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How We Got Out of BAD Debt
by Robert Kiyosaki

Robert and Kim

Kim and I had a lot of debt when we started our lives together. We estimate we had a total debt of about $400,000 and growing, as interest accrued. Much of this debt came from a business I lost early on in my career.

On top of that burden, we went through a horrific year in 1985 as we were building our next business. It is hard enough building a business when there is not much money coming in, but it was even harder with $400,000 of debt hanging around our necks. It was not a fun way to start a life together.

In 1984, we left Hawaii. Kim sold everything she had and I shut down my manufacturing business and we moved to California. We ran out of what little money we had in about three months. We found ourselves broke and, for a short period of time, homeless. It was the toughest time of our lives. To survive, we maxed out every credit card we could get our hands on, which meant debt was increasing again.

Fortunately, a friend let us live in an apartment in her garage as we rebuilt our lives. As those of you who have fallen behind know, it is hard to get ahead with debt hanging over your head. It was tough just buying a car, which we did at an extremely high interest rate. During this period of our lives, we worked at odd jobs just to cover our debts, to eat, and to keep a roof over our heads. We did this after we worked on our business. So, we know well what it’s like to be swimming in debt. We know what it’s like to struggle financially as well as endure the stress and anguish it causes.

On several occasions, we considered declaring bankruptcy, but we did not. We thought it best that we learn our lessons and pay back the money. For us, paying the money back was a wise decision because it made us stronger as a couple, smarter as investors and business people, and more confident about our future. By 1990, we were out of consumer debt and had paid back most of the $400,000 I owed my investors. Today we are richer, not just because we have a lot of money—but richer from the experience and the lessons we learned digging our way out of debt.

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