54 minutes | Aug 14th 2019

Second Chances in Life, Marriage and Money

Brandon Cunningham has an incredible story of determination, second chances and of finding financial freedom after divorce and two close calls with death. At 27 years old, already a husband and a father, Brandon had a devastating stroke.  His recovery was slow.  But he was still able to finish college without significant delay and then began a career.  Sadly, over the years he and his wife grew apart and the marriage did not survive.  After the divorce, Brandon found himself in debt and raising two children.  It was at about that time that he found Dave Ramsey and he began working very hard, living frugally and making sacrifices and eventually paid off his debt.  He remarried and he and his new wife combined their family and finances.  Unfortunately, his wife was still paying off debt, so Brandon found himself, once again paying off debt.  The fortunate thing was that his wife was on board with becoming debt-free and building a financially independent life.   Brandon suggests, that if at all possible, do not enter a marriage with debt.  At the very least make sure you and your potential spouse are on the same page.  He and his wife worked very hard to become debt-free and invested consistently over the years to become financially free.  Last year, Brandon began feeling a pain in his shoulder that would not go away.  Eventually, he went to the emergency room after some convincing from his wife.  It was a very good thing his wife insisted he go because he passed out in the hospital and it was soon discovered he had a 99% blockage in his arteries.  The blockage was serious, it is commonly referred to as the "widowmaker."  Brandon underwent surgery pretty quickly and thankfully made a full recovery.   Having two significant life-threatening health events, helped Brandon and his wife to understand the importance of having their affairs in order.   It has also given them an appreciation for life and the desire to experience time with their family.  Brandon spent a little time after his surgery getting his coworkers prepared for his departure and after about six months he was able to retire at age 49 - one year prior to a life long dream of retiring by 50. What Bradon savors now are the special moments he is able to spend with his children and grandchildren. He appreciates the importance of being able to spend time with his family.   Financial freedom has given him the ability to spend whatever time he has left with the people that matter the most.  BRANDON ON THE FINAL QUESTIONS:  Lessons he wants his children to carry over into adulthood:  Take risks now while you are young. Be all in.   Time is on your side.  Money lessons from his own childhood that he has carried over into his Financial Independence Journey:  He did not have good financial education growing up. However, he did learn that ignoring finances will not make things better.   Favorite Reads:  Automatic Millionnaire - David Bach The Millionaire Next Door - Thomas Stanley   Where can you find Brandon:   beyondtherut.com    
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