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Matt Kelly is the founder of Momentum: Personal Finance Coaching.  He is living his vision in Durango, Colorado with his wife Cheri and their son Malcolm.  Before you think this is a case of some financial genius that has never had debt, credit cards and car payments trying to tell you how to get to financial independence, read on.

After graduating from Thunderbird School of Global Management with a Master of International Management in 1991 Matt began a sixteen-year cycle of accumulating credit card debt and paying it off by rolling his credit card debt into his mortgage and declaring, “Never again will this happen!”  Without any skills or tools to change his behavior, it happened again and again.

In February 2007 Matt and Cheri began attending the thirteen-week Financial Peace University.  Over the following fifteen months they paid off $165,000 in debt and saved $20,000.  No, they didn’t have huge incomes.  They had received a $40,000 inheritance when Matt’s parents passed away – which they didn’t use to go to Hawaii.  Instead, they paid off debt.  In addition to using the $40,000 to payoff debt they harnessed their $80,000 annual income to payoff an additional $25,000 in debt and save $20,000

Since before Cheri and Matt were married they had talked about taking a year off from work to travel the world.  At times, when their debts had been rolled into their mortgage, the dream seemed more likely to happen.  Of course, moving debt from one place to another did not really ever pay it off; it just hid the reality of their situation.  Then, thanks to getting all of their debt paid off, except for their mortgage, the dream became a vision.

The remaining $100,000 debt payoff came from this shared dream.  Realizing that paying off their home would be a key component to being able to freely travel around the world, Matt and Cheri decided to downsize their condo.  They sold their $300,000 condo that had a $200,000 mortgage and bought a $200,000 condo using a $100,000 down payment.  They like the new smaller condo better and can foresee the day when they will embark on their journey around the world.

After having gone through the process of getting out of debt, Matt and Cheri’s marriage is better, there is more ease in their life, and they are happier.  And the best thing is that Matt found he has a passion and a gift for helping others get out of debt too.

If debt is stealing your dreams, or you have not learned to tell your money where to go instead of wondering where it went, please contact Matt at matt.kelly.durango@gmail.com or 970-749-0644.  I’d love to talk to you if you’d like to learn more about attending Momentum or becoming a Financial Independence Coach.

Influential books in my life and suggested reading for anyone who is serious about financial independence:

  • Affluenza, The All-Consuming Epidemic, John De Graaf, David Wann and Thomas Naylor
  • Credit Card Nation, Robert D. Manning
  • Dream Manager, Matthew Kelly
  • Enough, John C. Bogle
  • Financial Peace Revisited, Dave Ramsey
  • Getting A Life, Jacqueline Blix and David Heitmiller
  • Killing Sacred Cows, Garrett B. Gunderson with Stephen Palmer
  • The Lonely American, Jacqueline Olds, M.D. and Richard S. Schwartz, M.D.
  • Maxed Out, James D. Scurlock
  • More Than Enough, Dave Ramsey
  • The Overspent American, Juliet B. Schor
  • The Overworked American, Juliet B. Schor
  • The Rhythm of Life, Matthew Kelly
  • The Seven Levels of Intimacy, Matthew Kelly
  • Soul Currency, Ernest D. Chu
  • Your Money or Your Life, Joe Dominguez and Vicki Robin