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Financial Freedom Isn’t Just For You

– Getting out of debt is hard. So, when you’ve just about had it, it’s important to remember why you’re doing this in the first place. And spoiler alert: It’s not just for you. (upbeat music) (woosh) All right, guys, we’re just going to come out and say it: Debt keeps us from creating a life that we love. It does. And I don’t know about you, but for me, creating a life I love means not just for myself but setting my family up for success. Looking to the future, thinking about sending our two girls to college and funding that now— those kinds of things. Now, for some of you who are deep in debt, that seems so far away. But hear this: No matter what age you are, no matter what your income is, it’s never too late to change your money situation. Now, some people have harder situations, right? Like, if you have $300,000 in debt and you make $40,000 a year, yeah. It’s going to take you a little while to climb out of that hole.

But here’s the deal: You have the power to make a decision to change. And when you make a decision to better your life, it doesn’t just affect you. It affects everyone around you. And it allows you to help other people. So, on this episode, I’m really excited, because we’ve got some great guests. We have host of the podcast The School of Greatness, Lewis Howes, on.

Yes, he’s coming on to share his rags to riches story and a key money lesson that he’s learned along the way. And then, we have a lady named Judy coming on, who changed her life. And you won’t believe all she’s doing to change others’ lives around her, as well. And hang around, because at the end of this episode, I’ve got a little giveaway having to do with just that. But first, let’s talk about one of the decisions that completely changed my life. (bouncy piano music) Those of you that know my family’s story know that my parents filed bankruptcy the year I was born.

And after filing for bankruptcy, my parents looked at each other, and they were like, “We’re done.” I was a newborn baby. My sister was a toddler. And they were at the end of their rope, and they finally just said, “We’ve had it. No matter what, “we’re going to stop making stupid decisions with our money. “We’re going to stop having other people determine our destiny. “And we are going to live a debt-free life.” And because of that decision, my life now has been completely changed. And so, when we talk about you making great decisions for your money, it does—it affects everyone around you. You guys, just a few hours ago, I was on The Dave Ramsey Show, and we took a debt-free scream. And there they are with their little, four-year-old girl, Claire— adorable, blonde hair, blue eyes.

But they paid off six figures worth of debt. Yes. It took some time, but they did it. He worked like crazy, and she talked about the struggle it was, not having him home all the time. But he said, “It was worth it. No matter what I was doing, “I was going to get ourselves out “of this mess that we created.” And together, as a team, they completely changed their lives. And then, I’m sitting there, looking at Claire—at this little toddler, thinking, “Man, her life now is completely changed.” So, again, your freedom from debt isn’t just for you. But as a result of you doing that, it’s going to affect everyone around you. And listen, that’s just my story. That’s just their story. But there are millions of people’s stories around with that kind of impact.

So, I decided to go into my Facebook group, because I wanted to hear their stories. Because listen, you can make a big impact, but sometimes, just a small impact can motivate you. And so, these stories were fantastic. Rebecca said, “The owner of a grocery store outlet “gave me a $50 gift card, and I cried.” $50, you guys. It wasn’t a huge amount, but something small completely changed her life. Shauna said, “I bought some baby formula “for a lady at our church. She cried when I gave it to her.” Jenny said, “My nine-year-old son had an appendectomy “last Thursday morning with an ER visit the night before, “and so many friends and family offered help and assistance.

“Honestly, just knowing people care made a big impact, “and this experience was a humbling one.” Jenny said, “A lady gave us a $25 gift card “the week of Christmas one year. “We were shopping in Wal-Mart. “I have never forgotten it, “and from that year on, we’ve done the same “for someone else.” Guys, again, the impact is amazing. When you have freedom from debt, what you can do— even if giving a little— how it changes people. So, I’m really excited about our first guest of the day, Lewis Howes, because he started from the bottom, and he has the most incredible story. You may have heard his podcast, The School of Greatness. It’s a great one, so check out our interview. (woosh) All right, Lewis, thanks for being here. – High five! – Stopping in on The Rachel Cruze Show. – We’re here! – Okay, so, for people that are not familiar with you—who are living under a rock— tell them a little bit about your story, who you are, what you do, all the things.

– I’m a passionate human being trying to make the biggest impact as possible on as many other human beings. And I do that through my show, The School of Greatness. We’ve got a bunch of other programs, the books, but the main thing is our show. And I try to lead by example by following my dreams. – Totally. But your story is pretty remarkable, so go into that a little bit, from where you started, from the bottom of the bottom to, obviously, where you are now. – About 10 years ago, I was playing professional football just south of here in Alabama, in Huntsville. Playing arena football, I got injured.

