Long Story $hort: Season 3, Episode 1

Working with MMI to Avoid Filing for Bankruptcy

Ryan Revell is a mom of three, who after getting married, quickly spiralled into credit card debt. When her and her husband sat down and calculated just how much debt they had, they totaled up $28,000.

Wanting to avoid filing for bankruptcy, Ryann and her husband decided to call Money Management International. In just five years, Ryann and her husband paid off their debt in full and now live a happier, less stressful life.

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Ryann Revell, Long Story $hort podcast.

Show Notes

  • Guest: Ryann Revell
  • Host: Adam Walker
  • Publication Date: November 7, 2023


1:05 | Ryann talks about her early experiences using credit cards and how her debt quickly spiraled after having children.

2:21 | Ryann explains why she chose a debt management plan with MMI over filing for bankruptcy.

5:48 | Ryann talks about her family adjusting to not relying so heavily on credit.

7:29 | Adam and Ryann talk about being parents and how a desire to provide for your children can sometimes lead into debt.

9:43 | Ryann provides details about her experience working with MMI.

Episode Transcript

Adam Walker: Debt. We've all heard of it. Most of us have it. Debt is an almost unavoidable reality of life. But what happens when it starts consuming life? The experts at Money Management International believe that financial challenges aren't meant to be faced alone. On this podcast, we hear stories of peoples whose lives have been changed by MMI's role as their toughest coach and loudest cheerleader. Their stories are unique, personal, and inspiring, so stay tuned because we're sharing each guest's Long Story $hort. Today's guest is Ryan Revell, a mother of three who, after getting married and having children, quickly fell into credit card debt. Wanting to avoid filing for bankruptcy, Ryan reached out to MMI in hopes of paying off her debt in full. Now, five years later, Ryan has not only paid off her debt of $28,000, but has also improved her spending habits. Ryan, welcome to the show.

Ryann Revell: Thank you so much. Thanks for having me.

Adam Walker: Well, I'm excited to, to talk to you, let's start with your debt story. Walk us through where you've come from, where you're at now.

Ryann Revell: Well, me and my husband, we got married. We, wanted to do vacations and stuff before we had kids. And you start getting all of those credit card offers in the mail. And you're like, "Oh, wow." And then you start getting approved for them. And you think, "Wow, I have really good credit." And, we were young when we got married. So, that mindset we had was, when we started getting these credit cards is, you feel like it's free money and then, every month you get that bill and you're like, "Oh no no, we're going to pay it off, it's not that high." And then you have children and you start paying for doctor bills and groceries and daycares and you end up years living off of credit cards. And it's awful because you'll start living off of them and you go in to the grocery store and then you're like, "Oh my gosh, no, that card's maxed out or let's use this card." And after a while, you just hit rock bottom and you just can't do it anymore. You realize that there's a huge problem.

Adam Walker: And what, so you mentioned hit rock bottom, like what was- so I guess two questions. Was there like any specific event that sort of made you go, "Oh, I got to figure out a way out of this?" And then what did you do next?

Ryann Revell: When we sat down and when you add up the debt and see it on paper and when there's no more available credit, it's depressing. It's really a kick in the face. And you're like, "We we're going to have to do something. We got to figure something out." You decide whether to try and get a handle on it and work with the creditors or bankruptcy. And then when you go and meet with the bankruptcy attorney, it's really people will say, "We'll just file bankruptcy." It's really not fun and easy to have to even consider that. So that's when you look into, companies like MMI.

Adam Walker: Gotcha. So, all right. So, well, let me ask you that. Why was bankruptcy not fun to look into? Like what were the drivers? I'd love for you to explore that just for a second. Well,

Ryann Revell: So we go and meet with them because we thought- because everybody tells you to do that, we'll just do that. "Just do all that, it's going to hurt you for a while." And so you go in there and they're like, "Okay, do y'all have any 401k, anything like that? Do you have any type of savings?" We're like, "We have some." And they're like, "Okay, well, if you file this way, they're going to take everything you've got, they're going to take this.." They were saying if you file a certain way, they can take your cars and it's really just very scary because you're like, "Oh, no..." And they're like, "As soon as you speak to an attorney and then you file, they'll come in and they'll say, well, we can take it. We're gonna take this." And it's really, me and my husband went and met with an attorney when we left it was just- It was a horrible feeling, like, "No, we can't do this. There's got to be other options."

