3 Inspiring Stories of People Overcoming Debt to Become Millionaires

With the cost of college climbing, housing going through the roof, and the cost of living rising each year, it’s little wonder that roughly 80% of Americans are in debt. What’s more, about 71% of Americans die with debt to their name. That’s a pretty depressing statistic, and can make it seem like debt is something that has to follow you around for the rest of your life.

But that’s not true. Every day, people make the choice to change their lives and get out of debt. And occasionally, those people find a way to turn their lives around completely. Here are 3 inspiring stories of people who not only got out of debt, but became millionaires.


In 2006, at the age of 27, a young man who goes by the moniker FrugalTrader decided that he and his wife were going to get out of debt—and then, they were going to become millionaires to boot. At the time he started blogging about his journey, he and his wife had about $186,000 in debt on their home and cars. But, they’d decided the debt had to go.

The car loan was quickly paid off, and by 2010, their house was too. And in 2014 they’d achieved a net worth of a million dollars. How did they manage to go from nearly two grand in debt to a million in assets in just 7 years? Here are the primary factors that FrugalTrader said led to the turnaround:

  1. Smart investing – While he experimented in the stock market, he didn’t go for a “get rich quick” scheme. FrugalTrader looked for companies with consistent, if gradual growth. He says, “I believe in the long-term growth of the market. I ran the numbers myself. If you bought just the S&P 500 index over the entire history of the stock market, you never lost money over any 20- or 30-year period.”
  2. Aggressive saving – Even if it was only $20 a month, he and his wife made a point of putting some money into savings every month. They also actively sought extra income where possible, by picking up extra hours at work or doing jobs on the side for extra cash.
  3. Strict budgeting – They kept spending in check by setting a strict budget and sticking to it. If someone got a raise at work, they didn’t increase their budget. The extra money went towards paying off debt, or into savings, not towards a fancier car or other luxuries.

There were no special tricks or dumb luck involved in this couple’s turnaround; just hard work, consistency, and determination.

Jen Smith

Jen Smith married a construction worker making $8 an hour while she bounced around between minimum-wage jobs. They were in debt, and she decided to make it her mission to turn it around. Jen put in the effort to learn all she could about personal finance, investing, and building wealth. She and her husband followed the financial plan she developed, cut back on expenses, and saved as much as they could.

At the age of 40, Jen sat down to calculate their net worth. She remembers the day clearly: “The morning I calculated our net worth to be north of one million dollars, we were living in a rented apartment, driving a six-year-old car, and wearing used consignment store clothes. At age 40, we were ‘closet’ millionaires.”

For Jen, personal education was a key component of overcoming her debt, and it led to a life of financial freedom for her and her husband. More importantly, she shows us it’s never too late to start.

Sam Ovens

Multi-millionaire Sam Ovens is a one of a growing trend of entrepreneurs under 30 who have made their own fortune. Sam started out on the traditional path of going to college and getting a corporate job. But, he says that path left him, “in debt, uneducated, and soulless.” He decided it was time to try something else. So, with $30,000 in debt, he quit his job, moved into his parents’ garage, and started his own consulting business.

He worked for a year without making a single dollar. But then, he found a formula that worked for his business, and his success was rapid and overwhelming. In a year, he made $100,000. The next year, he made $500,000, and the following year, he was raking in over a million dollars.

With ingenuity, consistency, and a bit of faith, Sam Ovens went from a corporate drudge struggling to pay off student loans, to one of the most successful young people in the world today.

These success stories just go to show that paying off your debt is not only possible—it’s completely within your reach.


5 Benefits of Debt Consolidation Loans Every Small Business Owner Should Know

Small business owners are at the risk of changing market conditions. At some point of the time or other, you may run into debts. Adding to your troubles, you need to shell out a high rate of interest for these liabilities. It becomes difficult to concentrate on the lines of progress in your business. Well, it is wise to get debt consolidation loans from established financiers at this stage. Small business owners can clear off all their liabilities at a time, and then concentrate on a single, low-interest loan. Read on to know five advantages that you can get from these loans.


Single payment


You may have several credit cards with individual balances on each of these. When you get a debt consolidation loan, all these accounts will be consolidated to a single source. The financiers provide their clients with a single large amount, which the latter uses to pay off several loans. When you pay the interest on one liability rather than several, amount of interest per month gets reduced.


Reduced stress


When you repay a debt consolidation loan, you need not worry about multiple deadlines. It reduces the stress to a substantial extent and you can concentrate on your business prospects. A tension-free mind enables the small business owners to stay on the right track and generate the money required to repay the loan.


Stay away from collection calls


You might have experienced situations, where collection calls keep on disturbing you throughout the day. When you are in debt, the borrowers transfer the responsibility of collecting the money to other agencies. They call the borrowers frequently and pressurize them to repay the money. The situation is annoying as well as embarrassing. When you take a debt consolation loan from a reputed company, the professionals will not harass you for payments. You simply need to pay a small amount every month.


Lower rates of interest


One of the best benefits of getting a debt consolidation loan is that you will have to pay a lower rate of interest. Small business owners having multiple credit cards have to pay high rates of interest. When you take a loan for debt consolidation from a reputed financier, you can benefit from the lower rate of interest. In fact, you save a lot of money which you can invest in productive areas.


Good credit score

A good credit score enhances your reputation as a borrower. When you take debt consolidation loans from the financer at a low rate of interest, it becomes easy for you to repay the amount in time. It improves your credit score, which ensures that you will be able to get loans easily in future. It builds up your credibility as a borrower, which is of immense value for small business owners.