I broke my wrist and was on my sister’s couch for about a year and a half. My whole identity had been stripped from me. The thing that I really loved and was passionate about and was good at, I could no longer do. So, I had to learn how to reinvent myself. I had to learn how to become a human in the world without my talent. I had to discover what my talents were now. But it taught me some of the greatest lessons. You know, I think with our pain and with our breakdown is an opportunity for breakthroughs and learning. – That’s awesome. So great. So, tell us a little bit more about The School of Greatness. – Yeah, The School of Greatness started out of a pain of mine.

I was stuck in L.A. traffic, trying to go two miles, and it took me two hours. And I was like, “I wonder—all these people stuck in traffic— “they’ve got to do something with their time. “Maybe they’re tired of listening to radio. “Maybe they want to try something different. “And I really wonder if I could create something “where they have a resource to teach them “about the principles of life. “There were so many things that I struggled with “in school—that they didn’t teach me.

“So, I wonder if I record some of these, “put them on a podcast, and put it out there— “I wonder if people would listen.” And it’s interesting— When we do things because we really care about it and we love it and we want to serve people, usually, good things happen. – Yep. – Usually. Not every time, but usually. And I got lucky with the timing— with my passion and excitement for it— that it took off very quickly. – Yeah. So, list off just a few of your top favorite interviews that you’ve done. – I’ve had Kobe Bryant— was a really powerful one. Novak Djokovic, who’s the number one tennis player in the world right now. Maria Sharapova, Brené Brown— – So, obviously, a ton of huge people. – A lot of great people, yeah. – So, what are a few top pieces of advice that you’ve heard kind of consistently through all of these great leaders and these great thought leaders in the space. Because I think it’s always interesting, because, for the most part, I feel like, when you are successful, there are these key principles— that is The School of Greatness— that you’re learning these great things from.

So, what are those that you can think of? – One of the things that a lot of these leaders and influencers have—and great minds— is that they have a very clear vision. And I think there’s people that have a clear vision but don’t create big results, because they lack the passion to pursue that. And I think opportunities flow to people who are passionate about something they love. And when you consistently show up every single day about the thing you become passionate about and you become talented at it and you’re clear on your vision, it’s hard to fail. Or you might fail, but you’re going to learn and continue to grow and evolve along the way. So, they have a clear vision. All these great leaders live in service. At some point, they learn it’s not about me; it’s about we. We are a society of seven-plus billion people, and it’s bigger than just my selfish desires.

I need to learn how to serve other people. Give back, serve, pay it forward— whatever you want to call it. And I think that’s where true greatness comes from. When you can achieve something that is meaningful to you and you have fulfillment in your heart and you have peace in your heart, because you know you’re serving a greater purpose that’s beyond you. – Yeah. – They learn how to embrace adversity and turn it into their advantage. So, a lot of these great leaders, like Kobe. He talked about when he was 13, I believe, he played summer basketball, and he didn’t score once all summer in this league.

He didn’t even score. – That’s amazing. – He took shots. He never scored one time in a whole summer of this basketball league he was in. – Yeah. – And he said that adversity taught him so much more than scoring a bunch of points when he was 13—12 or 13. And then, he became, arguably, the greatest player of all time. It wasn’t overnight, but it was like— that adversity, he embraced it. They have this—what I call—champions mind-set. They think like a champion. A champion isn’t sloppy. A champion develops habits and rituals. And they’re structured in their approach to achieving what they want. They’re not just like, “I hope it happens.” Like, “I’m going to work sometimes hard.” They’re very structured with their approach. – Yes. And I love that, because it’s basically, you know, the hierarchy of that is intentional living. – Absolutely. – And we talk about a lot of that on the show. And in order to win with money— money’s not just going to show up in your bank account. You’re not going to be like, “Oh, cool. There’s $5,000 extra I just didn’t realize I had.” You have to be purposeful and intentional, and you have to create those good habits.

So, I love that. It’s so good. So, to the giving point, I love that, because it’s one of your truths that you do talk about. – Yeah. – But living with that open hand is something, that changes you—not just with your money, but it changes your character and your heart, from being selfish to selfless. – Yeah, yeah. – So, talk about the money peace that you’ve seen in the world, right? I know you’re not a financial expert – Yeah.

– But when you go and talk to all these successful people and you see this part of them, there’s an element of integrity and, just, joy that they have when they are giving and living out of this overflow, basically, of what they’ve been given. – The best I feel in my life is when I’m giving. Constantly. And I think it’s true for everyone. When you help a friend with something small, when you’re there to just listen, when you donate, when you’re there to use your resources, I feel the best.