Adam Walker: So, yeah, so, and there were, obviously, right? So, then you said you, when you added it all up, it was like shocking, right? Do you mind sharing what it added up to? And do you mind sharing where you're at now?

Ryann Revell: It was, this was five years ago when we added it up, it was about 27,000, 28,000 dollars. And then, as of now with MMI, it's gone, it's paid off.

Adam Walker: Oh man. All right. Wow. Oh, that's so exciting.

Ryann Revell: Five years learning to not have credit cards to have to save, and in the beginning it's very hard, it's very hard, but it teaches you so much.

Adam Walker: So, all right, walk me through the overview of like what that five years, right? So, you said at the beginning it's very hard. So, like, I'd love for you to just describe, like, what was hard? What was that like? But then what was it like as you continued through the process?

Ryann Revell: So, in the very beginning, you go shopping with the kids and they're like, "Hey, can I get some, this is a really nice t-shirt, I like these shoes..." and you're like, "Oh yeah!" And you're just so used to, "Yeah, let's go ahead and grab them. You need them." And you can't because you don't have a card anymore and you don't have it in your bank account and you're like, "Nope, we're going to have to wait on those." And it's frustrating because well, "We'll just come back for them. We'll save it." And you go back and you just, you, especially as you see your amount, you know decreasing, it really is, it makes you depressed at first you're like, "I can't go do this, we can't go buy that." But you see how much progress you're making and it's amazing and that after a few months you're like this can work. We can do this.

Adam Walker: Okay, so like I just want to make sure I'm hearing you. So basically it sounded like it's a hard learning curve for the first, I don't know, several, let's say six months. Then once you see the progress, it's like, "Oh, okay, we can make this, we can dive into this, we can make this happen. Is that it?

Ryann Revell: When you send your money, MMI takes it and you see how they apply it because they work with the creditors, they lowered the interest rates, you're like "They're putting so much. It's just about all of that. You're paying these creditors. It's not going to interest. They lowered the interest. It's really coming down!"

Adam Walker: And you see that balance tick down every time. So it's like that encouragement like, "Let's go, let's do more. Let's do more!" And so, you went through that problem. I'm curious, like, what did you learn through that problem? It sounds like you learned first of all, saving for later, that kind of thing. But like, any other lessons that you learned through that process, you could share with us?

Ryann Revell: You don't have to buy everything. You learn what's not important. Don't impulse, don't be an impulse shopper. I learned not thinking I was, but then after all this, you're like, "My gosh, I really was, you go through and you look at stuff and you're like, I didn't, I paid for this. I charged it. We didn't need it. We didn't use it. We didn't wear it." And you learn like "We can go without certain things." You can go without, or if you want something really hard, you say for it.

Adam Walker: Now, you just, said something I think is interesting. You said, "I didn't think I was an impulse shopper." And it makes me wonder, like, I wonder if we're all a lot more impulse shoppers than we realize, is that what you would say? Like people are, tend to be a bit more impulsive than we recognize?

Ryann Revell: I think so. My husband will say he's not. I've never seen anybody who will, and it'll bother me- because I'm like, "Do you want this?" He'll research it. He'll compare where he can do this, where he can get the best price, and it drives me crazy. But then I think, he's probably the smarter one. Because me, I'm like, "Oh yeah, grab it." And I don't even, whatever it is, I won't even use it or wear it. And you're like, "Should I have bought that?" I should have been like, like my husband and just, thought about it more. But I think most people are, I think we are, when we see something, we're like, oh yeah.

Adam Walker: Yeah, well, I think also the problem as a parent, we tend to be that way even more so for our loved ones, right? Like, because it's like even if we don't necessarily want something for us, it's like, "Oh, you, definitely need those." But like, do they, really need those? Like, probably not.

