How George Kamel and His Wife Became Mortgage Free Millionaires

January 24, 2024

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Plenty of us daydream about breaking free from debt. But can you imagine how it would feel to never have to worry about making another mortgage payment? As it turns out, achieving a mortgage-free existence is possible and we found a guest who can prove it. 

If you're a Dave Ramsey fan, then you may already know George Kamel as the co-host of The Ramsey Show and the Smart Money Happy Hour podcast. But you may be surprised to learn that before George joined the Dave Ramsey team, he too knew the stress of a negative net worth. 

Read on to discover how George escaped $40k in consumer debt to become a mortgage-free millionaire.  

The Pre-Ramsey Show George Kamel

The son of two Middle Eastern immigrants, George Kamel grew up in a hard-working family that faced the same financial struggles as many other people across the country. After earning a Communications degree at the University of Mobile, George found himself saddled with $40k worth of student loans and credit card debts. 

But in 2013, he started a job with Ramsey Solutions that would turn out to be a total game changer. It was during a Financial Peace University course that George was introduced to Ramsey's 7 Baby Steps for breaking free from debt and building wealth.

Not only did Ramsey's money plan help George escape debt in just 18 months, but they also set him on track to become the debt-free millionaire he is today. Ramsey Solutions was also where George met and fell in love with a beautiful fellow debt-free single named Whitney. 

It was only a matter of time before the two tied the knot and set out hand in hand on an amazing journey to wealth and happiness. 

The Journey to a Mortgage-Free Life

Given that George and Whitney were both masters of the Dave Ramsey way, it's no surprise that they were able to easily manage their money and stay out of debt. But in August 2019, the couple decided to set out on a journey that few people would ever dream was possible. 

Not only did they purchase a home for $229,000 in one of the wealthiest counties in Tennesee, but they decided to pay off their mortgage in under three years. Keep in mind that while the couple's combined income broke six figures, George had yet to become the Ramsey Show personality you know and love today. 

Nonetheless, after putting down a large down payment on the home, the pair managed to pay off their remaining $165k mortgage in December 2021 – just 26 months later. By the time they were 33 and 32, George and Whitney were the mortgage-free owners of a home that leaped in value to $529k in just a few years. Now let's talk about how in the world they pulled it off. 

The Motivations of Whitney and George Kamel 

What motivates a couple of young newlyweds to pay off their mortgage in record time? George sets the stage by explaining that, at the time, he and Whitney qualified as a “DINK” (Dual Income, No Kids) household. 

Turning to Ramsey's 7 Baby Steps, they discovered that they had completed the first four. “We're out of debt, we have an emergency fund, and we're investing 15% of our income in retirement,” George translates. 

Given that their only “child” was an adorable French Bulldog, they felt fairly confident that they could leapfrog over step five: setting up a college fund for their kids. After confirming that the pooch had no plans to pursue higher education, they decided to soldier on to step six: paying off their home early. 

George explains that, at this stage, he and Whitney also asked themselves several questions, such as “What would it be like to have no mortgage payment in our early 30s?” and “What kind of life would that give us 10–20 years from now?” Not only did these considerations put things in perspective, they helped the couple establish a “why” that they could use as motivation to help them stay on track.

The Down Payment Dilemma

In case you haven't noticed, George and Whitney do not play when it comes to incredible financial feats. To kick-start their journey, they decided to save up enough for a six-figure down payment – an equally amazing feat. 

It helped that both George and Whitney were making good money and free from debt. But they quickly realized they'd need to figure out a way to boost their income if they wanted to turn their dream into a reality. 

Rather than attempt to coax a raise out of Dave Ramsey, they opted to look into the wonderful world of side hustles. George started by thinking about his skillet, which included everything from social media and email marketing to website building and MC-ing for events.

Then he jumped right in and started putting that set of skills into action after work and on the weekends. “I was building websites for entrepreneurs, authors, speakers, podcasters….” he recalls. “I would charge 600 or a thousand bucks to build these websites using SquareSpace.” Slowly but surely, the extra money began to add up. 

As George points out, “income is something that is in your control if you're willing to go out there and get it.” Whether it's freelancing online or pet sitting in your spare time, there are now more opportunities to boost your income than ever before.  

Investing vs a High Yield Savings Account

One of the foundational tricks of managing money is figuring out the best way to invest it. George and Whitney decided that the best way to save for their goal was to stash their savings in a high-yield account rather than risk the unpredictability of the stock market. George recommends this route for anyone saving for a home, especially in today's economy. 

“At the time we were freaking out because it was like a 2% savings interest rate,” he recalls. “Now you can get four or 5% in the current market. If you have $100k in there, that's $5,000 you could be making a year.” 

That said, it's important to note that the couple's investing goals didn't screech to a halt as soon as they started saving. They continued investing 15% of their income for retirement in addition to tucking aside cash in their down payment fund. (Like we told you, these two don't play.)

By developing a solid financial plan and sticking to it, George and Whitney were able to pay off their mortgage in an incredibly short amount of time. They now enjoy being able to set aside money for the things that bring them joy, whether it be giving to charity or growing their new baby's college fund

Tips for a Mortgage-Free Future

You're not alone if George and Whitney's incredible story inspired you to consider a mortgage-free journey of your own. Here are several tips from George's talk with us to help get you started. 

Start With a Solid Foundation

It's no accident that George didn't set out to become mortgage-free when he was still $40k in debt. Set yourself up for success by breaking free from consumer debt and other financial obligations first. 

Find Your “Why”

It's important to understand why you want to pay off your mortgage early. Along your journey, you'll likely come across naysayers who tell you that you'd be better off investing for retirement. For George, it came down to a simple realization. “I want to have freedom. I don't want to have a mortgage payment hanging around my neck for 15 years, let alone 30 plus.” 

Learn to Cut Back

George and Whitney's goals didn't come without sacrifice. George revealed that, until he reached his goal, he rolled into work each day in a beat-up Honda Civic with a bumper that was hanging on for dear life. 

Final Thoughts on George Kamel Becoming a Mortgage Free Millionaire

For more amazing financial tips from George Kamel, check out his new book, Breaking Free From Broke. Throughout the book, George uses wit and wisdom to expose the truth behind the toxic money system that's got so many people down. From credit cards and mortgages to student loans and investing traps, George will talk you through how to break the debt cycle and get on track to a brighter financial future. 

And if you're interested in seeing how extra mortgage principal payments can support your path to a mortgage-free millionaire life, check out our free mortgage payoff calculator.


What do you think of story and advice from George Kamel? Are you working to become a mortgage-free millionaire?

Please let us know in the comments below.


Ashley Reign

Ashley Reign

Ashley Reign is a Los Angeles-based writer who loves delving into the intricacies of personal finance. Her work has been published on sites like Forbes, Empower, and The Impact Investor. In her spare time, Ashley can be found honing her martial arts skills or reading a great book with her rock star rescue cats, Vegas and Reno. 

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