There are great leaders that I’ve interviewed who haven’t mastered that, and I see them struggling. – Oh, interesting. They might have all the money and all the accomplishments and awards and credibility, but they haven’t mastered that fully. And I can see a little angst in their heart. – So, how does that play out? Tell me, because that’s fascinating. Because I can tell that. I feel like I can sense it off people. When you’re just talking to them, you’re like, “Huh.” – I think it’s a lack of legacy and greater purpose. Like, okay, we’re doing all this for ourselves, but when you have all the money, and you’re hoarding it— that’s not really serving people at a higher level.

So, you’ve accomplished something, but you still feel like, “Why am I missing something in my heart?” – Yeah, so good. Lewis, thanks for coming by. – Thanks, Rachel. Appreciate it. – Seriously, so encouraging. Where can everyone find you? – You can go to or The School of Greatness podcast. – Love it. Guys, make sure to check out everything he’s doing. So encouraging. Obviously, you’re going to get some great tips on everything when it comes to life. (whoosh) – Family is one of the most important parts of my life. And making sure everyone is taken care of is a top priority. That includes more than just meal planning, entertaining the kids, and taking care of all the day-to-day needs.

That’s why I recommend having life insurance. Now, when you’re shopping for it, you might wonder, “Should I get term life insurance or whole life insurance?” I always recommend term insurance. It’s going to save you tons of money that you can put toward paying off your debt and funding your emergency fund. For a 30-year-old-male, a 20-year, $250,000 policy would cost just $15 a month for term life. However, the same policy for whole life would a $190 per month. That is a huge difference! Winston and I use Zander insurance. They do all the work for you by finding you the best prices and options customized to your needs. To learn more, call Zander today, or go to

Because that’s who we trust to take care of our family. (lighthearted music) Isn’t Lewis great, you guys? And his podcast is fantastic, so make sure to check it out. All right, if you guys are feeling inspired, just wait until you hear from my next guest, Judy, who has taken what she’s learned about debt and paying it forwardZ and is now changing the lives of people she works with, including Katie, who you’ll also hear from. (peaceful music) – When I was a senior in college, my dad was killed in a farming accident in our little farm. It was an eye-opening experience. Our farm was $750,000 in debt. (peaceful music) And so, as a 23-year-old, I didn’t really know what all was happening with the finances of the farm. We had no bank that was going to lend us any more money, and my mom was still there on that farm.

And I thought, “This is not good. “She’s going to lose it, and the farm is her life.” We really had a huge mountain and a little bitty shovel, but we just started— started where we’re at. By using the Dave Ramsey principles, we finally, now, are starting to see a goal, and in a year from now, we will be 100% debt-free. And I am going to get my mother to come here, and we are going to scream it in front of Dave. I realize that that story started providing hope for others— to have that financial freedom and not to worry about where their paycheck’s coming and going so quickly. So, that, alone, just really gave us the excitement and the energy that, “My gosh, “let’s start this for our office.” We’ve coordinated at least seven classes.

It’s just—what if you’re making a difference for just one person? If we can do it—the little family farm— there’s hope for anybody. (peaceful music) – Thank you, guys, so much for coming on. – Sure. – So appreciate it. Okay, so tell me, how do you guys know each other? – Well, so, my best friend, Michelle, is her daughter, and we’ve been best friends since we were five. – And you guys now work together. – Well, yeah. – So fun. Okay. So, Judy, you grew up on a farm. You learned some information about that as an adult, and that kind of changed your perspective, maybe, on how money’s handled. So, tell me a little bit about that. – Yeah. I had already gotten a little bit of the Dave Ramsey principles. My husband and I were both on board, and we had a fairly easy personal story. However, we had had kids then, and so, we knew that, you know what? We want to plan for their future.

We don’t want to be a burden to our kids. And the what-ifs of life can happen. So, we took those practices to the family farm. And so, in 2007, I guess—2009— we started cleaning some things up. And slowly but surely, you know— You think about that story— $750,000 thousand in debt is a lot. – And so, to be able to share with others, knowing that, whatever your situation is, a lot is still something that I can relate to. But to start with something, – Yes. – At least start with a plan. And a year from now, in 2020, on March 15th—her birthday—we will be 100% debt-free. – Debt-free—the farm. (chuckles) Judy, that is so remarkable. And then, it’s trickled in—all these principles— to your life and your business. – And you felt the need to pay it forward. So, tell me a little bit about this journey of Financial Peace University and you essentially helping people that you work with with that.

