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September 17, 2018

How Pursuing Financial Independence Put Us Into Marriage Counseling – with Andy & Nicole Hill


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When we paid off our mortgage early, it was one of the happiest days of my life. The major reduction in our overall annual expenses and my stress level was immediate. We celebrated with the whole family (check out our epic celebration here).

Little did I know though that one of the best days of my life would lead to one of the largest disagreements I've ever had with my wife of 8 years. We were really good at paying off the mortgage together, but we were not prepared for what we'd do with the money afterward.

We both had different ideas of what we should do with the money, but we didn't communicate them to each other very effectively. (Well, I really didn't).  

To help remedy the situation, we decided to attend marriage counseling sessions after they were recommended by a good friend. It was one of the best decisions we've ever made as a couple.

Couple Holding arms together

What are we covering?

My wife Nicole and I discuss the following:

  • Why we got into our biggest fight every
  • How marriage counseling is helping us and why others couples should embrace it
  • The changes we've both made recently as a result of our money fight

Outside of my chat with Nicole, I've invited both of kids for a quick interview as well. Since it's my 100th episode, I wanted to feature my whole family because after all … they are the reason I'm doing this podcast in the first place.


Marriage, Kids and Money, Andy Hill

About Our Guests:  Nicole, Zoey and Calvin

Hill Family 2018

Zoey Hill

Age: 6

Loves: Greatest Showman, Shimmer and Shine, watching YouTube Kids

Calvin Hill

Age:  4

Loves:  Wrestling and fighting swords, playing with his friend Gavin at school

Favorite Song:  Uprising by Muse

Nicole Hill

Nicole Hill is professional home organizer living in metro Detroit.

When she’s not decluttering people’s lives, she’s raising her two young children and enjoying quality time with her husband of 8 years. In her spare time, she likes running races and learning new songs on her ukulele.

Money Master of the Week

Ivan and his wife Alma have increased their net worth by $90,000 and eliminated $40,000 in debt in the last 3 years!

Here is Ivan's email detailing their incredible adventure together:

Ivan and Alma's Story

Best way to start is by providing some context – we are from Mexico. My wife and I got married in 2011 using debt to finance our wedding. Shortly after our wedding, we decided that I would pursue my MBA (a lifelong dream of mine) using Student Loans.

We came to the states in 2012, shortly after finding out we were having our first child. Sold our possessions and paid off our wedding but still had the pregnancy and student loans in our suitcase.

During the MBA program, my wife had to go through emergency surgery (Appendectomy) and that piled on top of our outstanding student loan + pregnancy bills. Worked a repayment plan with the hospital and had to borrow monthly from my parents. More DEBT!!! I would like to say we were oblivious to the effects of our decisions.

Related ArticleHow We Paid Off $48,032 of Debt in 1 Year

Finished the program (MBA from Purdue University) and started working on paying off our debt (particularly my hospital bill) – never really made an effort to pay out with urgency my student loan + family loan.

Baby #2 Arrives

Flash forward to 2015 – our 2nd child has just arrived from the hospital. I'm lying in bed one night and I can't sleep. My head's churning and thinking how are we going to do this. How are we going to afford to pay the bills, the daycare we wanted for my eldest child, etc?

I remember I just couldn't sleep, felt a tremendous pressure on my shoulders. I remember driving to work thinking how does everyone else do it. Why am I the only one that feels this pain – not being able to do the things we want? We've always been fans of YNAB so we lived on a budget. The more my shoulders and neck tightened the more I researched.

The Dave Ramsey Factor

I came across Dave Ramsey and his process. Started understanding even though we were living on a budget, we truly weren't living on a budget. We'd say this month we are going to save this much and then we'd use it on some unexpected expense. The more I listened the more the plan made sense. I have always been a numbers guys – love math and solving problems – but for some reason wasn't able to do much about our expenses.

Started living on a tighter budget and made a plan to save up an emergency fund (we saved up to $14K) just to be protected in case something happened. After saving the money, we started attacking our debt. That is where we're currently at.

As of today, we've paid north of $40K in debt and can say that we have changed our habits – living within our means and being “intentional.” I have gotten more and more connected with the personal finance community out there and that is how I came across your Master of the Week.


From that day in October 2015, after we came back from the hospital to today our Net Worth has increased by 375% which translates roughly into a $90K change. That is massive but it has not been easy. We've sacrificed and seen many people do very exciting things while we stay at home thinking, it's all for a greater good – changing our future and defining our retirement plan.

Related PodcastTrack Your Net Worth and Become a Young Millionaire

Moving forward we are to finish paying off our debt and funding our children's college accounts. Education is a very important aspect of my life and I want to be able to provide them with the ability to start their futures with no debt in a spot to win with money.

Future Plans

Our dream is to be able to travel to visit the kids and to have the freedom to do whatever we want to whenever we want to. The more I read about retirement the more inspired I get to dream and to dream BIG! A month at a château in France, giving back to our country's people, caring and coaching for people who are in the position we were. Lots of things to dream about and accomplish.

I appreciate the space and wish you all the best with your show. I truly commend you for having the spirit of a teacher to help others reach their dreams. It takes a very good heart to do something like this!

All the best,

Ivan & Alma

Ivan is our Money Master of the Week!

If you have a financial victory you want to share on this show, please leave me a voicemail (or an email) and include the following:

  • First name
  • Location
  • Your recent big win
  • How you did it
  • Your financial plans for the future

Your story will inspire others to save more, make more and plan for their family’s future.

Show Resources


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New GigAll Sorted Out

Mortgage Celebration Video


Personal Finance Coach, Personal Finance Influencer, Personal Finance Speaker
MKM Coaching with Andy Hill:  Request a free 30-minute consultation call with me so we can partner together on your path to financial freedom.
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I truly appreciate the support everyone!


I’d love to hear from you!

If you’d like your question featured on the show, reach out and let me know. It would be my honor to support you in your journey toward financial freedom.

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Carpe Diem Quote

“A great marriage is not when the ‘perfect couple’ comes together. It is when an imperfect couple learns to enjoy their differences.”
– Dave Meurer

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Andy Hill

Andy Hill, AFC® is the award-winning family finance coach behind Marriage Kids and Money - a platform dedicated to helping families build wealth and happiness. With millions of podcast downloads and video views, Andy’s message of family financial empowerment has resonated with listeners, readers and viewers across the world. When he's not "talking money", Andy enjoys being a Soccer Dad, singing karaoke with his wife and relaxing on his hammock.


  • I absolutely loved this episode! Your kids are adorable, um, ok make that “good looking” for your son. I’m still laughing about the nightmare. Even with all the fun, great lessons in this episode. Thank you for your transparency it’s inspiring.


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Marriage Kids and Money Podcast

About Marriage Kids & Money

The Marriage Kids and Money Podcast is dedicated to helping young families build wealth and happiness.

With over 400 episodes and counting, we share interviews with wealthy families, award-winning authors, and personal finance experts to help you find your version of family financial independence.

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