Why Having Debt Doesn’t Disqualify You From Becoming a Financial Coach

Every day, Ramsey Solutions financial coach Rusty Hodges walks alongside people deep in debt and desperate to get out. He gives them the tools they need to take control of their finances—and he mentors other financial coaches in training.

But 10 years ago, Rusty was the last person you’d imagine as a financial coach or a mentor to other coaches. That’s because he and his wife had $120,000 of consumer debt themselves.

Then they enrolled in Financial Peace University, made a plan for their money, and began paying off one debt at a time. They finally felt hopeful.

But after a brief relapse into their old habits, Rusty and his wife knew they needed real accountability, so they began coordinating FPU themselves. If they stood in front of people teaching the material, they’d have to stick to their plan. That’s when everything really changed for them. Not only did they never again live beyond their means, but Rusty discovered he’d gained enough knowledge and experience to help people in his classes on an individual basis.

“Naturally, as I was leading the class and sharing our own story and the things we were sacrificing, people asked me for help with specific problems,” he says. “It was really informal, but I started meeting with them one-on-one and going through their budgets to figure out what the issues were. They started to view me as someone they could trust and talk to.”

That was the start of Rusty’s journey into financial coaching—and it came when he and his wife were still paying off their own debt.

Then, in 2012, an opportunity opened up at Ramsey Solutions to join the team as a full-time financial coach in Nashville, Tennessee. Rusty came on board in December 2012 and has coached thousands of clients in the last four years—all the while still digging his way out of his own debt.

But Rusty’s story—including his debt—has never been a liability. Instead, Rusty has used his past mistakes to inspire each client to overcome their own financial struggles. In fact, his story is always the first thing he shares with each new client. It’s why they trust him.

“Your background and credentials are irrelevant when it comes to helping someone who is hurting,” Rusty says. “Your experience—what you’ve lived—is the most powerful thing that someone could hear.”

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