Adam Shoup Paying off Debt | Couple Wealth
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Paying off debt and losing weight can be a challenge for many people, especially when tackled together.  They require a similar mindset and commitment to be successful.  For young couples, getting your finances and health in order is important to having a happy and healthy relationship.

Adam Shoup was able to pay off $32,000 in debt and lose 40 pounds of weight in 5 months, all while getting married. 

Here are the strategies that Adam used to be successful in achieving these goals.

Who is Adam Shoup?

Adam Shoup is a normal guy.  He grew up in southwest Washington, in a small rural town about 30 minutes north of Portland, OR.   He attended the University of Nevada, Reno and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Accounting. 

Adam started as a political science major but then changed to business after about four semesters in school.  During college, he worked as a busser in a steakhouse to pay the bills. He also interned at International Game Technology (IGT) in Reno, NV in the Tax Department. This helped to form his first experience with tax at a professional level.

After a year and a half, Adam switched to the Accounts Receivable Department at IGT since he was offered a full-time position.  This opened the door to let him move into a tax accountant position at American International Group (AIG) in their Affordable Housing Department.

Paying off $32,000 in Debt

Adam has worked hard to pay off a sizeable amount of debt.  To do this, he knew that he needed to acknowledge the issue first, which works for both debt and weight loss.  Without pinpointing the problem, it is much harder to make any progress towards a solution.

Adam shared that “transparency with my wife (girlfriend at the time), was crucial. She wasn’t aware of all my debt, and I will never forget the night we sat down and I showed her everything. Lots of shame and regret, but it was 100% necessary to start the journey.”

He also shared several tips that has helped him pay off his debt faster.

  • Create a budget. Even if you do not follow it perfectly at the beginning, creating this behavior will set you up for success.
  • Celebrate the little victories. Your journey is yours and if you have achieved a part of the process, celebrate it. It will motivate you to keep going.
  • Reflect on how far you have come. It may seem like you are not making progress at times.  However, if you see the progress you have made, it will help keep you on course.
  • Limit your discretionary spending. For allowances & any entertainment for the month, we pulled it out in cash.  When we ran out, that was it. No more until the next allocation came out.

Losing 40 Pounds in 5 Months

Besides tackling his debt, Adam also worked to lose 40 pounds and get healthier. He acknowledges that there are many different ways to lose weight and that the best solution can vary for each person.  This can range from weightlifting, cardio, exercise classes, and a whole variety of diets.

“Personally, I think the best course of action is to test a few, see what works for you, and go all in,” says Adam. 

Watching the numbers drop on the scale was an important aspect of his weight loss journey because it provided motivation.  He also used a combination of intermittent fasting, drinking a minimum of 128oz of water a day, and not giving up on his goal.

“I use intermittent fasting, and it works wonders for me. I stop eating at 8pm, and begin at 11am the next day. Some do it longer, some do it shorter. What’s important is to find out what works for you,” he says.

Besides fasting, Adam has some other tips for losing weight effectively.

  • Vary your plan. There were times when I woke up at 5:30am to run and use the sauna before work.  That killed my sleep because I wasn’t going to bed early enough. Now I work out after work and have found that method works a lot better for me.
  • Track your weight. Seeing the numbers drop visually really helped motivate me to keep at it.
  • Celebrate your victories.  Just like debt, celebrate your victories as they come and remember that it is your journey. There is always going to be someone losing more weight or quicker, but what is important is you get to where you want to be.

Similarities Between Losing Weight and Paying Off Debt

Adam believes there are many similarities between paying off debt and losing weight.  It starts by identifying and setting financial and health goals.  To achieve those goals, you need to have commitment and mental strength to take the necessary steps.

“There will be good days, and bad days. Some days you spend more than you should, some days you eat more than you should. What is important is you don’t let the trend continue and you get back on the horse,” says Adam.

He also noticed a heavy correlation between how much better he felt when his health and their finances started to fall in line.

“I am big on peace of mind, and actively working to get them under control has brought me a great deal of it,” he said.  Tackling their debt and getting healthy helps to give him a greater peace of mind.

Working as a Newlywed Couple

While Adam was working on paying off his debt and losing weight, he also married his girlfriend.  Managing finances as a couple can be a challenge since there are more things to consider.

In his opinion, communication is the biggest part of being financially successful as a couple.  This is essential for setting goals, coming up with a plan, and executing it effectively. 

Part of that communication is transparency and openness to combine finances.  The goal as a couple should be get to the point that it no longer is “you” and “I” and becomes “we”.

Adam’s top tips for improving your finances as a couple includes:

  • Talk about if there is something you or your spouse wants.  Don’t just go out and buy something without communicating with your spouse.
  • Don’t keep score. Just because you got something, or your spouse got something doesn’t mean that you get to buy something to “even the score”. You should buy it because you both agree on it, not because you want to use it as leverage to get something for yourself.
  • Respect each other’s opinions.  Work to understand the other side and things will go much better.
  • Set goals that you both actively work to achieve. We both wanted our debt gone and working as a team has only strengthened our relationship.
  • Don’t criticize when ‘mistakes’ are made. Address the problem in a respectful manner and work together to avoid making the same mistake twice.
  • Show your appreciation for one another. Nobody knows all the answers, and if you are positive and supportive of one another you will be able to accomplish anything that comes your way.

How to Increase Wealth

Building wealth should be a long-term goal that happens over many years, not instantly.  Paying off debt it the first step to financial freedom since it frees up your cash flow.  It also allows you to save more money, invest, and grow your net worth.

“Understand that you don’t need to have a huge income, or pile of money to build wealth. Behavior, in my opinion, is well over half the battle and if you can create good habits towards building wealth it’ll grow quicker than you think,” says Adam.

Even investing $50 or $100 per month is a great way to get started building wealth. Once you have built these positive financial habits, you can work to increase the amounts invested. This also works with paying off debt.

Young adults looking to increase their wealth can start today using some of Adam’s tips.

  • Have a positive mindset. If you have a negative mindset, it will attract more negativity.  Your mind determines your limits in life. If you believe it, you can do it.
  • Be willing to learn and admit when you do not know something.  This will help to build new skills that can be valuable to your long-term success.
  • Practice patience. Nobody gets rich or wealthy overnight. It is all about sustainable adaptations to your life that will benefit you in the long run. If you are looking to get rich quick, you will be looking for a long time.
  • Learn to love the process. If you spend all your time focusing on the end result, it is very hard to be happy with where you are now. The mindset of “I’ll be happy when…” does not work because you will always be chasing the next thing. Learn to be happy where you are and, if you stick the course, you will achieve your goals.

The power to change your life is within you. By looking internally and making incremental changes to your life and mindset, you won’t believe where it can take you,” says Adam.

Adam Shoup is a Tax Accountant working for a large insurance company. He is avid about living debt free, keeping a positive mindset, and helping inspire others to make positive changes in their lives. You can follow him on Twitter at @AdamShoup.

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