– Yeah, so, years ago, again, another engineer, who is providing benefits for his employees, I always like to ask him, “Hey, what else are you doing to help? “Because we really pride ourselves “on providing great benefits for our staff.” And he said, “Hey, have you ever heard “of this Financial Peace class?” And he had an older engineer walk into his office and who knocked on the door and said, “I just want to tell you “that this class has saved my marriage.” And as he was sharing that story to me, “I want that.

I want that for my staff.” – And so, Katie, you were one of those – Yes. – that went through it. So, how long ago did you go through? – January of 2017. – Okay, okay, so a few years. – Yes. And she overheard me talking about my credit card debt. And so, she immediately came over and told me, “Dave Ramsey. Dave Ramsey.” (laughter) And so, I got on and kind of explored, and I actually started using the EveryDollar app. And so, she very excitedly sat with me for an hour just pouring over every aspect of my finances and just told me, you know, “You’re spending too much here, “maybe you should take less from entertainment “and put it more toward paying off your debt.” And so, because of her and that one hour that she took out of her day to help me— you know, young, never budgeted before— I was able to pay off over $20,000 in debt in 19 months.

– In 19 months, and you did it. – I mean, can you believe that? Do you look back, and you’re like— what was it, mostly? Credit card debt? – Mostly student loans and car and credit card, as well. – And if there’s a 23-year-old watching, and they think, “You know what? Debt’s normal. “It’s not that big of a deal. “And there’s no way I can pay off that much. “It’s just too much. I’m living paycheck to paycheck.” What would you say to them? – It’s going to be difficult, because society wants you to have all of these materialistic items. And so, it’s those constant, little reality checks of, “Where am I at, where do want to be, and how do I get there?” – Yeah, it’s so good.

So, how does it feel being debt-free? Tell me—the pre-Katie— were you stressed? Were you like, “Ugh! I’m just not intentional.” And now, post-Katie. Tell me the difference. – Yeah. So, pre-Dave Katie was very content with where I was, paying minimum payments on credit cards, car, you know, all the debt, just minimum payments. During-Dave Katie was more intentional, and I knew sacrifice now, so later, you don’t have to sacrifice. And I knew that. I saw that bigger picture. And I’m still working on it. I’m only 25 years old. But paying off that debt was step number one in creating the future that I want for myself and for my future family. – Yeah, so good. So great. So, Judy, you kind of stepped into a major mentoring role, because we talk about all the time that you need someone in your corner. And some people I talk to that are single, it’s someone at their work.

It literally is the same exact story. Or it’s a friend. So, as a mentor, what caused you to say, “Gosh, I want to be able to help this next generation. I want to be able to give this hope to other people. – Yeah, and it’s just, “What if I can make a difference for just one?” And so, then you think, “Well, maybe there’s just one more, “or there’s just one more.” And I just love it. I cannot say the kind of joy that it gives me to be that what if. And it’s that person, who just needs to have their story heard and to help them. You know, the biggest challenge I see, as a coordinator, is people just don’t know where they’re at. – Yes. – Just that is so helpful and so to get people to understand that, “Let’s just put that first plan— and it’s the first step—the hardest step is that first step. I know that’s what Dave says. I mean, it’s just getting started. – So good, you guys. Seriously, so inspiring. And I love having the two generations here.

– Yes! (laughter) – That doesn’t always happen, so it is— because it’s amazing, like you said, just the amount that the little sacrifice of time to put into someone’s life and truly, completely change the way, not only do they view money, but what they do and the habits they create going forward and what your future is. And so much is thanks to Judy and the work that you put in. – Absolutely – So, I think that that’s just—it’s so fun. So fun to see you guys win and that the farm’s going to be paid off in a year! I love that so much. So great. Well, thank you, guys, for coming on and sharing your story. – Thank you, thank you. – Thank you for having us. (upbeat music) (upbeat music) (upbeat music) – Wow.

Judy and Katie— they are just so inspiring. I love their story. I’m so glad they came on. Now, we want to pay it forward. So, the first 30 people who text, “Get Started” to 33789 will receive free Financial Peace leader materials. You guys, completely free. First 30 peopl. So, do it now. Do it quick. Because we want you all to have financial freedom, but that means we’re going to have to work together. Thanks so much to Lewis Howes and Judy and Katie for stopping by. And if you guys have not subscribed to my podcast yet, make sure you do that. Just search “The Rachel Cruze Show” wherever you listen. And thank you guys for watching. And remember, take control of your money, and create a life you love. (woosh) .

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