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Shackled by $100,000 of Debt

Anthony and Jhanilka were married in 2016, but it wasn’t until after the honeymoon that they realized they were carrying a  combined debt of over a hundred and fourteen thousand dollars.

“So it came from, I went to undergraduates; had an undergraduate loan, a couple of credit cards from us just shopping”, Anthony said.  “She went to a private school for her master's, so that was a ton of debt. That was about $60,000 in itself, about half of it. And then a new car that I got when we moved down to Dallas.”

“I felt like we, you know, we'll pay it off whenever we paid off,” said Jhanilka. “There's no rush. Just kind of like how everybody else does you, you know, you have car payments, you have these student loan payments, it's just part of life.”

Since they had good paying jobs and the ability to make monthly payments on what they owed, initially, they both were unconcerned about carrying the large amount of debt.

Anthony said, “I'm a director at an it firm and Jhanilka is a manager in a–for mental health counseling. I got debt, it will be paid off at, you know, one day in the future.”

However, Anthony began to reconsider his attitude toward carrying debt.

“It wasn't just paying off the debt. It was creating generational wealth and it was–it was um being able to save more, being able to give more to our family, to our friends to, you know, our church, to whomever needed it without-without hesitating to do it.”

Anthony also got serious about his faith. He was able to convince Jhanilka to work with him to eliminate their debt. 

“I’m going to church now”, said Anthony.  “I want to be a part of it, I want to support, so we made it an actual line item in our budget.  So the same way we budgeted for food and clothes we also budgeted for our tithing expense as well.”

I feel like once we started,” said Jhanilka, “it just was like, okay, we can do this.”

Anthony signed his car up for peer-to-peer rental. They also started a dog watching service.

“I work from home full time,” Jhanilka said, “so I was getting off by 4:00 pm. So I kind of had the rest of my day to do things. So we started working at a gym. I’m also a therapist, so i was working at a private practice on the weekends and in the evening sometimes. So yeah, those were the main things. And then we started a cleaning business out here as well.”

Anthony said, “As we were raising our income we were tithing and the money that we were tithing was never felt because we were always getting it back.” 

Jhanilka agreed. “We just knew that it wasn’t our money. It’s God’s money.”

Anthony said, “It was really funny how both of them kind of happened around that same time, starting that financial journey and also starting that religious journey.”

As the Hertzogs tithed while paying off the debt, they started seeing God’s blessings.

“It was always a windfall that came into play,” said Anthony. “End of year I got a huge – a huge bonus and raise, and that was another windfall and so, we were seeing windfalls as we continue to tithe.”

Jhanilka said, “Oh, it was fun. We were, (slight laugh) we were like using like a temperature thing and scratching it off, like okay, 40,000 more. And we kept it on the fridge, and we had conversations about it.”

She was like, ‘Let's try to pay off this amount of money this month,’ said Anthony,  “and we were keeping track of it like that.  So once we started hitting little milestones, like $10,000, $15,000, uh we started celebrating.”

And in just twenty-three months, the couple paid off all of the one hundred and fourteen thousand dollar debt. The Hertzogs are now able to travel and enjoy their lives and do so, giving all the glory to god.

“Without God you’re unable to do certain things, said Jhanilka, and I think that’s part of it, to provide and give as much as you can and the only reason we’re able to do that is because of Him. And I think that, that goes back to us like not stopping that-that tithing.”

Anthony added, “Now it's kinda, it feels natural now. It's like, this is the way it should be; it should have been for a while. And um, but not having that shackle is just, it's amazing.”

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