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Debt Free With A $300k Portfolio!

"Perseverance is not a long race; it is many short races one after the other." – Walter Elliot

"It’s not your salary that makes you rich, it’s your spending habits." – Charles A. Jaffe


Getting out of debt is not an easy thing to do. It takes conviction, a strong "why", a plan, a budget and LOTS of encouragement. And as a coach, I've seen that one of the best ways for our students to stay motivated is to hear other people's stories, listen to their struggles and live vicariously through their wins.

This is the whole reason I started this "Journey To Debt-Freedom" series. I wanted to curate a reservoir of personal stories that will help you "find your own story" and keep marching forward toward your personal finance goals and ultimately to debt-freedom and beyond. 

Along those lines, if you have a "debt-free" or "on-my-way-to debt-free" story, I'd love to share yours with our audience. It's always such a gift to our subscribers and fans to hear your particular story AND will help you, especially if you have a a blog/platform/YouTube channel you want to promote (although that's not at all necessary).

Next up in our "Journey To Debt-Freedom" series, meet Matt Ramey!


Introduce yourself, Matt.


Matt Ramey, Minneapolis, MN. Building my businesses, helping companies build financial models, building a $50,000+/yr. in annual dividend income!


Give me a little bit of background about your financial situation and your decision to "tackle it". Tell me about how much debt you've paid off so far and in how much time. What is your debt made up of?

Currently living debt-free after I sold my house 2 years ago. I still take on 'good debt' (i.e. credit cards which I pay in full, get the rewards, and never incur interest payments) but other than that, I'm looking to maintain as debt-free a situation as possible.

I do currently rent, which could be looked at as a form of debt. I will eventually buy a house again, which then will have 'good debt' but the goal is to take on a 15 year mortgage, possibly get a duplex or rental potential from it, and have the mortgage partially paid for.

So my situation is rather unique in that I've typically been good with money, though I did have a period in college where I had no formal budget set up. One day I incurred an overdraft free on my checking accounting and was mad at myself - I was giving away my money in the form of mis-managing my financial situation. I told myself that would never happen again, decided to build a budget, track where my funds were going and the rest is history.

I now have a very healthy $300k stock portfolio which yields $8k+/yr in dividend income. The goal is to take that to $50,000+/yr and retire early.


Looking for a way to get started on your own debt-free journey? Check out my: 

 “Debt-Elimination Quick-Start Guide”. This free resource will have ALL the tools, forms and printables you’ll need while moving through this 30 day challenge.



What was "the moment" you decided, "enough is enough" and what actions did you take or resources did you use to get the process started?

In the previous answer, it was when I received an overdraft fee on my checking account in college. A seemingly small issue, but it really made me mad that I was giving away my money. Vowed from there that I would get a handle on my financial situation and did so.


Looking for a ways to live more frugally and address your debt? Check out my: 100 Frugal Ways To Save Money And Get Out Of Debt.


What was your "why"? What kept you going when you wanted to quit? How did you stay motivated?

My "why" was never giving away my money again. I work hard for what I earn, it's mine to keep and use as I see fit, and I no longer wanted to incur fees that are totally avoidable. From there, I've developed a very good financial tracking system that I update 1x/week - I see the process along the way on a day-by-day basis.


Describe your "belief system" about money and (if/how) has it changed? Maybe even talk about how you were brought up to think about money and how that changed as you progressed through the process.

It's interesting because I've done a lot of self-work on myself, so I know how important beliefs systems are in general. In reviewing my belief systems around money, I realized that while I fully believed in myself to earn more and more income, I had a view that the money in my savings could disappear, so I have to be very spend-thrift.

While I am still rather frugal, I am actively working on seeing various monies that I spend as 'investments' that I'm hoping to earn a return on. A great example is with my website, moneybyramey.com. I do a lot of the writing myself, but much of the social media and website upkeep is done by my team.

I have to view that as an investment that will pay off down the road. It's perhaps even changing myself to see that earning money through passive income is not only possible, but necessary to achieve Financial Freedom.


What have been the biggest/toughest sacrifices you've made in your personal finance/debt-elimination process?

I don't really have a 'crazy' story, but one thing I'd say is that I've always been a contrarian, and it's worked quite well. I bought my house during the 2008 housing crash, I sold at/near the top of its value in 2020. It's something I've learned that when everyone is greedy, sell - when everyone is fearful, buy.

This has been interesting with the house situation as I've taken the proceeds and invested in the market, earning a good return on my capital and building my dividend portfolio. Though at this present time, the housing market is pretty high, so I'm not in a mood to buy a house at the moment - hoping for a correction at some point.


Describe how it feels or how it feels to be debt-free. 

Debt-free is amazing, though I never thought I'd do it as early as I did.

