Real Life Stories
Kerry was a single mom working two jobs and going to school full-time when she met her husband. About six months before they married, Kerry says her husband-to-be took responsibility for the bills and finances. She thought she hit the jackpot and would never have to worry about money again. "I felt like I had been rescued," Kerry says. "Who wouldn't want someone to just ride in and make things easier and better?" Kerry says she gave all the bills and statements to her husband without looking at them.
The family moved to St. Louis after her husband received a promotion, and they decided that Kerry could stay home full-time. "[I] kind of felt like I'd paid my dues and now it was going to be my turn to maybe smell the roses a little bit," she says.
Then, Kerry's world was completely shattered when she says her husband asked for a divorce without warning. The couple had been in deep debt, and Kerry was left with no money and nothing to call her own.
Before Jean arrived, Kerry had $60 in her checking account, $49 in her savings and had been borrowing from family members to get by. She was also forced to move out of her 3,000 square-foot dream home.
Still, Jean says there's a bright side—it's not too late for Kerry to start again. Finding a job is top priority, Jean says. Kerry says she needs a minimum of $2,000 a month to support herself. Jean figured that Kerry needs to find a job in which she will be able to earn $3,800 a month before taxes to support herself and start saving.
Get the four simple steps that Jean says can help anyone get richer.
Of that $3,800, Jean says Kerry needs to start saving $1,000 each month for retirement. If Kerry invests that money for 20 years, Jean says she can have more than $600,000 at retirement! "It's not too late for you," Jean says. "You can do this."
One thing Kerry wished she had done was to contribute money directly into a savings account in her own name. "I think that's the new feminism, to have a savings account in your own name," Oprah says.
Jean says anyone can open a savings account. "It's our little red sports car," she says. "And it's a myth that if you're not in the workforce, you can't save for retirement. You are entitled to open an IRA of your own."
Still, they have $6,000 in credit card debt and $65,000 in student loans. Their biggest problem? Matt's a spender and Lindsay's a saver.
The couple will take their savings and put it into a place with a higher interest rate. Matt also agrees to downgrade his car and sell his PlayStation.
With this found money, Lindsay and Matt will open two Roth IRA's. Lindsay will contribute $250 a month into hers, and Matt will put $150 into his. By the time they retire, they will have $923,000!
Although that credit card debt might seem daunting, their bigger problem is spending $700 a month supporting their 22-year-old son!
During one phone call, the couple negotiates their credit card's interest rate from 29 percent to only 5.9 percent! Learn how you may be able to negotiate a lower rate on your credit card.
Kathi and Steve also decide to stop paying their 22-year-old's bills. That will free up $700 a month—money Steve didn't even know they were spending!
Thanks to their newfound funds, Kathi and Steve should have about $450,000 at retirement.
By taking on a roommate, Diana will save $300 a month. She also decides to cancel her gym membership.
In all, Diana saves $409 a month. If she puts that money away every month, 42 years from now this young woman will have $920,000!