Ryann Revell: It got much, the spending got much worse when you have children, especially when you have your first baby, because you're like, you want to buy everything. You want to go, you want to do this, you want to do that. And it's just, you don't even buy stuff for yourself, but you're like, this is awesome. We got to have it.

Adam Walker: Well, not only that; that I was joking with a friend of mine the other day, that's how about to have his third child. And it was funny, because like, the first child you buy everything, like, every device, everything, like it's insane how much you buy. By the time you get to the third kid, you have like one very simple stroller and that's about it. Like you just don't need all that other stuff. You just realize like, we don't need that stuff.

Ryann Revell: I know, you feel bad for the third kid because we have three children. You feel bad for that third one because you're like, you look and you, that first one had their photos taken all the time. They had all this.

Adam Walker: The professional one, probably, right?

Ryann Revell: Yeah. I haven't even done my third one's baby book yet. You feel awful. You do. You're just like. Yeah. So sorry...

Adam Walker: I think you get a lot more practical by that time. And that's probably a good thing. So, let's keep talking about your story for just a minute. So you, it sounds like you got into rhythm in the first year, walked me through, it's that middle time and, then the end of like how that, debt payoff went. Any, kind of significant things you learned there or anything happen there?

Ryann Revell: No, as the balance got lower and lower it was really like, want to, we want to do this. We want to do better. We want to save, we want to, and when you finally pay that off and there's no more drafting from your account for your MMI payment, that feeling is, wonderful. It's so much weight is off of you and you're like, "I had so much debt and we got rid of it and we didn't have to go through bankruptcy where they threatened to basically take everything from you."

Adam Walker: Yeah, that's, great. All right. So let's talk about MMI for a second. So you mentioned that- just want to make sure our listeners get the full overview. So like, what's it like, tell me about the first time you called MMI and tell me about the plan they put you on, how that worked.

Ryann Revell: So we first called and they want to know all of your expenses. They want to know how much you pay for, daycare, what you spend for groceries, electricity, any type of utilities, your car payment, your car insurance, that added on to what you pay every month with your debt. So, it's even more depressing. And there's no judgment from them. So they'll ask you what they need from you, you provide all of your creditors, the balances, minimum payments and then they'll say we can, with this particular credit with Chase or City, we can get it down to 2 percent interest or 0%. And then they'll work out how much it would be per month. And they'll say, they'll show you what you will be saving going, dealing with them and have them basically fight your battle for you with these creditors. And then what's most comforting is, the phone calls stop from the creditors. They intervene on that. They get your agreements done. You don't have to do it. So it's very comforting.

Adam Walker: Yeah. So it sounds like you're gaining some peace of mind because the phone calls stop and you're actually like really saving money, honestly because you're paying a lower interest. And it's simpler because you're paying one payment and then they're taking it. Is that an accurate description?

Ryann Revell: Yes, because we tell them, this is how much I pay. And then they're like, "Well, we can come in. We can do this, and it's going to, you'll have it paid off in, five years, that's the plan." And then they'll show you what you're paying and what we'll get you. And it wasn't much cheaper, but at least I'd make headway with them. I was already paying it, but I wasn't getting anywhere.

Adam Walker: All right. And so you mentioned, two things you mentioned I'd like to just explore for a second. So you said they were so kind and you said there was no judgment. And so I, think one of the barriers for a lot of people is like admitting it to yourself first of all, like that's terrifying. And just to admit it openly to yourself is terrifying, but I think then saying it out loud to another human being has got to be almost as terrifying as that. So like, so tell me more about that experience, like just getting the ball rolling, essentially.

Ryann Revell: It really, it was very easy. Because I imagine people might call with even more debt sadly and they didn't seem shocked. They didn't blink it. They didn't you know, make a noise. They didn't, it was just "Okay let me see what you're paying, how much your interest is..." Judgment came when we thought we were gonna have to file bankruptcy went to the attorney's office. That was awful. Just you know telling them, "Nope. We can't do this. We can't do that." And MMI was different, it was you know, like I said, it was just very easy, very comforting. Yeah, very comforting.