I thought I'd do it once I paid down my house and really got to a place where I had no more house payment. Since the market was so high, I decided to sell as I didn't see my place as my forever home. It was a bit surreal - realizing that at that moment, I could have probably taken all my monies, moved to a country with lower cost of living, and retired. I knew I wasn't done yet though, so I moved onto the next stage of my plans and as per usual, life has a way of working itself out.

I'm always amazed that if we trust in a power greater than ourselves - for me that is my faith - then the path will be opened up before us, even if we are initially fearful as to where it may lead.


This “$1000 In 30 Days Challenge and Resource Pack” is designed to help you find, cut and/or earn $1000 inside of 30 days so that you can: pay off debt with it, save it or invest it.

Here's the free downloadable/printable PDF.


What are some pieces of advice you would give to someone who's ready to get serious about tackling their finances?

1. Set up a budget! That is by far the first step. Then make sure you are honest with yourself in regards to your #s. You won't get anywhere if you sugarcoat your situation. A plug: I have written a book on my budgeting process which is available on Amazon - Simple Budgeting.

2. Give yourself credit. It may be a long journey, but each little bit counts.

3. Stay disciplined. If you got in trouble with overwhelming debt, learn from your mistakes and build in habits so it doesn't happen again. For myself, I see this discipline playing out in many areas of my life - once we establish it as a habit, then the rest is on autopilot (with maintenance from time-to-time) :)

Where can we find you (website, social media, etc.)?


Twitter - @moneybyramey

IG - @moneybyramey

FB - facebook.com/moneybyrameydotcom

Youtube - https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCy0nn2GDRtjKHcpuoJXV3zQ?

I have two books: Simple Budgeting and Simple Investing. I'm also working on building out a series - 52 Weeks to Financial Freedom that everyone should check out. Good luck and let's tackle that debt!


Call To Action

Now that you've heard Matt's story, maybe you're ready to take a closer look at a "framework" to start your own "journey to debt freedom". And, if you’ve hung out on this platform for any length of time, you’ll know I’m all about helping you to take action. And here are two very easy next steps to keep you moving in the right direction:

  1. Download our free PDF guide that goes along with this series: “Debt-Elimination Quick-Start Guide”. This has a very comprehensive and dedicated video on establishing your “why”.
  2. Head over to YouTube and start with the “Day 0” video. You can totally binge-watch the whole series if you want. That “first pass” will give you an idea of where you are and what it’s going to take for you to get to the next level with your own personal situation. And again, starting with your “why” is the absolute most important step.

I want for you to capitalize on any and all emotional momentum you’ve gotten from this piece of content by committing two just getting started by completing those two actions I mentioned above. If you’ve done that, congratulations, you’ve started! Now just follow the breadcrumbs and please let me know what’s helpful and what you might need more detail around.


What To Do After That

After you complete the "quick start", maybe you'll be ready to take a closer look at a "framework" to continue your own "journey to debt freedom". So, I want to offer you another completely free resource that will help you map out your money with even more confidence.

Ready to get total control over your money? Introducing My FREE 8 Steps To Erase Debt Guide

These are the steps I personally followed to obliterate $43,000+ of debt in 2.5 years

Maybe your number is bigger, maybe it’s smaller. Either way the principles are the same and I want you to have them.

  1. Stop All Retirement Investing (Until Step 4)
  2. Build A Budget
  3. Starter Emergency Fund of $1000
  4. Eliminate Debts Smallest To Largest (a.k.a The Debt Snowball)
  5. Full Emergency Fund of 3-6+ Months’ Expenses
  6. Invest A Minimum of 15% Income Into Retirement Accounts (and increase savings rate to 50%+ if possible)
  7. College Funding (if applicable)
  8. Pay Off The Home Mortgage
  9. Build Wealth, Serve, Be Ridiculously Generous And Go FI (Financial Independence)!

I’ve created a simple, easy to follow “8 Steps To Erase Debt” guide that you can use as your foundation as you navigate the absolute annihilation of your debt forever. 


Here are some additional options to help you accomplish your personal finance goals:

  1. Check out our YouTube Channel for "how to" video guides.
  2. Join our Zero Debt Tribe Community on Facebook, a group of friendly, like-minded personal finance enthusiasts, budgeting nerds, debt-eliminators and “FI-ers” who are there to help each other succeed? Click here to request to join for support and encouragement!
  3. Our library of Free Products & Printables.


What do you need help with the most right now?

And finally, I want to encourage you and challenge you to get started in this process. You can do this by downloading this blogpost as your guide. The downloadable pdf contains all the printable forms and instructions you need to get this process started.

So, I’d LOVE to hear from you. The biggest compliment you can give me as your coach is to share your progress and your takeaways in the comments below.

I wish you nothing but great success in your personal finance endeavors and please let me know how I can help you accomplish your goals.

To your freedom,


Your Virtual Money Coach

[email protected]

This post may contain affiliate links. If you click & make a purchase, I receive a small commission (at no extra cost to you) that helps keep Zero Debt Coach up and running. Read my full disclosure policy.


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