Well, now you know the benefits of debt consolidation loans, you can reach out to a recognized financer around. Most of these private lenders are aware of the situations small business owners have to face. You will find it easy to manage your finances once you approve for the loan.


How to Manage a Financial Windfall

There is no better feeling than coming into money you weren’t expecting. Whether it is a check or cash in the form of a gift or you find luck with a winning lottery ticket, knowing how to manage extra cash is important.

Put the Money in Savings

The most obvious thing to do when you come into extra money is to put it in savings. Make sure that you are getting the most of your savings account by comparing interest rates and finding an account with a low-to-no monthly maintenance fee.

Pay Off Debt

Another great thing to do with a financial windfall, whether it be a small amount from a lottery ticket or a sizable inheritance, is pay off debt. If you’ve struggled with debt, you know how crippling it can be. Using a financial windfall to pay off your debt is always a great idea.

Buy Something You’ve Been Meaning to Buy

Maybe you’ve been meaning to fix something in your home, buy yourself some new clothes or get something done on your car. Investing the money back into yourself is never a bad idea. If you have some cash left over after you make your long-awaited purchases, you can always toss it in savings or pay off a little debt.

Consider a Retirement Fund

If you come into a sizable amount of money, you may consider placing it in a 401K or Roth IRA. Most of these types of accounts have a $1,000 initial deposit minimum. However, any cash you put into a retirement fund is not taxed until you withdraw it from the 401K or IRA account.

Nourish Your Current Investments

If you are currently investing money in the stock market, have a retirement account or even own a home, you can use financial windfalls to nourish your investments. Add some more money to your retirement account or finally get the remodel done in the kitchen. Whatever the case may be, taking your windfall and contributing to your current investments is never a bad idea.

Distribute the Money

If you’re having a hard time deciding what you should do with your windfall, you can always distribute it across some of your accounts. For instance, maybe you have some debt you’d like to pay down as well as investments and a retirement account to contribute to. If the windfall is sizable enough, you may be able to distribute the cash across all of your accounts (or accounts you are trying to grow).


Making the decision about what to do with a financial windfall can be difficult. But, no matter how much money you come into, making a solid financial plan for the extra cash is necessary. Oftentimes, individuals who win a lot of money on a lotto ticket or come into an inheritance waste the cash on unnecessary things. Don’t let that happen to you. Have a plan when it comes to how to manage your financial windfall.

Ed Rempel Unpacks the Smith Manoeuvre – How It May Help Risk-Tolerant Investors

According to recent census data, almost two-thirds of Canadians are saving for retirement and are busy contributing to registered retirement savings plans (RRSPs) and tax-free savings accounts (TFSAs). 65.2 percent of households are engaged in saving for retirement, which is a robust figure when compared with the national household savings rate that recently fell to 4.6 percent.

However, while that mark is encouraging, that still means that more than a third of Canadians are not saving for retirement. Many believe that, while those in the prime of their earning years (ages 35 to 54) and members of the middle class are more easily able to devote resources to retirement planning, the younger members of the workforce do not have the same financial wherewithal–for reasons that range from indebtedness to lower salaries. A rise in housing prices relative to wage growth in large metropolitan areas in Canada has also presented a significant obstacle to young and middle-aged savers.

“Many people who would like to save now have to dedicate money to a large down payment on a house,” explains Ed Rempel, a certified financial planner and chartered professional accountant. “And it’s taking them longer to pay down their mortgages, so they have less time to save for their retirement.  That’s part of the problem.”

Ed Rempel, who runs a financial blog called Unconventional Wisdom, is a leading expert on the Smith Manoeuvre, a process that simultaneously allows homeowners to pay down their mortgages more quickly, while investing for retirement. “The Smith Manoeuvre provides an efficient strategy for homeowners to use the equity in their homes to invest without using their cash flow,” Rempel adds. “It allows people to convert their mortgages into tax-deductible credit lines that they can then use to make investments for their retirement.”

The Smith Manoeuvre may be an efficient investment strategy for those who, as mentioned above, want to start planning for retirement, but who are faced with the prospect of paying down a long-term mortgage before they can devote their resources to retirement investing. The strategy works well for those who have a long-term outlook and a risk-tolerant attitude with respect to their investments.

“The main benefit of the Smith Manoeuvre comes from the long-term compound growth of investments,” Rempel further explains. “You can invest for your future without using your cash flow, you receive tax deductions, and you can pay off your mortgage faster. It’s a great option for investors who are willing to stick with the strategy.”

To implement the Smith Manoeuvre in more general terms, a homeowner must have a readvanceable mortgage, which is a mortgage that’s also linked with a credit line. Rempel has a free Ed’s Mortgage Referral Service on his blog to help homeowners get the best readvanceable mortgage for the Smith Manoeuvre. As a homeowner makes mortgage payments and pays down a portion of the principal, that portion is available as credit in a credit line — he or she then borrows from the credit line to make conservative and tax-efficient investments.

The investment credit line is tax-deductible, so, using the Smith Manoeuvre, the homeowner can receive tax refunds, which can then be used to pay down the mortgage more quickly. The homeowner also borrows from the credit line to pay the interest on the credit line; capitalizing the interest is a key part of the strategy and allows a homeowner to invest without having to resort to using his or her cash flow.

Ed Rempel is the only accountant in Canada working with the Smith Manoeuvre and the only financial planner combining the strategy with comprehensive financial planning. He explained that the Smith Manoeuvre can be a helpful choice for investors who have a time horizon of 20 to 30 years when it comes to their investment portfolio