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Half a Million Dollars of Debt—Paid Off!

Half a Million Dollars of Debt—Paid Off!


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By October of 1988, Cory Fawcett finished medical school carrying $18,000 of student loan debt. He started his medical residency, married his fiancé Carolyn and then two weeks later…

“I called her in the morning, and I told her that I had atrial fibrillation, I’m in the intensive care unit,” Cory recalls. “I was a little concerned about, you know, what would happen if he should pass away,” says Carolyn. “People can have this and live a normal life. That event created a lot more trauma in her than me,” Cory explains. Cory and Carolyn moved forward and started their married life together.

Now that Cory was collecting a salary, the couple discussed tithing. Cory says, “I knew about tithing, but I kind of thought it was for people that had their life all together.” Carolyn shares her memories about those early days, “He wasn’t sure he had enough money to continue tithing, but I wanted to tithe.” Cory was only willing to give 2% of his income to their church. “I didn't really think that us beginners who just got our first job were supposed to be tithing," says Cory.

However, over time the Fawcett’s moved up to tithing 10% of from Cory’s income. “I was amazed that it seemed fine” says Cory. “We weren't having any problem living on his income. We had everything we needed” Carolyn adds. Within 6 months Carolyn landed a job as a corporate accountant.

The Fawcett’s decided to put Carolyn’s salary in savings and continue living solely on Cory’s income. Carolyn recalls, “We could save for the future, have a nicer life later on”. By 1993, Cory finished his residency with only $6,000 left of student debt.  His next step was to become an attending surgeon. Life for the Fawcett’s changed dramatically. “Cory's salary went up about five – four or five times what he was making” says Carolyn.  Cory shares how things changed, “Over the next few years, you know, we bought a house, we bought a motorhome, I bought into my practice. We bought a piece of property that we were going to build a house on. And within about three years, we went from $6,000 in debt to around a half-million dollars in debt.”

Although Cory was making enough money to support his family comfortably, Carolyn was becoming more and more concerned over the increasing amount of debt they were racking up. “I wasn't sure why my wife was so concerned about the debt, as far as I was concerned, we could easily make the payments, so what's the big deal” expresses Cory. Even though Cory had only one AFIB event several years earlier, their debt brought back renewed fears for his health and their livelihood. Carolyn has a different memory of those years, “It was very concerning that he could die, and I would be responsible to repay the $500,000. And we did not have $500,000 in savings.”

At a loss for what to do, Carolyn took her concerns to God.

“I prayed about how we could get out of debt and ran across an advertisement for a book of how to get out of debt and showed it to my husband,” says Carolyn. “And in there it said that we could be debt-free in just a few years if we decided to. Half a million dollars, that just didn't make any sense. But the math worked out,” Cory says. Carolyn shares how they did it. “We stopped a lot of our savings and funneled the money toward the debt and knocked off one debt at a time.” In 3 and a half years, the Fawcett’s paid off 1/2 a million dollars in debt. A relieved Carolyn says, “Becoming debt free was very freeing.”

“All through this period when we were getting out of debt, we did not stop tithing, because it belongs to God,” says Cory. Then in 2004, when a tsunami hit Indonesia, the Fawcett’s wrote a check in support of those who were devastated by the storm. Within two hours of writing the check… “Somebody who I had loaned money to wanted to pay off the loan. Then I went to work and sitting on my desk was a check from an investment that I had made as a physician. I had received 30% more than I gave away. And I got goosebumps,” says Cory. Carolyn recalls her joy in that moment. “That was really exciting how the lord gave us back way more than we had given.”

Today, Carolyn and Cory enjoy teaching others how to become financially successful. They believe their faithful giving to God through the years has changed their lives for the better. Carolyn trusts, “when we tithe, it shows God that we love him.” When it comes to tithing, Cory knows ”90% of your income plus God is always better than 100% of your income without God. Giving changes your life.”


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About The Author


Cheryl Wilcox is a 700 Club Producer.