April 2012 had to be the best month of my life – I married my college gal, bought a new car and was drafted by the New York Jets. The only debt I had was the $3,000 student loan I took out to afford the engagement ring, but I thought that with a 4-year/$2,100,000 contract my debt would soon be wiped away.
Here was my issue…
I suddenly felt like I needed to ‘keep up with the Joneses.’
A timeshare, a new suburban for the growing family, and a promising football career on the horizon was just what my ego needed. But things changed in the fall of 2013. I left football, and my contract with the Jets wasn’t guaranteed…so I never saw any income after my first year.
Jenny and I decided to continue our work in graduate school. Our second child was born in August of 2014 and with both of us in school, we needed our student loans to finance our life. I honestly couldn’t tell you where all the money from my first year in the NFL had gone but we looked up one day and we were broke. We lived this way for two entire years while renting expensive houses to make our lives more comfortable.
In short, we had blown through half a million dollars
and piled up over $200K in debt.
I was working four jobs to make ends meet. I never saw my family and Jenny was juggling 3 babies with no help. I had heard about FPU (Financial Peace University) before I played football but I never thought that one day I would need it!
We had outlived our means and outran the truth for too long, and I knew I had to change. I stood in the mirror and saw desperation, but with the help of FPU, a lot of discipline, and some amazing friends, we started making progress. Credit cards were getting paid off, the TV got paid off, the furniture got paid off…and I could start to see God’s plan for us to truly be free. Since October 2016 we have paid off $111,811.58, and we have a plan to finish off our debt once and for all!
We live in a two bedroom apartment with three kids and a dog – we live small…
but our children’s future is worth it.
When Milestone launched the “Who Am I?” series, we jumped in with both feet. It was our first group small group in six years of marriage. The “Who Am I?” series was about discovering the person God created you to be – and I can’t even begin to tell you how cool it is to see yourself the way God sees you. We built some new friendships along the way and it’s those friends that have walked with us and encouraged us to keep going in our financial and spiritual journey.
Not only are we getting financially healthy, Jenny and I are getting relationally healthy. I was a closed off husband and a lousy dad because of the financial stress we were feeling. Our journey hasn’t been easy, but God has been faithful. Jenny and I are closer than we’ve ever been, we’re trusting God together, our children are thriving, and we’ve found our spiritual family!