Young Debt-Free Families (#5): A Financial Planner’s Perspective with NextGen Wealth

This week we are excited to share another story from a  Young Debt-Free Family. The story below features Clint at NextGen Wealth. Clint is a Certified Financial Planner (CFP) who has been in the financial services and financial planning business since 2001. He brings a unique perspective given his experience and I hope you enjoy his family’s story.  

Clint is a fellow Missourian from the other side of the state and enjoys craft beer and golf. Since Clint sent the draft below, he and his wife Christa welcomed their first baby, Harper, into the world. One of the best gifts we can give to our children is financial peace, and as you’ll read below, Clint and Christa are well positioned to do just that.

I hope you enjoy Clint’s story as much as I did!

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Young Debt-Free Families Interview with Clint from NextGen Wealth

1) Start by telling us about yourself. Please include any details you feel comfortable sharing about your family, job situation, income level, and amount of debt paid.

It’s been a while since my wife and I have had any debt (besides out mortgage). I did come out of college with some credit card debt. However, I do see debt on a regular basis with my job as a financial planner. So, I’m always trying to help clients pay down high-interest debts as well – but more on that later.

As for my personal life, I’m 39-years-old, have been married for 10 years and by the time you read this, we will have had our first child.

I’ve been a financial planner since I graduated college way back in 2001. I’ve worked with a few firms over the years before starting my own, NextGen Wealth, about four years ago. I had a vision of helping individuals in every area of their financial life rather than just investments, since that piece has become so commoditized. I absolutely love working with my clients and helping them on their path to financial freedom.

In late 2018, I started another business, NextGen Life Insurance, which is strictly a blog that provides honest and unbiased advice so individuals can make the best decision when it comes to purchasing life insurance. As a disclaimer, I do not sell life insurance at NextGen Life Insurance or NextGen Wealth.

As for revenue for the business this year, it will again be in the lower six figures with a goal of 40% growth. Since I started NextGen Wealth, growth has consistently been 50%+ each year, but that type of growth becomes harder and harder the larger the revenue is from the previous year. However, I feel like I have a solid plan in place to achieve 40%+ this year.

2) What inspired you to payoff your debt? Did you have a specific moment where you decided to make it a goal to payoff your debt?

Like anyone else who had or has high-interest debt, it truly is a burden on your life. You think about it all the time and the interest continues to pile up every single month. It can be overwhelming.

At some point, you start to realize you’re not making as much progress as you’d like and it needs to become a priority in your financial life. For me personally when I had debt, and any of my clients who come to me with debt, it starts to wear on you enough that eventually you need to create a debt payoff plan.

3) How did you stay disciplined throughout the process to pay down your debt?

It’s not easy because you still have other bills to pay and you still want to have some semblance of a life. However, what it really comes down to is you either have to make more money or spend less in order to pay down the debt.

Since most people have a fixed income and don’t have time for a side hustle (although I always encourage it), it comes down to cutting out certain things to focus on paying down the debt. It can be difficult for a while, but if you’re serious about paying it off, then you’ll make it a priority.

What I’ve found to help is visualizing what it will feel like not having debt anymore. The peace of mind it will bring and being able to save for other goals, along with simply being able to think about the future without the debt weighing on your mind, are all things that will keep you motivated.

4) Were there any apps, tools, or websites that were especially helpful in paying down debt?

What I typically recommend (and what I used), was just a simple budget spreadsheet. The way that I look at it is you have fixed expenses and variable expenses. Paying down your debt must be treated like a fixed expense.

If your goal is to pay $500 toward your debt on a monthly basis and you only have so much money to work with, then you have to determine how to make the variable expenses work taking into account that $500. Let’s face it, no one (at least that I know of) has ever been successful in paying down debt with money that they have leftover at the end of each month – because, as we all know, there typically isn’t any.

Debt needs to be treated like the preferred savings method of paying yourself first. Pay your debt first and then figure out how much you have leftover for variable expenses.

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5) What advice would you provide to other young families who are overcome by the stresses of debt?

Like I mentioned earlier, I believe visualizing what your life will look like without having debt can do wonders. Think about how you will feel, what you will do and the other incredible things you can use this money for.

6) What are future plans for your family after becoming debt free?

For me and families that I work with, I truly believe the sky is the limit when you become free from burdensome high-interest debt. You can now save money for the things you really want to accomplish like financial independence, a new house, your children’s college, that dream vacation, etc.

Becoming debt free will open up a world of possibilities where you get to call the shots now. You finally get to have complete control of your financial life.

7) Are you pursuing (or have you reached) financial independence?

Absolutely, I’m definitely pursuing financial independence. While I’m not there yet (we have big dreams), we are certainly on our way.

We know that with the plan we have in place that if we continue to save like we’re saving that it won’t be too far off in the distant future. Just thinking about financial independence makes me excited and more motivated to stick with the plan and get there even faster.

8) Where can we learn more about your story?

Feel free to check out the bio on my website for more personal and professional information of what I love doing and why. 

Thanks again to Clint at NextGen Wealth for being willing to share his family’s story. If you have questions, please contact Clint or leave below in the comments. Thanks for reading!

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