Adam Walker: Love that. All right. So then, so you went through a five year process, you're paying the MMI, that bulk of money there, paying off debts; tell me about, because I wonder, if listeners wonder about this, you have kids, how was Christmas? Like, were you still able to do Christmas presents? Were you still able to go on vacation? Walk me through that kind of stuff.

Ryann Revell: We did. Like I said, you realize what you don't need and what you do need. Christmas, kids get stuff that they don't really need. But, our children have never been truly spoiled, a thousand dollar Christmas on each of them. So, we would just realize, " Let's buy what we truly know that they're going to like, a child's going to circle everything in a Christmas book and you see it and you're like, I know this one, they're not going to play with that." So, you save for what you know is important and you shop sales. Huge believer in the sales.

Adam Walker: Okay. Okay. Any favorites?

Ryann Revell: Christmas time, you get that Target app and you get some discounts on certain toys. I would actually, cause I think Target does it every year. You'll save 20-25 percent on one toy. And I would pick, especially Lego sets. Legos are very expensive. And I would be like, okay, he wants this set. And I would actually wait until that offer would come. And I would go and specifically just buy that one toy and save a good bit of money. For me it was you're shopping more because you're trying to save all get the best deals right at Christmas because you don't want to you, don't have a credit card to charge anything buy everything all at once but it's worth it .You know, you don't really have a choice but you're getting stuff that you that they really want and you're getting at a really good deal.

Adam Walker: It's probably a better quality of toy that they're really getting for Christmas anyway at the end of the day. So then, you mentioned earlier, you said like the amazing feeling it was when you get to that month where you, there's no payment going out to them, it's all paid off. It felt amazing. So my question to you is, what does freedom from debt look like for you?

Ryann Revell: Oh gosh, you're just happier. Everything around you is just, happy. You're just positive. Everything around you just has this positive energy. It's just, you feel like you won the Olympics. It's like, wow.

Adam Walker: Okay. Okay. I love that.

Ryann Revell: It's kinda of like, when you pay off a car and, or for some people paying off their student loans. Yeah, it's that negative part of your life is gone. It's gone and you paid what you charged. they helped you out, they lowered the interest, but you still, it was mine. I charged it, it was my responsibility and I paid it and got it done.

Adam Walker: Okay. Okay. Love that. I love that. Okay. All right. So last question. This has been a great interview, by the way. Last question. What advice would you have for anyone listening to this episode that's this dealing with debt right now?

Ryann Revell: Reach out if you haven't reached out to a company like MMI. Don't hesitate, do it, in your mind, because I used to be this way. "Oh, don't worry, I'm going to, we're going to pay this. We're going to get caught up when we get our tax return." Just call them, just sit down with them, they're going to call you. Get everything together. See what they say. People will tell you just go to, the easy route bankruptcy. No, yeah, you might get it all washed away, but it comes at a cost that I was not aware of until we met with an attorney. And that's the cost that I was not wanting to have to do, not wanting to pay. So if you haven't contacted MMI, do it. And do what they say, listen to what they say, and when you see that balance going down, check it every month, check your balance, see what has been paid. And when you start seeing the little credit cards getting paid off, you really feel like it's, " We're going to get this, we're going to get this done." Yeah, it's a wonderful feeling. Yeah, don't hesitate.

Adam Walker: Ryann, you are an inspiration. I love your energy. I love all of your accomplishments. So impressed. And really just, so thankful that you're willing to share your story with us on the show today.

Ryann Revell: Thank you so much.

Adam Walker: Thanks for listening to this episode of Long Story $hort brought to you by Money Management International. To learn more about how MMI helps people from all walks of life get unstuck and out of the vicious cycle of debt through personalized solutions that inspire hope, visit moneymanagement.org. This episode was produced by Edgewise media. Script writing and production by Clara Jennings. Editing by Brandon Ellis and show hosting by me, Adam Walker.

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