156,000 was finally lifted and we were officially debt-free!
After our debt was paid off, we wanted to lead an FPU group to help others gain freedom from financial anxiety like what we had experienced. We’re now about to lead for our 3rd time and we continue to learn more each FPU semester and through each growing season.
-Matt and Heather
With another FPU semester coming up, we look forward to hearing more stories like Heather and Matt’s. Check out milestonechurch.com/fpu for more information.