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Roots of Personal Finance Member Spotlight: Rhonda McCray

Rhonda McCray decided to take Roots of Personal Finance last September because she wanted her family to be free of debt.  "I told Brad that my husband and I have a lot of things separate and it just did not seem right for me to be debt free and he was not."

Roots has helped Rhonda and her husband get on the same page with their finances. After completing the course, she realized that she could apply what she had learned to help her dad. Her dad had a stroke in 2011 and came to live with them. A few years later, Rhonda became his fiduciary for the VA and that's when she found out about the large amounts of debt he had. 

"I started looking at my dad's income. I became fully aware that, yes, he is on a fixed income, but it is more than some people his age bring in. He made enough money monthly not to have to use credit cards and have a savings." As a dependent child of a military member, a military spouse, and having served 28 years in the U.S. Air Force Reserve, Rhonda had the discipline it would take to tackle her dad's finances. In December, she put together a debt snowball for her dad's $40,000 debt. "He is now down to $12,096. The debt snowball will end before December 17, 2017. Once that is paid, he will have a great savings account!"

How did Rhonda do it? She started by writing down how much and when her dad got paid. She figured out who all the creditors were and collected her dad's monthly statements. Then she called the creditors, making agreements with each one on the amount, date of payment and how payment would be submitted.  

In order to keep her dad on track, Rhonda gives him a monthly allowance. "Yes, the tables have been turned."  And she pays her dad in cash, so when the cash is gone, it's gone.

After seeing how tremendously she was able to help her family, especially her dad, Rhonda has some advice for you. "Set your budget, start saving for your emergency fund, do your debt snowball and have plenty of patience. It may have been easy and maybe even unnoticeable when you started to accumulate debt. But it will take time to get it cleared. Just be patient and don't give up!"


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