A Connecticut pharmacist went from being six figures in debt to financial freedom by downgrading his expenses and implementing discipline in his spending power. Now the healthcare professional has created a new life with disposable income since becoming debt- free.
In 2014, Ludwig Rosiclair was $230,000 in the red and drowning in bills, after racking up bills earning his doctorate in pharmacy from the University of Connecticut, and living beyond his means, MarketWatch reports.
Instead of an affordable car, the 33-year-old bought himself a German luxury car. His Audi S4 was his dream car, a sparkling black with a red interior, which required him to get a $47,000 loan and make monthly car note payments of $740. He also paid hundreds of dollars in insurance, gas and repairs to maintain the car.
His rent was also expensive. He lived in a ritzy part of town and while he had a roommate, he still was dishing out $1,000 a month to live there.
Despite struggling to meet his financial obligations, Rosiclair made a habit of going out to eat with friends and buying depreciating assets like shoes and clothes. He said it best, “[I was] blowing through everything I had.”
Statistically, Rosiclair is like many millennials who are struggling in debt.
The average millennial, according to a survey conducted by Real Estate Witch, has $117,000 worth of debt, with 72 percent of it not being related to owning property.
The research discovered 67 percent of millennials’ debt comes from credit cards. Forty-eight percent of young people between the ages of 26 and 41 have debt associated with student loans, 42 percent with personal loans, 42 percent with medical debt and 40 percent with auto loans. Only 33 percent of millennials have debt connected to a mortgage.
Rosiclair, like many in his generation, was running in circles to stay afloat. To cover his bills, he worked crazy hours in his position at a retail pharmacy. But he was burning himself out. He felt as though he could not quit but didn’t believe he could continue on the same path.
How He Changed His Money Habits
“That was kind of the moment where I said, ‘I’m never going to feel like this again,’ ” he said.
The change in his life came from adopting the debt-reducing methodology of Dave Ramsey’s Debt Snowball Method.
According to its website, this method is a debt-reduction program “where you pay off debt in order of smallest to largest, gaining momentum as you knock out each remaining balance. When the smallest debt is paid in full, you roll the minimum payment you were making on that debt into the next-smallest debt payment.”
There are four steps to this process.
Step 1: List your debts from smallest to largest regardless of interest rate.
Step 2: Make minimum payments on all your debts except the smallest.
Step 3: Pay as much as possible on your smallest debt.
Step 4: Repeat until each debt is paid in full.
Rosiclair started the process by reviewing his monthly spending habits, juxtaposing them against how much he earned and then reducing excess spending. This included making some drastic cuts to things he loved, like his nice downtown neighborhood in which he lived. He moved out, set up shop in a cheaper part of town, and got two new roommates to help him with expenses. He reduced his rent bill by $550.
He also cut down expenses by selling his Audi and shopping for a cheaper insurance plan for his new car, a used 2011 Acura TSX he bought for much less than his dream car.
The program helped him become more aware of his spending behavior, and he was mindful not to eat out as much and buy things he knew he didn’t need. “I did everything possible to minimize spending and throw everything at my debt,” he recalled.
He also picked up a side hustle and became a part-time photographer.
One of the things he realized is that this journey was not just about money, but his mind and how he felt about himself. Rosiclair changed not just his spending habits, but invested in his mental and physical health. He got himself a therapist and nutrition coach, and within six years by August 2020, he was debt-free.
“That was honestly the most incredible feeling I have ever felt in my life,” he said. “Like a full high for days.”
A new person, he met his current girlfriend (inspiring her to get her finances right), got a new job as a pharmacist at a medical marijuana dispensary, and upgraded to a nicer apartment.
And with his new skill and mindset, he is maintaining his zero balance.