Welcome to ConsumerDebtCoach.com. My name is Phil Danley. I might not be the “typical” person who comes to mind as someone who fought through a debt problem, much less TWO debt problems! I have two Bachelor of Science degrees from Oregon State University. My first career was in the biotech world of cancer and HIV research. My third career has been in retail management for fifteen years; the last seven as an executive. My second career is what got me to start this blog and website. If you are experiencing a debt problem, you are definitely not alone!
In 1993 I decided I was going to become a real estate tycoon. Buy houses with “nothing down” and either rent them or flip them. “Nothing down” meant “none of your own money down”. I got very good at this part of the plan. I was able to open twelve credit card accounts and a personal line of credit. I would buy a house and use credit card cash advances for the down payment. As the rents came in, or if I sold the house, I would pay off the cards. But I was bad at being profitable on every deal.
Fast forward to 1999. I knew I was in debt, at least my brain told me that. But my heart, my spirit, did not want to believe that I had a problem. Sure, I was now using cash advances from credit cards with low balances to make the minimum payments on the other credit cards, but I “knew” that I was only one deal away from hitting it big and paying everything off. I was going to earn my way out of my debt problem. So I continued down this path.
I was in complete denial about my situation. I hated going to the mailbox because the odds were good that another credit card bill was waiting for me. But I had to get to the mailbox first so my wife wouldn’t see the bills or the bank statements for our business account! Since there was no online banking in 1999, I was able to fudge the checkbook register to make my wife, Cheryl, believe that we had $20,000 in our account instead of the $500 that were really in it.
Another thing you should know about me is that I am a Christian. I 100% believe that God created each one of us in His image and that He loves ALL of us so much that He sent His son, Jesus Christ, to pay the ransom that was required to get us into Heaven. He wants all of us to make Heaven, regardless of sex, race, nationality, orientation or any other category. (Note: even if you are not Christian, I believe you are of infinite value!)
So when my wife woke me up in the middle of the night back in 1999 and told me she had just had an intense, vivid “dream” that I was lying to her about our financial situation, I knew that I had to come clean. She said the dream felt more like a real conversation. I had hidden the truth from her because I was deathly afraid that she would leave me once she knew about our true financial situation, but I also knew that if God had put this “dream” in her head, I could no longer continue the lie because there was no way that I could best God on this.
In her “dream” she had told the people she was conversing with (we assume angels) that we had $20,000 in our account. The angels told her that I was lying. They did not give a figure but they insisted that the checkbook register was way, way off from reality. When she asked me about this I wanted to lie again but I told her the truth. I showed her the bank statements. When she asked how far in debt I had put us, I showed her the credit card statements. Needless to say that we did not get any sleep the rest of that night.
(Praise Jesus that she did not leave me, though she had some very serious prayer times about doing that. We celebrated our 28th wedding anniversary in 2015!)
As I look back on my denial of my debt problem, I compare what I was doing with my credit cards and personal loan to playing a game of tetherball. I was one player and Debt was the other. As long as I was hitting the ball back every time that it came my way (paying off my accounts in full when a real estate deal went well), then I was okay. But when I could not hit the ball back, when I began to use one credit card to pay the others, and then a second card, and so on, the rope began to get tighter and tighter around the pole. It took a direct intervention by God to make me realize that I was about to have the last bit of rope wrap around the pole. It was time to get out of that game and figure out how I was going to pay off this debt. More on this later.
So why am I starting this blog? Because I want to help you to get out of debt. My wife and I have lived with zero credit card or consumer loan debt since 2012. Everything except our home mortgage was paid off. And on August 22, 2014 we became 100% debt free when we paid off our mortgage!
We have made it through the dark times. Through this blog I will share with you what worked for us and what did not. How to create a plan to get out of debt yet acknowledge that plans do not work 100% of the time so they have to be modified at some point. For you to know that you will make some mistakes along the way but you will get out of debt if you do not give up!
Please leave your comments and feedback. Even if you don’t agree with something I write. All I ask is that you keep the language PG or better. You may have an idea to help a reader that I have not thought of before. If you are debt free, tell my readers how you got there. I do not claim perfection, only freedom from debt!
If you want to contact me privately to discuss your debt situation and see if I can help, please email me at phil@ConsumerDebtCoach.com, or call me at 208-871-8114.